Gardens On Trial: And the Winner Is ...

By Matt Taylor, Ph.D., on

Something new happened in the Trial Garden this summer. For the first time, Longwood staff members from throughout the Gardens were given the opportunity to design their own plant combinations. Those who participated had to select three to eight plants from a list of over 160 plant species and cultivars. With 26 different combinations, our guests had the difficult task of choosing their favorite three garden beds. Many guests struggled with the decision and submitted ballots with every design checked. Unfortunately, these ballots were considered invalid, but we appreciate the votes of praise!

Voting started June 19 and lasted for 16 weeks. Over the course of this period we received more than 4,000 ballots. Some combinations had strong starts, some had season-long appeal, and others finished with a punch. This was the case for "Green with Envy," which had a surge of votes during the last three weeks and moved into third place over all.

We received a great deal of positive feedback on this new idea for the Trial Garden, and so we'll continue with this theme next year. We will also see if the top three combinations stand the test of time, as they will be re-entered into next year’s competition. Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 Trial Garden Competition!

First Place: Hot, Hot, Hot!
Designer: April Bevans, Senior Gardener

  • Canna 'Mohawk'
  • Colocasia esculenta 'Elena'
  • Ipomoea batatus 'Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Light Green'
  • Pelargonium 'Cante Ros' Caliente® Rose
  • Tagetes erecta 'Moonsong Deep Orange'
  • Zinnia 'Yellow Flame' Zowie!™

Second Place: Prairie Sunset
Designer: Sam Hoadley, Gardener

  • Agastache cana 'Sinning' Sonoran Sunset®
  • Agastache mexicana 'Kiegador' Acapulco® Orange
  • Artemisia 'Powis Castle'
  • Carex flagellifera 'Toffee Twist'
  • Emilia coccinea
  • Nassella tenuissima
  • Pennisetum villosum
  • Verbena bonariensis

Third Place: Green With Envy
Designer: Maddie Maynor, Greenhouse Grower

  • Alternanthera ficoidea 'True Yellow'
  • Angelonia angustifolia 'PAS782746' Serena® Blue
  • Cyperus papyrus 'King Tut'
  • Euphorbia 'Ineupdidaz' Diamond Delight™
  • Ipomoea batatas 'NCORNSP-014BWPI' Sweet Caroline Bewitched
  • Scaevola aemula 'Saphira' Blauer Facher
  • Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Dark Star'
  • Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Gold Anemone'

Learn more about our 2015 Trial Garden in our August blog, Gardens On Trial—You Be the Judge. Then check back for new plant combinations next summer, and cast your vote for your favorite garden plots in our 2016 Trial Garden!

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