Our Trial Garden is Turning 4!
Young’s Plant Farm is about to enter our fifth season of spring and summer annual trial garden evaluations. We developed this program to determine various plant varieties’ true garden performance, which gives us firsthand knowledge about what homeowners might experience when purchasing one of these plants.
From the knowledge we gain through our trial garden, Young’s is able to make educated selections of plant materials to include in our production program.
“The main purpose of our trial garden is to improve customer satisfaction by selecting plant materials for our retail programs that we know will look the absolute best for the longest period of time,” said Penny Merritt-Price, Trial Garden Research and Development Coordinator. “The plant can’t just have the ‘wow’ factor when it is bought from a store – it also has to perform for the customer.”
A few top selections from recent trial garden evaluations include the following:
Hot Pack Marigold is still relatively new to the market and continues to outperform all other marigolds deeper into summer. In the southeast especially, heat and humidity tend to get the best of most marigolds by mid-summer. However, Hot Pack Marigolds tend to keep color longer than most other varieties. The plant also has very good branching, which means you get plenty of color from a shorter plant that spreads instead of growing straight up.
Vinca Valiant is a new release that not only performs very well throughout the spring and summer, but also has better disease resistance than many of its vinca counterparts. Vinca Valiant is a beefy plant with larger leaves and blooms than most vinca. This plant looks best in mass plantings, such as in landscape color beds. Because of its size, heat tolerance and low water requirements, Young’s believes that this variety will thrive in commercial landscape designs. However, it still has its place with the homeowner who has a large space that they wish to fill with season-long color.
Dragons Breath Celosia has proven to be an awesome plant. During early- and mid-spring, it throws up flower plumes that are larger than any other known celosia. As the days get longer and hotter, the flower plumes decrease in size and number – but this is when the foliage takes over as the star of the show. Each leaf ranges in color from green to purple to dark burgundy. The foliage itself gives a colorful, summer-long accent in any garden.
Sun Caladiums from Classic Caladiums are caladiums that have been selected specifically for use in sunny locations, which contradicts what many people know about this typically shade-loving plant. These new varieties have been tested by Young’s and truly perform all summer long in a full-sun environment. While these plants are not drought tolerant and will not tolerate being very dry between waterings, they are ideal for areas where regular irrigation isn’t a problem, and can put on quite a summer show. They are available in red, pink, white and every color in between.
These are only a few of the many varieties that have been through the trial garden vetting process. Young’s will be planting trials again this April for spring and summer evaluation. Products selected from this group of plants will become part of our 2017 retail program.