Bonnie Helander began her love of gardening while living and working in San Diego. After retirement, she moved back home to Georgia with husband, Dan, and now resides and gardens in Peachtree City (Zone 8a) where she is a member of the Peachtree City Garden Club. Bonnie is the gardening writer and blogger for Fayette Woman magazine and also blogs and writes for Georgia Gardening Magazine. Besides gardening, Bonnie loves nature and hiking and is a proud graduate of the University of Georgia and avid supporter of the Bulldog nation.


Spectacular New Plants Featured at UGA Trial Gardens
by Bonnie Helander - posted 07/27/12

In mid July the UGA Trial Gardens held an Open House to showcase some of the amazing new plants that are being tested for their adaptability to our challenging Georgia climate. Every two weeks, the new annuals, vines, tropicals and perennials are reviewed and graded on how they are developing, based on tolerance to heat and humidity, resistance to disease and insects, ease of propagation, production time and cutting efficiency. The select few that are the “best of the best” are then sent to growers or are introduced under the Athens Select brand. If you get a plant that has survived the research at the UGA Trial Gardens, you are getting a superior plant that will thrive in your garden.

The Trial Gardens were started in Athens in 1982 by horticulture super stars, Dr. Allan Armitage and Dr. Michael Dirr. These two experts also helped Former UGA Football Coach, Vince Dooley, turn his Athens garden into a national showcase.

You can wander through the garden anytime you are in Athens but it is extra nice to visit when Dr. Armitage and his staff are hosting an open house or plant sale. Check out their website for dates of their next event. Below are photos of some of my favorite selections at the open house in July. Guests were asked to place an orange flag on the plants we loved the most. Many of these received a flag from me!

Welcome to the UGA Trial Gardens!


Before things got too busy, I was able to get a photo of me with Dr. A!!!


Hibiscus 'Haight Ashbury'


Rudbeckia 'Denver Daisy'


Capsicum 'Loco' - a multi-colored pepper!


Petunia 'Pretty Much Picasso'


Scaevola 'Topaz Pink'


Asiatic jasmine 'Snow in Summer' - a colorful ground cover


Coleus 'Eruption'


Take a trip to the UGA Trial Gardens and see what you've been missing! You'll want one of everything! If you don't see these selections in your local nursery, tell the staff they need to get them now!!! 



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