Flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing, and workers and volunteers are pruning, watering and collecting data on plants at the Trial Gardens at the University of Georgia. Trial Gardens staff will open the facility to the public at their annual open house on Saturday, July 21, from 8 a.m. until noon.
“It's Athens’ best plant party," said Brandon Coker, Trial Gardens manager.
The Trial Gardens at UGA are operated by the Department of Horticulture in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.The Trial Gardens are open to the public every day of the year, but the open house gives friends and fans a special opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the gardens and to have their plant or garden questions answered by Coker and Professor John Ruter. Ruter is the Trial Gardens director, a plant breeder and author.
The gardens are home to the newest varieties of plants from breeders across the country. They serve as a testing ground for the plants’ abilities to withstand the unpredictable, hot, humid summertime climate of the Southeast. Visitors can check out new varieties of annuals and perennials, like hibiscuses, begonias, caladiums and hundreds of other plants. This summer, the garden has more than 350 plants on trial as well as countless perennials from growers across the country.
The event is open to everyone from avid gardeners to people who simply enjoy strolling through a colorful, lush garden.
“Some (attendees) may have been gardeners for 50 years, and some may have started gardening this past spring,” said Coker. “But either way, it's a good opportunity for gardeners to come mingle and learn more about the newest varieties.”
The open house is pet- and kid-friendly, so bring the whole family for a day in the garden. Hokulia Shave Ice will set up a tent where visitors can grab a cool treat while they peruse the gardens. A $5 donation is suggested to help maintain the gardens.