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Trial Garden 2017 - Method


Bed Preparation & Planting

A 10,000 sq. ft. area behind the Fisher Greenhouse was rototilled in the spring before planting. 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 the selections on May 16 and 17. Seven plants of each variety were planted 1 ft. apart in rows, with 24 or 36-inch spacing between rows depending upon cultivar. The rows were organized into seven 8 ft. by 100 ft. beds.

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


Once established, the Trial Garden received minimal maintenance. Staff irrigated the beds for the first two weeks, and applied an all-purpose soluble fertilizer (21-5-20) at planting and for 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.



A graduate student at UDBG evaluated the Trial Garden plants every other week from June 29 through September 22. For each of the dates, the graduate student awarded each plant two scores: one based on flowering and the other based on foliage, taking into account attractiveness, pest and disease resistance, habit uniformity, and overall ornamental value. The overall scores for flowers and foliage represent the average of all individual scores for each category.


Rich color; clean appearance
All plants full of flowers
Very Good
Good color; few imperfections
Most plants with flowers
Good color generally; some minor problems
Some plants with flowers
Weak color; some significant problems
Few flowers on plants
Very poor color with sickly appearance
No flowers
All plants dead or almost dead-----------------------------------------------




The following charts were generated from weather information obtained from Delaware Environmental Observing System Network at the UD Farm.

Summer Temperatures by Date

Summer Rainfall by Month