East Texas Horticulture Field Day Is June 24

The East Texas Horticulture field day June 24, which is free and open to the public, will feature nearly 400 entries of everything from petunias to verbena to ornamental sweet potatoes.

The field day will take place at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Overton, Texas, and begin at 8:30 at the center’s North Farm site. The tour will continue at the site until about 10:30 a.m., then move to the Overton center’s headquarters, where a demonstration garden is located. A free lunch will be served at about 11:45 a.m. Indoor presentations will begin at 1 p.m., and the program will conclude by 2:50 p.m.

The trials include thousands of square feet of plots planted with purple, pink, red and white flowers. Brent Pemberton, an AgriLife research horticulturist, designed the tests to help local growers, but the event has become popular with local gardeners too, as hundreds show up some years, including industry representatives. More than 230 people attended the 2009 field day.

This year, as usual, there will be new varieties of geranium, trailing petunia, verbena, begonia, lantana and lobelia. And there will be continuing emphasis on vinca, a widely used landscape plant across the South.

Newer additions will include napier grasses, trial varieties of gomphrena and black pentunias with pinstripes.

“The napier grasses are a new type of purple-leafed ornamental grass which I think will be really interesting for the future for us,” Pemberton says. “A lot of them are experimental varieties. We also have a lot of new varieties of gomphrena which are strongly hitting the market this year which is really a great plant for the heat.”

Learn more about the event at http://overton.tamu.edu.

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