U of G trial garden opening to public
The University of Guelph is holding its annual trial garden open house July 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute (GTI), 328 Victoria Rd. S. The event is free and open to the public.
Located along the entrance to the GTI, the trial garden’s 1,400 square metres of growing space allows gardeners to see what flowers and plants perform best in southwestern Ontario’s climate. Rodger Tschanz, a U of G plant agriculture technician who manages the trial garden, records all the results and posts them on a website so people can predict what plants will flourish under normal circumstances.
“A lot of the plants we’re testing are new releases or are in new colours,” said Tschanz. “People enjoy being able to see the plants in a garden setting to know what will work in their own gardens.”
The Guelph trial garden site is part of a network of research centres across North America set up to determine which plants will grow higher and fuller, bloom quickly, stand up to extreme weather conditions and resist common plant diseases.
Tschanz has been closely watching how a section of the garden devoted to two-season pansies fared over the winter. “The garden is in a wide-open area that receives a lot of wind and widely fluctuating snow cover,” he said. “The plants are in an extremely exposed site not protected by any buildings, so if they can survive here, they’ll survive anywhere in southwestern Ontario.”
Greenhouse growers, seed companies and landscapers can use the GTI’s trial garden results to choose species that will be successful in and around Guelph, said Tschanz. “Two-season blooms make a lot of economic sense to me. We just need to find out if they’re hardy.”
All of his plantings are carefully measured and monitored for accurate results. He uses special spacers to plant zonal geraniums exactly 12 inches apart. He uses netting to properly space and support field-grown cut flowers.
Visitors have a chance to vote on their favourite plants, but Tschanz said the qualities he looks for are usually quite different from those of the winners. “I like plants that are easy to look after but still have incredible landscape impact.”
For more information, visit www.plant.uoguelph.ca/collections/TrialGarden.
For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.