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About this Outdoor Garden

Explore an abundance of cultivars in this new Garden that showcases our research and plant evaluation processes.

Changing annually, the Trial Garden puts new cultivars to the test against tried-and-true favorites. Data on these mostly tender perennial and annual species is evaluated and recorded biweekly throughout the summer, and only top performing plants will be approved for use in future displays.

Which Plant is Your Favorite?

Your opinion is of great value to Longwood and the horticulture community including gardeners, nurserymen, and plant breeders. Knowing which plants the public prefers allows our designers to create remarkable displays and helps the industry focus their efforts. When you visit the Trial Garden, be sure to stop by our voting station and cast your ballot for your favorite plants. We’ll tally the results and publish them here.

The Results Are In!

The Winning Zinnia

Zinnia elegans 'Benary's Giant Wine'After five weeks and 456 ballots, Zinnia elegans 'Benary's Giant Wine' captured first place in the 2014 Trial Garden. This guest favorite—one of 31 cultivars of Zinnia in the garden—took 17% of the votes, while Zinnia 'Yellow Flame' took second place with 10% of the votes. 'Benary's Giant Wine' ranked first in three out of the five weeks, 'Yellow Flame' captured first place in week three, and 'Benary's Giant Coral' (fifth place overall) took top honors in week two. Two cultivars, 'Envy' and 'Purple Prince', did not receive a single vote. Zinnia cultivars were among the most popular plants in the Trial Garden, second only to Canna. The top seven most popular Zinnia cultivars received 60% of the votes each week. Congratulations to 'Benary's Giant Wine'!

The Winning Canna

Canna 'Brandywine'The award for the best Canna goes to Canna 'Brandywine', which received 14% of the votes. Second place goes to an unnamed CN48 (12%), and third place goes to to CN71 (10%). Out of 1063 participants, 696 chose to vote on Canna. 18 cultivars competed, the majority of which were unnamed Longwood hybrids. ‘Brandywine’ ranked first in five out of eight weeks, peaking at 24% of the votes in week two (July 15-22). CN48 ranked first in two weeks, peaking at 22% in week five, while CN71 took the number one spot in the last week of the trials, winning 13% of the votes. There were four entries that each received less than five votes over the course of eight weeks: ‘Aloha’, CN39, CN46, and CN49. Here's a toast to ‘Brandywine’!

The Winning Caladium

Caladium 'Fireworks'The winning entry for Caladium is ‘Fireworks’ with over 17% of the votes, while ‘Celebration’ was close behind with 16%. During eight weeks of voting, 533 participants cast ballots for eighteen competing cultivars of Caladium. ‘Fireworks’ had a slow start at third place in the first two weeks of the trials, but moved up to number one for three weeks and tied for first place with 'Celebration' for an additional two weeks. 'Celebration’ dominated the first four weeks of the trials, but later was surpassed by ‘Fireworks’. The least favorite cultivars were ‘Modern Art’, ‘Starburst’, ‘White Cap’ and ‘White Wonder’, which each received less than 1.5 % of the votes. So, it seems a ‘Celebration’ is in order for ‘Fireworks’!

The Winning Cuphea

Cuphea 'Firecracker'Among 17 varieties of Cuphea, the favorite cultivar was ‘Firecracker’, which received 16% of the votes. ‘David Verity’ took second place with 11%, and ‘Lavender Lace’ came in third with 10%. Of 1063 participants, 570 voted on Cuphea. ‘Firecracker’ was voted number one for five out of eight weeks, and peaked at 25% of the votes in the first week of the trials. ‘David Verity’ was number one for two weeks, and ‘Lavender Lace’ took the top spot in week two. The least favorite were ‘Dynamite’ with no votes and Caribbean Sunset™ with one vote. So for a winning combination with plenty of fire power, plant Caladium ‘Fireworks’ with Cuphea ‘Firecracker’!

The Winning Agastache

Agastache 'Kiegador'Among the 16 entries of Agastache the most popular was ‘Kiegador’, which received 20% of the overall votes, peaking at 45% in week nine. ‘Ava’ came in second with 17%, and ‘Tutti Frutti’ was third with 10%. ‘Kiegador’ had a clear lead for most of the growing season and was voted number one in seven out of ten weeks. It was surpassed by ‘Ava’ and ‘Tutti Frutti’ during the middle of August, when these cultivars took the number one spot in weeks five and six, respectively. ‘Ava’ ended the season as number one in the last week of the trials. Overall, 742 participants voted on Agastache.

The Winning Tradescantia

TradescantiaAlthough there were 15 contenders in the Tradescantia group, a few cultivars dominated the trials from the start. The favorite, ‘Biltmore Bimbo’, not only received 38% of the votes overall, peaking at 48% in week nine, but was voted number one in every week of the trials. Tradescantia zebrina, in second place, won 21% of the votes and took the number two spot in six out of eight weeks. ‘Purpurea’, in third place, took the number two spot in the remaining two weeks. Overall, 620 participants voted on Tradescantia.

Voting has now ended in the 2014 Trial Garden. Join us again next year to cast your ballot for your favorite plant varieties!

Garden Highlights

History of this Garden

This Garden was formerly dedicated to groundcovers, ornamental grasses, vines, and roses. The ornamental grasses have remained in the Garden, but have been relocated to the easternmost bed where they are displayed in long, naturalized sweeps. The new Trial Garden is located within the greater Idea Garden.

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This Season's Plants Included:

  • Caladium
  • Salvia
  • Zinnia
  • Cuphea
  • Dahlia
  • Tradescantia
  • Canna
  • Coleus (Solenostemon)
  • Agastache
  • Clematis
  • Peony (Paeonia)

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