On June 28, 2007, nursery growers, greenhouse managers and gardening enthusiasts can view field tests of flowering bedding plant varieties at the annual Overton Horticultural Field Day. More than 800 varieties will be on display, including 180 varieties in the container trials.
The field day will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Texas A&M University System’s Agricultural and Research Center’s North Farm site. The tour will continue at the North Farm site until about 10:30 a.m. then move to the Overton Center’s headquarters building where a demonstration garden is located.
Brent Pemberton, horticulturist with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, began trials of bedding plants at the Overton center to serve the commercial greenhouse and bedding plant industry. In recent years, the industry has had a $500 million annual economic impact on the region, according to the Texas Agricultural Statistics Service.
Since the first field day with less than 100 varieties, the event has grown to include vinca, ornamental peppers, trailing petunias, verbenas, begonias, portulaca, zinnias, geraniums and ageratum. This year, there will be an emphasis on impatiens, including regular impatiens, New Guinea varieties and some miniature types, said Pemberton.
Preparation for the trial has also become a way for local Master Gardeners to fulfill their requirement for community service. “The Smith Country Master Gardeners Association is an integral part of these trials,” stated Pemberton. “They provide hundreds of hours of labor every year. They are how we get these things planted and how we get this done.”
Registration is free and will include lunch. The Overton Center is located one mile north of downtown Overton. Visit overton.tamu.edu/flowers/fieldday.htm  for more information.