Want a break from weeding and deadheading? Need to recharge your plant-loving soul? A trip to the Colorado State University Annual Flower Trial Garden on the grounds of CSU makes a fun mini-getaway and maybe just what you crave during these dog days of summer.
The CSU Annual Flower Trial Garden is one of many official All American Selections public gardens across the country where you can see new varieties (introduced in the last three years) of annuals and perennials which are being grown, studied and rated for exceptional performance. Colorado gardeners know this means the ability to withstand intense sun, cooler evenings, relatively low moisture (most years) and everyone’s arch-nemesis, hail!
A stroll through the gardens is a treat, especially now when plants are at their peak. In fact, the plants are rated by the official judging team of CSU horticulture students and faculty, green industry representatives and advanced Master Gardeners each year in early August. Over 1100 varieties of annuals, grouped by genus and arranged by color, provide a symphony for the eyes. The perennial gardens are equally beautiful, with the added benefit of being trialed for two winters before being judged. A Pansy/Cool-season Crop Overwintering Trial garden has also been added to test the over-wintering abilities of the plants.
So, grab your camera, water bottle and sun screen and head to Fort Collins. Have a great time exploring the gardens and don’t forget to record your favorites and compare them to the judges’ picks at the end of the season. You are likely to return home inspired, ready to tackle your own garden and possibly with a touch of flower envy.
For more information about the gardens, past winners and photos galore, check out www.flowertrials.colostate.edu.
By Linda McDonnell, Denver County Master Gardener