West central Minnesota represents a very distinct climate for annual flower trials. The Morris area typically has hot, dry summers with exposure to wind, which provides a unique opportunity to compare performance of bedding-plant cultivars under regional conditions. The goal of evaluating flowers is to develop recommendations for our unique climate. Annual flower and perennial variety trials are conducted both at the Horticulture Display Garden at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC), and also at the U of Minn.'s North Central Research and Outreach Center in Grand Rapids, Minn.
Each growing season, hundreds of annual flower cultivars from plant breeding companies around the world are trialed at the WCROC. Cultivars are grown from seed or are vegetatively propagated in our greenhouse.
Flowers are evaluated on their flowering and rated on a scale of 1 to 5, (5=excellent, 1=poor). The following traits are considered when giving the ratings: uniformity of habit and flowering, flower numbers relative to other varieties, insect resistance, disease resistance, and uniqueness. Entries in the annual flower trial are evaluated by a certified trial judge throughout July, August and September. Results are published at the end of each season.
Even though the annual flowers are under evaluation, the plants are placed into an aesthetically pleasing design, allowing visitors to enjoy the beauty of the Garden. All flowers are labeled, allowing visitors to take note of top performing cultivars under regional conditions.
Garden Hours and Season
The garden is open to public daily from dawn until dusk; admission is free.
Each spring, thousands of annual flowers are planted throughout garden, and are on display from late May/early June through October (depending on regional weather conditions). Hardy trees, shrubs, grasses and garden structures are available for viewing year-round.
Visitors are encouraged to take note of the new varieties, and observe and study growth habits, tolerances and visual characteristics of the many varieties on display.
Please respect our garden and our research efforts
Do not pick the flowers or remove any plant material. Most plants are identified by a plant label; please do not move or remove the label. Please keep children and pets out of the flower beds.