Guelph Trial Gardens host visitors at new location
By Greta Chiu
The University of Guelph Trial Gardens officially unveiled their new trial location in Guelph this year.
One of three trial sites, the location in Guelph, Ont. found a new home in front of the recently relocated Guelph Turfgrass Institute. Trial garden manager Rodger Tschanz says their crew had to delay plantings by a month due to site construction, but in-ground annuals were quite floriferous by the time they welcomed visitors to the open house in mid-August.
The trials in Guelph also serves as an official All-America Selections judging site, comparing AAS candidates against close market-leading genetics.
Because of the construction, Tschanz temporarily moved the Guelph container trials to the Bovey greenhouse compound at the University of Guelph this year, so they were not readily available for viewing by trial garden visitors. In addition to container and landscape trials for annuals, the long-time location at the Landscape Ontario office in Milton also offered a large multi-year perennial trial with over 180 different varieties as well as a research garden comparing pollinator activity between exotic and native plant species.
Started in 2001, the trials have been open to both horticultural professionals and members of the public, offering an avenue for comparing the performance of new genetics. Visitors can evaluate differences in vigour and growth habit for new varieties in the landscape, in containers, and between different locations. Some, as Tschanz points out, perform better in containers over landscape, and vice versa. Differences in performance between locations could be due to variations in climate as well as nutritional profiles in the bedding grounds.
This year, organizers held a two-day open house event – one site on each day in Guelph and Milton, with three timeslots for guided tours of the sites. The trials at the Royal Botanical Gardens are open to visitors at their leisure.
For 2022, Tschanz hopes to have a new perennial bed up and running in Guelph, which will offer an additional data point for those comparing the performance between the trial locations.
A list of the plants trialled can be found here.
Varietal highlights from the Guelph Trials
Varietal highlights from the LO Trials