University Display Gardens, University of Wisconsin, West Madison Agricultural Research Station, Verona, Wis. The UW trials feature only annuals. This year, 337 varieties were evaluated. Top Performers: Begonia ‘Whopper Red With Green Leaf’ Gomphrena ‘Forest Pink’ Isotoma ‘Beth’s Blue’ Kwik Kombos Night in Pompeii Mix Pennisetum ‘Vertigo’ (Graceful Grasses) Petunia
North Dakota State University, Department of Plant Sciences, Fargo, N.D. The trials featured 200 full-sun annuals, 25 shade annuals, 16 vines and four grasses. Weather conditions during the trials were cool and rainy early and hot and dry from mid-July through mid-September. Top Performers: Angelonia Serena Series Celosia ‘Fresh Look Yellow’ Celosia
Michigan State University, MSU Horticulture Demonstration Gardens, East Lansing, Mich. The MSU trials include approximately 400 sponsored entries (both in-ground and container trials), as well as more than 100 entries from All-America Selections (flowers and vegetables), the American Garden Award and Fleuroselect. Daedre Craig, annuals trial manager, says the trials had one of the wettest
Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa The wet conditions experienced by most of the Midwest delayed planting until June 3. By July 4, the rain had let up, and it was dry and hot for the rest of the season. Reiman trials 111 varieties — most are from seed. Top Performers: Calibrachoa ‘Cabaret Bright
C. Raker & Sons, Inc., Litchfield, Mich. The Raker trials are extensive and include sponsored beds, All-America Selections beds, comparison trials and multiple areas for overwintering various perennials. A Hort Couture trial area was added this year with more than 600 containers of current catalog and experimental varieties. Spring and summer weather conditions were average.
Pike Creek Horticulture Center, Gateway Technical College, Kenosha, Wis. Approximately 50 varieties were trialed at Pike Creek in 2013. Compared to last year’s extreme drought, the weather was a complete turnaround, with a cool spring and plenty of rain. The summer was mild with moderate temperatures in the 80s and few hot and humid days. Early
Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Mo. Like many other Midwestern trial locations, the spring began with cool temperatures. There was adequate rainfall for the first half of summer, but very little in July and August. However, this was not a concern because the trial beds holding 165 varieties of annuals are irrigated. Temperatures at 90°F
University of Minnesota, Morris, Minn. The annual flower trials at the University of Minnesota put certain varieties of annuals to the test under different Minnesota conditions to see how they perform. Top Performers: Bacopa ‘Big Falls Dark Blue’ Begonia boliviensis ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’ Catharanthus ‘Cora Cascade Strawberry’ (vinca) Fuseables Burgundy Starlight Mix Pelargonium ‘Boldly Dark