Even after a two-year recession, the bedding plant industry in East Texas has not slowed down. Neither has the introduction of new varieties!
The East Texas Horticultural Field Day, set for June 23, will allow the public to view trial results at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Overton.
The field day will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the center's North Farm site. The tour will continue at the site until about 10:30 a.m., then move to the Overton center's headquarters building, where a demonstration garden is located. A free lunch will be served at about 11:45 a.m. Indoor presentations will begin at 1 p.m., and the program will conclude by 3 p.m.
In the 2011 field day, 400 bedding plant entries — everything from petunias to verbena to ornamental sweet potatoes — will be on display in outdoor plots, said Dr. Brent Pemberton, Texas AgriLife Research horticulturist who has conducted bedding plant trials at the Overton center since 1994.
The trials include thousands of square feet of plots planted with purple, pink, red and white flowers. Pemberton designed the tests to help local growers, but the event has become popular with local gardeners too, with hundreds typically attending, including seed company industry representatives.
This year, as usual, there will be new varieties of geranium, trailing petunias, verbena, angelonia, begonias, lantana and lobelia, Pemberton said. And there will be continuing emphasis on vinca, a widely used landscape plant throughout the South.
"We also coordinate trial results with the Dallas Arboretum," Pemberton said. "Over five million consumers in the Northeast Texas region now have the opportunity to see how promising new plants from all over the world perform in our climate."
The center is located one mile north of downtown Overton on Farm to Market Road 3053. For driving directions to the event, go to http://overton.tamu.edu/flowers/fieldday.htm  or call 903.834.6191.