It takes a hardy plant to perform well in the windy and unpredictable upper Midwest states. Take a look at the plants that rose to the top of the pack in trail settings in North Dakota, western Minnesota and northern Iowa.
Here are a few notes about the trial conditions.
Iowa State University
Reiman Gardens is the botanic gardens of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. This year, it trialed over 200 varieties of annuals, edibles, and roses. The summer was cooler than average, with above-average rainfalls into the late summer. Each year, the summer employees, mostly ISU students from a diverse range of majors, weed and maintain the beds, sample the edible entries, and collect materials for drying, pressing, and bouquets. These students off a great deal of feedback, as do the garden’s summer visitors.
North Dakota State University
Weather at the site was about average for temperature, but a bit below average for moisture. The plants received drip irrigation, using city water, which is high in salts, so rain water is always preferred. NDSU’s trial gardens had 230 cultivars in full sun and 24 in shade. New this year was a bed exclusively for the recent All-America Selections winners. Previously they were worked into the trials, but this year they were in their new bed and the trials. There was no unusual disease or insect problems this year.
University of Minnesota
The Horticulture Display Garden in Morris, MN, spans over nearly three acres of public land, and featured 458 annual flower varieties in 2015. These included seed and vegetative plant material from breeder sponsored trials and All-America Selections (AAS) display, ornamental seed and vegetative ornamental trial. Steve Poppe, Horticulture Scientist, says spring weather conditions were excellent for planting trial plants. Precipitation for April through September was 21.99 inches, which is 3.75 inches above average.