Industry Top Picks in Georgia
Each year, the University of Georgia welcomes members of the industry along with the general public to tour its spectacular trial gardens.
Led by John Ruter and managed by Brandon Coker, the gardens showcase plants from almost every breeding company in the world. Its primary functions are to research and teach, and to evaluate new crop introductions.
A main stop along the annual Southern Plant Tour, the UGA Trial Garden Open House took place this year on June 5. Brandon Coker said, “I cannot tell you how many people have said this is the best garden in years in terms of color and overall vigor. I have found this surprising because I thought last year could not be topped.”
According to Coker, weather leading up to the open house was very hot and dry during the month of May. The temperature reached over 90° F on 15+ days. On the day of the open house, weather was cool and overcast in the morning — but quite muggy — and the sun was out with 90° F the remainder of the day.
More than 50 industry professionals attended the open house — from breeding companies, local landscapers, local colleges and universities, and more. Each attendee was given 10 flags used to pick the 10 plants they liked best.
This year, there was an obvious winner: Echinacea ‘Sombrero Tres Amigos’ from Darwin Perennials. The other plants on the list below were the remaining top plants (in no particular order).
Echinacea ‘Sombrero Tres Amigos’
Dr. John Ruter, University of Georgia
Portulaca ‘Pazazz Apricot’
Petunia ‘Headliner Dark Saturn’
Leucanthemum ‘Early Daisy White’
Dahlia ‘City Lights Purple’
Agastache ‘Poquito Butter Yellow’
Terra Nova Nurseries
Petunia ‘Supertunia Mini Indigo’
Lantana ‘Lucky Sunrise Rose’
Salvia ‘Grandstand Red Pink Lipstick’
Green Fuse Botanicals
Begonia ‘Betulia Red’
Have you grown or trialed any of the above varieties? How did they perform in your region? Shoot me an email at [email protected] and let me know; I’d love to hear from you.