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Trial Garden

Our Trial Garden is a space for trying something new—whether trialing new plants, creating new planting designs, or showcasing unique combinations.

This year, we are introducing a multi-layered planting style using woody, perennial, annual, and tropical plants. In a departure from previous designs, we are creating a framework of permanent plantings that will be enhanced with temporary, seasonal layers of annuals and tropical plants.

Visitors to the Trial Garden will see a microcosm of design changes happening throughout our outdoor landscapes, with a new emphasis on texture, seasonality, and creating connections to surrounding spaces. The space will evolve over time as the permanent plantings mature and our gardeners experiment with the annual and tropical selections.

Look for notes from our gardeners on signs in the Trial Garden to learn more about the design compositions, what we are trialing, and how we manage this garden.

History of this Garden

This Garden was formerly dedicated to groundcovers, ornamental grasses, vines, and roses. From 2013–2018, the Trial Garden was host to a series of design competitions, putting new cultivars and combinations to the test in designs created by staff throughout our Gardens. The Trial Garden is located within the greater Idea Garden.

Explore Plants In This Garden