Open Houses at UGA Trial Gardens Premiere Peak-season Plants

Maria M. Lameiras

Friday, June 17th, 2022

The Trial Gardens at University of Georgia will be in full bloom and will showcase dozens of new cultivars being tested at two open house events in June, one for industry members and the other for the public featuring a pop-up sale.  

The invitation-only industry event, part of the annual Southern Garden Tour, provides a networking opportunity for commercial growers, green industry, faculty and students while allowing industry members a sneak peek at how this year’s trial varieties are faring since planting in April, said Sandra Begani, garden manager for the Trial Gardens.

The public open house will be held from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday, June 11, and will give plant lovers a chance to scope out potential additions to their landscapes and to vote on their favorites for the People’s Choice Award to be announced with the Classic City Awards this fall.

The public event will feature tours at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Entertainment will be provided by Strings by Ali from the UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music.

“We start planting in April and we’re finished by May 15, so mid-June is a perfect time for visitors to come and tour. It is peak season and most of the plants are in full bloom,” Begani said. “We have industry folks vote for their favorites and the public gets to flag their favorites. We will photograph the top choices and send top 10 lists from each event to everyone on both lists.”

Although some plants make the top 10 lists in June, those selections don’t guarantee a place in the Classic City Awards, Begani said.

“Something might be gorgeous in June but doesn’t hold up later on in August and September. We choose our winners focused on things that hold up under year-long climate conditions in Athens,” Begani explained.

Listings of Classic City Award winners from previous years are available on the UGA Trial Gardens website.  

A small selection of plants grown at the garden, including caladiums, succulent gardens and more, will be available for purchase at the public open house. All proceeds go to support the operations of the Trial Gardens. Donations are also accepted.

More information is available at