The Annual and Perennial Field Trials at Franklin Park Conservatory are complete for 2009 and have compiled and released the results.
Coleus was all the rage in 2009 at Franklin Park Conservatory’s field trials in Columbus, Ohio. Ball Horticultural’s newest coleus varieties ‘Trusty Rusty’ and ‘Redhead’ as well as ‘Henna’ and ‘Mint Mocha’ were top performers, scoring excellent ratings for vegetative quality, flowering performance and overall presentation.
Consumers also preferred coleus, making ‘Redhead’, ‘Henna’ and ‘Mint Mocha’ three of the consumer’s choice award winners for 2009. Also making the top consumer’s choice list were Ball’s lantana ‘Lucky Pure Gold’ and Goldsmith Seeds’ rudbeckia ‘Tiger Eye’.
In addition to annuals, perennials were trialed in 2009. The three-year program is currently the only one of its kind in Ohio. Consumers chose Benary’s Physostegia virginiana ‘Crystal Peak White’ as the perennial they were most likely to purchase.
After a successful inaugural year, Franklin Park Conservatory is expanding its trials to include vegetables. Entrants in this program will be allowed a 6x6-foot trial plot from March through November giving entrants the opportunity to include a number of warm- and cold-season crops. Varieties will be trialed for vegetative quality, harvest length, disease/pest susceptibility and crop yield.
Visit www.fpconservatory.org/trialgardens.htm  for the full results from the 2009 annual trials. To participate or learn more about the program, contact Karin Noecker, display division manager at firstname.lastname@example.org .