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A.M. Armitage and Meg Green

The University of Georgia trial garden has been in existence since 1982, and the method of evaluation and distribution of taxa has evolved over the years. Annual and perennial taxa are evaluated systematically, over the entire season, providing season-long summaries for each one. Annuals are evaluated every 2 weeks, and scores are based on plant performance, including foliar health, flower numbers and the appearance of disease and insect damage. Perennials are evaluated similarly, however flowering time, flowering persistence and height in the landscape are also noted. Summaries for each taxon are presented in tabular and graphic form. Many new crops have been evaluated and introduced to the floriculture industry. New crops are placed in the horticulture gardens and evaluated by garden personnel and by commercial growers and landscapers. Plants have been distributed free of charge to propagators and growers, resulting in rapid market acceptance of successful taxa.

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J. Raymond Kessler Jr., Jeff L. Sibley, Bridget K. Behe, Darby M. Quinn and James S. Bannon

Fifty-seven herbaceous perennials were evaluated from July 1996 to October 1997 in USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Plants in this study generally performed better the first year after planting than the second year. Several selections did not reemerge the second year, though some natural reseeding occurred. Still other selections never fully recovered from the winter months or succumbed to stress in the summer. Plants that maintained an attractive foliage display while not in bloom and plants that had a high bloom rating during the bloom season are worth incorporating into a full sun perennial or mixed border in the southeastern United States. Performance of perennials in the landscape may vary from year to year as climatic conditions affect performance. Comparison of results from variety trials at other locations should help increase performance information reliability for perennial selection.

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Jon T. Lindstrom, James A. Robbins, Gerald L. Klingaman, Scott Starr and Janet Carson

The University of Arkansas established a new, replicated, woody ornamental plant evaluation program in 1999. Three sites were used across the state and these sites encompassed the three different USDA Plant Cold Hardiness Zones found in Arkansas, Zones 6, 7 and 8. In the first year, 17 different woody ornamental plants were established in the evaluation. Information obtained from performance in this evaluation will be used in Arkansas Select, a marketing program for customers and nurserymen in the state. Nonpatented and nontrademarked plant material will be made available for propagation purposes. Woody plants will be evaluated for 5 years and herbaceous perennials will be evaluated for 3 years.

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Mack Thetford, Gary W. Knox and Edwin R. Duke

effects of supplemental irrigation and fertilization on the landscape performance of nine ornamental grasses and to determine if fertilizer formulation (organic vs. synthetic) affected plant growth. Materials and methods Sites. Full sun trial gardens were

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Robert D. Berghage, Dennis J. Wolnick, E. Jay Holcomb and John E. Erwin

The Internet offers many new and unique opportunities to disseminate information. The development of the World Wide Web (WWW) and information browsers like Netscap, Mosaic, and simple-to-use server software like MacHTTP provides means to allow low-cost access to information, including pictures and graphics previously unavailable to most people. The Pennsylvania State Univ. variety trial garden annually tests >1000 plants. Information is gathered on garden and pack performance, and photos of superior plants and varieties are taken. To provide wider access to this information, we have begun development of a Cyberspace trial garden on the internet. This server contains a wide variety of garden trial information developed from trials conducted in State College and Dauphin, Pa.. This server and a similar effort at Univ. of Minnesota are being constructed cooperatively. Hot links are provided between the server in Pennsylvania and the one in Minnesota, providing users with seamless access to information from both servers.

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Paul E. Cappiello

For nearly 30 years, the Univ. of Maine has been conducting woody ornamental plant performance evaluations. While there are a number of focus collections under evaluation, the Rhododendron collection is one of the central features of the program. This report offers performance data for more than 100 specimens grown at the Lyle E. Littletield Ornamentals Trial Garden on the campus of the Univ. of Maine. Winter survival, folk disease rating, fall foliage color and effectiveness, and flowering dates are included.

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Mack Thetford, Jeffrey G. Norcini, Barry Ballard and James H. Aldrich

growth; and to identify grasses with potential for use in high stress environments such as roadside plantings, rough areas of golf courses, or landscapes such as schools, parks, or large-scale municipal plantings. Materials and methods Sites. Trial

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Robert E. Lyons

An historic feature of the JC Raulston Arboretum (JCRA) is to identify new and unusual ornamental plant materials for landscape use through an active program of observing landscape performance at the JCRA in Raleigh. Introduction of plant materials into commerce occurs primarily through programs conducted in concert with the North Carolina Association of Nurserymen and through a unique policy of “open access” for nurserymen. One program, The JC Raulston Selections Program, returns revenues to the general operations and maintenance functions of the JCRA; others are not revenue generating, and are provided as a service to the industry. To a lesser extent, the general public may participate in receiving new plants via a special program offered through JCRA membership. The JCRA is also an official trial garden site for the All America Selections program and seed companies. Elements of these introduction and evaluation programs will be discussed within the context of the past, present, and plans for the future for program maintenance and possible changes.

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Terri W. Starman and Susan L. Hamilton

Many new vegetative annuals are available in the floriculture market today. Their growth habits may be trailing or vigorous and more conducive to hanging basket or container garden culture. Today's gardeners are living busy lives and housing is sometimes confined, with little land on which to garden. These factors all contribute to the popularity of hanging baskets and container gardens. Whereas container garden trials are more common in industry, few universities have added container gardens and hanging baskets to their trial gardens. The objective of the hanging basket and container garden trials at Univ. of Tennessee (UT) initiated in Summer 1999 was to demonstrate and promote this timely trend to commercial growers, landscapers, and the public. An attractive brick walkway and wooden arbor were built by a UT landscape construction class to display the containers and hanging baskets. Several challenges had to be met: funding the purchase of expensive containers; planting and placing the heavy containers in the garden; combining plants within the containers; grouping containers together; labeling plants within the containers; displaying the hanging baskets; maintenance and pruning; and most of all, keeping the containers watered throughout the summer. The color wheel proved to be a useful tool for grouping plants and containers. A handout was developed to guide visitors through the container garden. Despite the challenges, the container garden and hanging basket trials proved to be a successful demonstration and were popular among visitors.

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Ajay Nair, Donglin Zhang and Dogyan Hu

The natural distribution and cultivated areas of Stewartia taxa are USDA cold hardiness zones 6 or warmer. One cold-tolerant clone, named Stewartia`UMaine' (UMaine Silk Camellia), has been growing well at the University of Maine Littlefield Ornamentals Trial Garden (USDA Zone 4). The plant also has brilliant red fall color and biennial flowering. Since cold hardiness field evaluation could not provide genetic information and no other taxa could grow in Zone 4, AFLP markers were employed to figure out its genetic relativeness with other 16 named Stewartia taxa. The three primer-pairs generated 360 useful markers with an average of 120 markers for each taxon. The genetic distance between S. sinensis and S. rostrata is only 0.031, which indicates that these two species are very similar and should not be treated as two species or cultivars, at least the plants in cultivation. The largest distance (0.533) occurs between S. pesudocamellia and S. malacodendron, two distinguished species accepted by all taxonomists. UMaine Silk Camellia is a distinguished taxon from all other 16 taxa and S. malacodendron `Delmarva' has the largest genetic distance of 0.453 to it. Although S. ×henryae`Skyrocket' has the smallest genetic distance of 0.183 to Stewartia`UMaine', UPGMA phenograms showed that they are not in a clad at all. AFLP data support that Stewartia`UMaine' is a new cultivar, which originated from a gene pool of S. pseudocamellia, S. sinensis, and S. koreana. These molecular results will also be used as guidance for future Stewartia breeding.