Published on 05/29/19

University of Georgia Trial Gardens to host open house on June 8

By Merritt Melancon

Each year the Trial Gardens at the University of Georgia hosts a summer open house to show off the season’s best plants. This year they’re working to beat the heat by moving the party from July to June.

The public is invited to this year’s showcase of new ornamentals — ranging from vibrantly colored flowers to hardy shrubs — at the open house on Saturday, June 8, from 9 a.m. to noon.

“We have decided to hold the public open house for 2019 a month earlier to try and beat some of the brutal heat that July tends to bring us, as well as to catch people planning events early in the summer,” said Brandon Coker, Trial Gardens manager.

The Trial Gardens at UGA are operated by the Department of Horticulture in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The Trial Gardens are open to the public every day of the year, but the open house gives friends and fans a special opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the gardens and to have their plant or garden questions answered by Coker and Professor John Ruter. Ruter is a plant breeder, author and director of the Trial Gardens.

Many of the newest perennials, annuals and show-stopping roses will be in full bloom during the open house. Located on the main UGA campus between Snelling Dining Commons and the R.C. Wilson Pharmacy Building, the lush oasis displays hundreds of annuals and perennials from plant breeders around the world.

“The Trial Gardens at UGA are one the best kept secrets in northeast Georgia," said Ruter. "Our annual open house is our chance to share one of the most beautiful parts of the UGA campus with the community and share some of what we've learned over our last year of gardening."

Plant nurseries and breeding companies send hundreds of new plants each year to be evaluated at the Trial Gardens, which funds garden operations.

The goal of the Trial Gardens is to see if the plants can survive in the Southeast’s hot and rainfall-variable climate. The funds go toward the gardens’ upkeep and paying the team of student workers that keeps the gardens running.

The Trial Gardens also serve as a teaching and research facility for the UGA Department of Horticulture and other academic departments on campus.

The open house will be held rain or shine. The gardens' staff requests a $5 donation to help offset the cost of the event and support the gardens, located at 220 West Green St., Athens, Georgia.

Parking will be available in the South Campus parking deck. For more information, visit, email

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

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