If you enjoy learning about the latest new plants that are coming on the market, you need head over to Overton, Texas on Thursday, June 27, to the annual Horticulture Field Day at Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center to see up close what’s new in the ornamental plant industry. Dr. Brent Pemberton, Professor of Horticulture with A&M AgriLife Research, oversees a large plant trial, consisting of a wide range of annuals and an assortment of other plants. This is one of the biggest in the South, and is a great place to see what new varieties will thrive, and what does not, in the northeast Texas region.
The North Farm is the location, and first stop Thursday morning, where you will be met with long rows of replicated plantings of petunias, begonias, periwinkles, lantana, ornamental grasses, scaevola, allysum angelonias, lobelia, verbenas and assorted other annuals and tender and hardy perennials. The replicated study allows Pemberton to select the statistically best varieties for landscape use. These plants are growing in full sun, on raised beds with plastic row coverings and drip irrigation. But no pest control is done. There will also be rows of shade-covered plantings for those types that cannot tolerate the full, all day Texas sun, such as New Guinea impatiens, impatiens, begonias, etc.
Mid-morning everyone heads over to the A&M Center main complex where Pemberton maintains a demonstration garden filled with new or unusual plants. At each location, participants of this free event will receive red flags that can stick next to their favorite plants. These are latter tallied and posted as the “People’s Picks”. (for 2012 People’s Picks, click here.)
After the complimentary lunch provided by event sponsors, the afternoon shifts indoors where Pemberton and Dallas Arboretum horticulturists Jimmy Turner and Jenny Wegley will show highlights from the California Pack Trails which showcases breeders new introductions, along with results from the 2012 trials at Overton and Dallas.