Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Not legal type trials…flower trials.  Horticulture plots. Usually these are open to the public… as was the one in Grand Rapids on the campus of the University of Minnesota. It is called the North Central Research and Outreach Center.

A lovely place to stop and see how the Mums are doing!

Centerpiece Peach Mum  Centerpiece Peach

Some of the Mums looked a bit ragged…but these were winners in my book.Lindy Mum at Grand Rapids Proven Winners


Trial Gardens in Grand Rapids

The trial gardens

The whole idea behind these gardens is to see what grows and flowers the best in Minnesota conditions.  They are Zone 3 and the only facility in Minnesota that trials plants for cold hardiness…like Hydrangeas!  

They planted 26 different varieties of Hydrangea in 2011.

Little Lime Hydrangea

Little Lime Hydrangea

She has the best flower heads (mopheads)..and a great compact shape.

Quick Fire Hydrangea

Quick Fire Hydrangea

I like a paniculata type bloom too and this one was lovely…but it’s habit was a bit “off”…it was a tad spindly.

I am certain that you have all seen the Proven Winners reference or a PW tag on plant that you have purchased.  Those plants have proved themselves to be the best in field trials all over the United States.

The University of Minnesota has the only public Chrysanthemum breeding project in the United States. They are trialed in seven different areas of Minnesota…Grand Rapids being the most northern spot.

Minnbronze Mum

I was intrigued with this Mum.  It is called Minnbronze.  It has great foliage and lots of buds but if it hadn’t begun to bloom by September 19…when would it bloom? 

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linda m said...

Sounds like my kind of place to visit.

DJan said...

I wonder what that mum looks like in bloom, and as you said, when might that be? Visiting those trial gardens must have been fun. I know I'd be visiting it if I lived nearby. :-)

Linda Kay said...

Interesting experiment with the flowers. I have a mum that isn't blooming yet, and also a Pride of Barbados. The latter keeps getting taller, but no blooms on it!

MTWaggin said...

Wow how amazing to have such a cool experimental gardens in your zone. I do love the mum tho!

Coloring Outside the Lines said...

I've seen that tag, but had no idea what it meant/ I think it's a wonderful idea to trial flowers in your climate zone.

Beth said...

I would love to visit that place. The mums are gorgeous!

Travels with Emma said...

Very interesting. I never knew about trial gardens.

L. D. said...

I visited them many years ago and then they were doing mostly vegetables. I had forgotten that it was near Grand Rapids. My boys still visit up there at the lake. The seasons seem to be so short for some of the flowers and vegetables too.

Red said...

Test plots...very common in agriculture and horticulture and as you say interesting to visit.

kathy b said...

My sis is visiting this weekend. She is a Vet at the U of mInn Veterinary school. She's all about the gardening too…she'll know about this!

LindaG said...

Enjoyed all your flower pictures. Glad you got to visit and share with us.

Sam I Am...... said...

I love mums and I love the mop head hydrangea and also that minibronze mum....gorgeous foliage. I've been to a fish hatchery but not a field trials farm. I would prefer the field trials....smells better I'm sure!

Anonymous said...

A very interesting place. The flowers are so pretty.

Ryker said...

I like that Minibronze too! Flowers are so wonderful and varied. I hate to see the season come to a close.

Linda Reeder said...

I love that hydrangeas don't fade away, but just change color.

Rita said...

That Minnbronze is too slow on the draw for up here--LOL! I love Hydrangeas! Used to dry them upside-down and keep them all year round in vases. :)

Terry and Linda said...

I found this very interesting. My favorite of all mums are the giant Football Mums!!!


Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Fascinating. I used to buy PW plants every spring but didn't know how they were "proven." My favorite garden center went out of business and I haven't found a good replacement yet.