July 15, 2018
2018 Trial Garden and open house update
The 2018 Trial Gardens at the LO home office in Milton continue despite construction both outside and within the property.
By Rodger Tschanz
University of Guelph Trial Garden Manager

This year’s Industry Open House at the Landscape Ontario/University of Guelph Trial Gardens is scheduled for Thursday, August 23, and will pair with a tour of the Sheridan Nurseries facility in Georgetown. Since the Landscape Ontario office in Milton is undergoing major renovations this summer, the rooms which hosted speaker programs in the past will be unavailable. To accommodate a short speaker program and to progress smoothly from trial garden tours to Sheridan, we will begin the day in Guelph this year. The LO/Milton tour follows and the day ends at Sheridan Nurseries. Details of the short speaker program in Guelph will be announced through email blasts and posted on the LO and Trial Garden (trialgarden.uoguelph.ca) websites closer to the date. New this year will be a turf research tour at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute in addition to the trial garden tour. The turf-related research topics on the tour will include: Fiesta demonstration plots for alternative weed control, bio-solids fertilizer research, prairie turfgrass restoration research, “take-all patch” and winter hardiness research on USGA greens, strawberry plants and nematodes research and alternative grub control. The Guelph trial garden portion of the tour will include the All-America Selections judging trial, with new selections of calendula, nasturtium and ornamental beans in the trial. This year the trial garden in Guelph has been experiencing severe deer-eating pressure on the trial entries. The deterrent we have employed is currently working and hopefully will continue its efficacy into the fall.

Following the Guelph portion of the day the tour will continue on to the annual, perennial, rose and shrub beds at the Landscape Ontario office in Milton. Even though the LO office is under major renovation and the 401 widening project is ongoing, the LO Milton trial garden continues to flourish. Some of the annual beds have been arranged this year as display trial beds highlighting individual breeders and suppliers (Ball Horticulture, Syngenta and Proven Winners). The other breeders in the trial include Jelitto Seeds, Dümmen Orange, Floranova and De Vroomen Bulb Canada.

Once the tour in Milton ends, the venue will switch to Sheridan Nurseries in Georgetown for a farm tour followed by a barbecue and evening entertainment. The day’s program will be a longer than normal Industry Day, full of a greater variety of horticultural educational opportunities. There is no cost associated with this event but be sure to register and let us know how many are coming from your organization.

Rose and shrub update

The latest rose and shrub trial was planted in the spring/summer of 2016. These plants are now going into their third growing season and have experienced two winters. Last summer’s conditions were cool and wet, allowing black spot to flourish on susceptible rose plants. On the plus side, last year was a great year to evaluate black spot resistance in the rose trial. Similarly the winter of 2017/18 provided ideal conditions for testing plant hardiness under conditions of extreme temperature swings and late spring snow and ice. Since the shrubs and roses were not provided with any winter protection, this truly was a trial to evaluate hardiness in southern Ontario. Many of the tea rose and climber cultivars experienced severe winter kill as did some of the weigela cultivars. A report on winter hardiness in the trial will be created later in the season.