July 15, 2016
Trial garden site features new plants and expansion
University of Guelph students Leigh Cogar and Will MacKenzie planting the hydrangea trial at LO.
The 2016 version of the University of Guelph/Landscape Ontario trial garden at the LO office in Milton is well under way. Visitors to this year’s trial garden will see dramatic changes on site in the midst of major construction projects surrounding the property.

Roses, roses, and more roses

The rose trial planted in 2012 was removed last year and replaced this spring with 164 rose cultivars composed of hybrid teas, climbing roses, floribundas, grandifloras and hardy shrub roses. Some of the cultivars are new and some are the same variety as the initial trial in 2012. This new rose planting differs from the previous trial in that each rose cultivar is planted in its own row, making it easier for observers to evaluate the different cultivars. Thank you to the following nurseries for supplying the roses for this trial: Weeks Roses, Star Roses/Conard-Pyle, Bailey Nurseries and J.C. Bakker and Sons. A special thank you goes to John Bakker for organizing the rose donations and to David Turnbull for creating additional space for this trial.

Multi-year hydrangea trial

To further expand the offerings of the trial garden at the Landscape Ontario office, a new multi-year hydrangea trial is also being planted this spring with 17 different hydrangea cultivars/species being evaluated.

Some of the plants will have their soil acidity adjusted to different levels in order to provide a side-by-side comparison of the different shades of blue flowers produced. The hydrangea trial includes a mixture of existing and new varieties.

Thank you to Sheridan Nurseries for providing the plant material for this trial and to Rob Naraj of Sheridan for organizing the trial.

New annuals and perennials

Annuals and perennials continue to be a major component of the ornamental trial program with trial sites in Milton, Guelph, Vineland and the Royal Botanical Garden (RBG) in Burlington. Visitors to the Milton site will see new seed propagated canna lilies, new Garvinea gerberas, a Proven Winners display bed, new perennials from Jelitto Seed and Blooms of Bressingham, plus exciting new colours of verbena, calibrachoa and petunia, amongst other new releases.

Open House Aug. 18

The date for this year’s open house is Thursday, Aug. 18. The program will start in the morning at the LO site and continue in the afternoon at the Guelph trial garden. The program will run from 9 a.m until noon in Milton, followed by an afternoon session at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute in Guelph from 1 to 3 p.m.

In addition to guided tours of the trial gardens, there will also be a short speaker program in the morning at Landscape Ontario. Topics this year will include rain gardens and garden planning for Canada’s 150th birthday. The finalized schedule will be available in early August.

This year marks the third year for the Ontario Parks Association’s garden competition featuring municipal plantings. In this competition, municipalities submit photos for different categories of municipal garden plantings to be evaluated by a team of judges. The winners of this competition are announced at the open house.

Visit anytime this season

The trial gardens in Milton and Guelph are open throughout the season for viewing on your own. The gardens in Milton are open Monday to Friday during normal business hours and the gardens in Guelph are always open. That said, if you or your organization would be interested in having an organized tour of any of the trial sites in Milton, Guelph, Vineland or the RBG, email rtschanz@uoguelph.ca.

New rose garden at LO site

man standing in a rose garden with a shovel
Plant producers answered the call and provided about 800 roses for a trial at Landscape Ontario. The overwhelming response prompted the creation of a new, more sheltered 1,200 sq.ft. garden bed for the hybrid tea and climbing rose cultivars in the trial. Property Manager, David Turnbull (pictured here), has been working hard to meet the needs of the expansion.