Published on 06/17/04

UGA Trial Gardens open house, Armitage book signing

University of Georgia

See the newest plants for gardens and landscapes as you tour the University of Georgia gardens at the annual UGA Trial Gardens Open House July 10.

The event will include self-guided tours of the gardens, a plant sale including Athens Select plants, and a book signing and personal guided tours by world-renowned UGA horticulture expert Allan Armitage.

The tours are on the hour and book signings on the half-hour between 8:30 a.m. and noon. Tickets are $5 at the gate.

The gardens, on the UGA Campus in Athens, Ga., were created in 1983 and serve as a testing ground for more than 600 kinds of annual and perennial plants. The primary functions of the gardens are research and teaching, and detailed information on all plants is provided to all who are interested.

The gardens are planted twice a year. The summer trials are usually planted in April and May and have major and minor bedding classes, plantings of specialty annuals, many free-standing containers and two large perennial beds.

Each type of plant is evaluated every two weeks to provide detailed information on the cultivars being tested. Performance ratings are collected based on flowering, leaf color, uniformity of habit and flower, resistance to insects and diseases and overall appearance.

Researchers also select the best cultivars for each color in each class of annuals and list them under "Best of the Best." Each year they select the four to six recipients of the Classic City Awards, the very best plants in the gardens over the entire season, well worth a place in any landscape.

The winter trials are planted in October and November.

The gardens serve research and teaching and are an important resource for breeders, retailers, growers, landscapers and consumers.

For more information and directions to the gardens, visit the UGA Trial Gardens Web site .

Faith Peppers is the director of public affairs with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.