Callaway Gardens Field Trial Results
Brian Kanotz shares results of the 2011 summer trial in Pine Mountain, Ga., where a cleome, two salvias, a scaevola and one vinca were among the top five flowering varieties.
October 3, 2011
Flower trials are managed by Brian Kanotz, greenhouse production manager. Vegetable trials are managed by David Chambers.
Pine Mountain, Ga.
Flower trial seeds were sown on different dates determined by the trial guidelines and our own scheduling procedures. All of the All-America Selections were produced in our standard 4-inch pots. Callaway’s other trials were grown in 4-inch pots or a trade gallons.
The flower trials were all planted into the landscape the week of May 2. Callaway plants a minimum of 36 plants per trial/comparison in blocks in order to evaluate how the plants will look in mass plantings. This is generally how Callaway displays its plants.
The vegetable trial seeds were sown on different dates determined by the trial guidelines and Callaway’s own scheduling procedures. All of the trials were produced in standard 4-inch pots. The plants were planted into the garden on the week of May 16 and were planted in rows as they would be in a typical vegetable garden.
Callaway only officially trials the All-America Selections. Of these, there were four flower entries with 10 comparisons and three holdover trials. There were 13 vegetable entries with 26 comparisons.
Callaway trials and displays seed for the Benary Seed Company. It trialed 17 different plants for Benary this year and hopes to expand this number in the future.
This year, Callaway trialed 20 plants from different breeders to see how they perform in the gardens. These are randomly chosen based upon what Callaway’s designers would like to use in the future and planted in small quantities in flower beds.
Very hot and dry! Callaway’s temperatures were an average of 5 degrees warmer per day in May and June and 3 degrees warmer in July and August. June was one of the hottest months on record with an average daily high temperature of 93 degrees.
Callaway received 13.27 inches of rain during this period. It normally receives 20.2 inches, a difference of 6.93 inches!
Top Flower Varieties
Comments were submitted by Kanotz.
• Cleome ‘Sparkler Blush’ – “A great plant and a show stopper especially in a mass planting.”
• Vinca ‘Cora Mix’ – “Hands down the best vinca for the South. It flowered all summer long with no disease issues.”
• Scaevola ‘Surdiva Blue’ – “This was the first time that we grew this plant. It was much more compact than other scaevolas on the market and bloomed well all season. It did have some disease issues toward the end of the growing season.
• Salvia ‘Summer Jewels Red (AAS Winner) – “Bloomed well all season and really filled out the flower bed. Did require dead heading several times during the growing season.”
• Salvia ‘Evolution ‘White’ – “I am not usually a fan of white flowers as they generally fade, but this plant held up well all summer. Did require dead heading several times during the growing season.”
Top Vegetable Varieties
Vegetables were all part of the All-America Selection trials. Chambers likes three in particular but does not know if they will win or what the names will be when they are released. In the trials, they were Pepper Hot Blush F1, Pepper Poblano Type F1 and Tomato Round.
Chambers adds that the trends are for more color in the peppers and for variegation in the leaves even in the edibles.
• Tomato ‘Early Girl F1’ – An older variety that has been improved and performed very well. Produced an abundant amount of fruit with no disease issues.
• Pepper ‘Cayenne Long Red Slim’ – Improvement over ‘Cayenne Long Red’, performed very well during the hot/dry summer.
• Corn ‘Ambrosia’ – Fairly new introduction, super sweet variety with bi-color fruit.