2017 Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants Field Trial Results

The Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants Trial Gardens are located in Litchfield, MI. They cover more than 9 acres of public trials and approximately 8 more acres of private breeder trials. More than 1,500 people visited the gardens this year. Raker planted approximately 108,000 plants in the public area covering more than 3,200 varieties. The gardens open to the public and industry the day after Cultivate (mid-July) through the last Friday in August. Raker-Roberta’s is a founding member of the Michigan Garden Plant Tour as well as a trial site and display garden for All-America Selections.

Besides the Michigan Garden Plant Tour, Raker-Roberta’s held a number of large events. “The 2017 Connection” had music, food, family fun, and education. This year, the trials grew to more than 600 visitors over two days.

The 2018 Raker Trial Gardens will be open from July 18 to August 31.

Here’s what Greg Michalak, Trial Gardens Manager for Raker-Roberta’s had to say about the 2017 season.

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions throughout the season were cooler than normal and very dry. We only saw 8.72 inches of rain over the season (May-August), well below average. Our only 90-degree days happened in mid-June, and for the rest of the summer we had below normal, cool temperatures. In fact, with the cool nights, we saw our first instances of Impatiens Downy Mildew in our gardens.

Photos and data collection were taken each week starting week 29 and continued through week 34. All information is available on the Raker-Roberta’s website.

Top Performers

(photos available on website)

Sponsor Bed: Eason Horticultural Resources

Visitor Favorites

Salvia ‘Rockin’ Deep Purple’
Pennisetum Millet ‘Jade Princess’
Alstroemeria ‘Colorita Fabiana’
Coleus ‘ColorBlaze Kingswood Torch’
Pentas ‘Lucky Star Violet’
Salvia ‘Mystic Spires’
Begonia ‘Whopper Bronze Leaf Red Improved’
Agastache ‘Morello’
Cosmos ‘Apollo Pink’
Verbena ‘Empress Sun Pink’

We held a blind Pink Petunia trial with 63 entries from 13 breeders. Out of 118 votes, the ‘Easy Wave Pink Passion’ from PanAmerican Seed received the most votes.

Top Performers (5 rating):

Alstroemeria ‘Colorita Eliane’
Angelonia ‘Angelwings Pink’
Begonia Megawatt Series
Begonia ‘Whopper Bronze Leaf Rose Improved’
Calibrachoa ‘Million Bells Compact Brilliant Pink’
Coleus ‘FlameThrower Habanero’
Dianthus ‘Jolt Pink’
Impatiens walleriana ‘Accent Premium Pink’
Pennisetum Millet ‘Copper Prince’
Pennisetum Millet ‘Jade Princess’
Pepper ‘Aji Rico’
Pepper ‘Mad Hatter’

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