June 15, 2009
Located near the University Center for the Arts, east of the heart of campus, the Annual Flower Trial Garden is not only a wonderful summer sight in Fort Collins, but also grounds for top quality testing.
The annual trial garden is a collection of annuals sent to be tested at CSU from seed companies worldwide.
Many of the varieties are new and not yet released. Colorado is known for high light intensity, low humidity, high altitude, and dry weather so these flowers are tested to see how they would do in these conditions.
"What's neat about our trials is that we are the only one in the Rocky Mountain region. This makes for really high standards that are held for our trials," said Danielle Goris, a senior landscape horticulture major.
Goris is the undergraduate student coordinator and is in charge of all the preparation, planting, organizing and data recording for the gardens. Danielle works with a crew of three permanent students and currently, three additional temporary students to maintain the garden.
"One of my favorite parts of the garden is seeing how much of an impact it makes on the community. People just love it and it's really become something to look forward to about Fort Collins summers," said Goris.
The garden has two seasons. This current season is prepared for in the spring and planted in June. These flowers are evaluated in August and stay until about mid-October. Afterwards, the beds are then prepared for the pansy trial which runs from winter into spring. The flowers undergo evaluation in late April and then the bed is prepared for the summer annuals again.
Across the street from the garden, directly in front of the University Center for the Arts are the perennial trials which are on display year-round.