Last week I watched a “web” inar by Dr. Alan Armitage of the University of Georgia, Athens. For us plant geeks, Dr. Armitage is like a hero as a plant breeder and promoter of annuals and perennials alike. His webinar topic was “Best Performing Annuals,” and it covered both flowering and foliage annuals. At the trial gardens the plants are evaluated every two weeks for number of flowers, leaf color, disease and insect resistance and over all performance. The data are then combined to come up with a single performance score.
It is important to us as retailers to only sell plants that we know perform well. It is also important to everyone up the marketing and production chain. So seed companies, growers and retailers all have an interest in making sure the plants we grow and sell will perform for the end user, you our valued customer. There are all kinds of trials that are done to make sure we all get it right. The most famous is probably the California Pack Trials, but other organizations also host these types of trials, including our land grant universities. When I was a grad student at Michigan State University, the entire campus was an All American garden and it was a big deal during the summer when the seed company execs would come to see how their plants had performed well and which would be going on to full production.
Well Dr. Armitage offered up some really cool plants and here are just a few that caught my eye. As you look through your gardening magazines and start to plant for your containers for next summer keep these in mind. Also here is the link to Dr. Armitage’s web site. You can see pictures from their trial gardens and learn about how you can visit if you are ever down that way.