Trial Garden 2007 - Methods

Bed Preparation & Planting

A 10,000 sq. ft. area behind the Fisher Greenhouse was rototilled in May. The soil was not amended, and the beds were mulched prior to planting with a 3-inch layer of wood chips.

Staff and volunteers planted most of the varieties on June 13 (Garden Leaders selections were planted on July 5). Seven plants of each variety were planted 1 ft. apart in rows, with 16-inch spacing between rows. The rows were organized into five 8 ft. by 100 ft. beds. Staff covered one bed with cloth that provided 62% shade; plants grown in this section are noted in the results.

The plant selections were organized in alphabetical order according to their botanical name, and identified by white labels listing their botanical name, selection, and supplier.

 

Maintenance

Once established, the Trial Garden received minimal maintenance. Staff irrigated the beds for the first three weeks, and applied an all-purpose soluble fertilizer (21-5-20) weekly during the first two weeks. No supplemental watering or fertilizer was provided for the remainder of the summer, nor were insecticides or fungicides applied. Staff hand-weeded as necessary. None of the trial plants were dead-headed or pruned.

Plants that received scores of 4.5 and above in this no-maintenance situation are noteworthy for withstanding summer-long humidity and late summer drought conditions.

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Evaluations

The UDBG’s nursery manager evaluated the Trial Garden plants bi-weekly from July 12 through September 20. For each of the dates, the manager awarded each plant a score based on flower and foliage attractiveness, pest and disease resistance, habit uniformity, and total ornamental value. Overall scores reflected an average of the six bi-weekly scores. The final heights (taken September 20) were measured to the top of the flower spike.

                          

 
Score
                   Definition
 
5
Excellent
  All plants look fantastic and full of flowers*
 
4
Very good
  Plants growing well with many flowers
 
3
Good
  Plants growing moderately well with flowers
 
2
Fair
  Plants surviving; weak showing of flowers
 
1
Poor
  Plants struggling or dying; some plants dead
 
Dead
  All plants dead or almost dead

                                  

*Plant grown primarily for foliage were evaluated on their overall appearance, regardless of flowering.

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University of Delaware

University of Delaware Botanic GardensNewark, DE 19716Phone: 302 831-0153