The North Central Research and Outreach Center is located at Grand Rapids, MN. It is the northernmost station in the continental United States. It is affiliated with the University of Minnesota.
We passed by there the other day, Far Guy drove way past..then he kindly turned around and we wove our way through the campus to what had caught my eye from the highway.
Field Trials..makes the heart of a Horticulturist go pitter patter..they were researching Mums!
During the winter Horticulturists make the hybrids in the greenhouses..they take the pollen from one and put it on another..the resulting plants are planted out the following year. They are trialed in gardens such as these. I have evaluated gardens like these when I was a student.
This is the good section..I am not sure what their rules were, did they pinch back or not..I noticed that they were allowed to water..some trials are not allowed water..did they fertilize..maybe. The cool thing about trials is that everything in these plots gets the same thing.. sun, wind or rain and you can see which plants do the best. That pink roundy moundy row near the center is a stand out for me..you can see that she flowers prolifically and has no splits in the foliage like the orangey one next door ..although that orangey one isn’t too bad. The bright yellow one did not fill out as nicely. When these were planted, they were all planted the same distance apart.
The actual Chrysanthemum bloom can be classified by flower form..this is a quill type bloom..one of my favorites..and it wasn’t covered by bees. (This place was bee city!) There are thirteen types of forms..incurved, recurved, spoon, spider, quill..the list goes on and on.
All the Mums used to be yellow..chrys ..in the Chrysanthemum means yellow, anthemum just means flower in Greek. Mums have come along way. Between Fall flowering Mums and Asters every color can be found except black which is really a non flower color anyway..in my opinion!
What do these trials looks for?? Flower size, color, growth habit, vigor, frost tolerance and winter hardiness. All the things that will make a mum perfect for fall in Minnesota.
I don’t “do” mums..I have never had any luck with them..they always winterkill for me, or I forget to pinch them back and they flop over, or I pinch them back too much and they barely bloom before they are killed by frost. I do like mums but they are just to fussy for me:)