Mast Young Plants trial garden

Sep 9, 2020
Visitor Favorites at Mast Young Plants By Jasmina Dolce

The 2020 gardening season is coming to a close, and with that many trial gardens are sharing and promoting all their full evaluations and top performers from this summer.

In my last newsletter, I shared some of the varieties with the most votes from the Welby Gardens trial in Arvada, Colorado. Today, I’d like to travel to the Midwest and virtually visit the premier trial garden at Mast Young Plants in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Mast Young Plants is one of the stops along the Michigan Garden Plant Tour, which took place this year July 27 to August 7. The trial garden features more than 2,000 varieties, more than 500 combination planters and hanging baskets, and 20 raised beds.

Visitors were invited to flag their favorite new variety in the trial. The team tallied up the votes and below are the Top 5, along with some notes on what visitors loved most about each variety. Brian Weesies, general manager at Mast Young Plants, even recorded a video to share the highlights of each variety. Click here to see the video.

Are you adding any of these to you production this season? Shoot me an email and let me know; I’d love to hear from you.

1. Petunia ‘Bee’s Knees’
Ball FloraPlant

Ball FloraPlant - petunia Bees Knees

Trial garden visitors were buzzing about ‘Bee’s Knees’ all summer long. Abundant deep yellow flowers that held their color throughout the Michigan sun and heat, along with its rounded habit, made this the trial’s No. 1 new variety.

2. Petunia ‘Splash Dance Mambo’

Danziger Splash Dance petunia

Splash Dance is a brand new speckled petunia series, and Magenta Mambo was trial visitors’ favorite of the collection. It wowed guests with vibrant purple flowers, multi-colored specks and a controlled mounding habit.

3. Rudbeckia ‘Rising Sun Chestnut Gold’
Green Fuse Botanicals

This bicolor rudbeckia displayed beautiful flowers throughout the entire summer, as fresh blooms appeared over aging blooms. It is a stunning daylength-netural annual that can be enjoyed early in the season.

4. Petunia ‘Itsy Magenta’
Syngenta Flowers

Itsy petunia - Syngenta

This petunia occupied a position of honor atop the pergola in the Mast Young Plants trial garden, and with its vibrant color and versatility in raised beds and combos, no one was surprised it was a visitor favorite.

5. Begonia ‘BIG White Green Leaf’

Big begonia - Benary

It’s big — really big. White rounds out the series’ color range and adds a shade-brightening option. It displayed amazing performance all summer long.

— Jasmina

Jasmina Dolce

Jasmina Dolce is managing editor of GPN magazine. She can be reached at