Summer is in full swing and so is Missouri State’s Flower Variety Trial in cooperation with the MSU Grounds Department, the Greene County Master Gardeners and the Springfield/Greene County Botanical Center. Despite the heat, flowers are flourishing at trial locations.
The trial tests new varieties of flowers and other plants to see how well (or in some cases, how poorly) they fair in the often grueling climate of southwest Missouri. Is also serves as a hands-on learning experience for students in the Greenhouse Management course. Students are responsible for starting the seeds and cuttings of some 150 varieties that will eventually be used in the trial. “Students leave the classroom with practical production experience,” says Dr. Clydette Alsup-Egbers, an associate professor with the Darr School of Agriculture. Alsup-Egbers runs the trial and teaches Greenhouse Management in the spring semester.
The trial began in 2002 under the direction of Alsup-Egbers with new plant varieties from Ball Horticultural Company. The trial was originally contained in small plots at the Darr Agricultural Center on Kansas Expressway. Eventually, the plots were moved to campus, concentrated primarily around Karls Hall.
As interest in the program grew, so did the size and scope of the program. The trial now features plants from several companies that specialize in breeding ornamental plants. Currently trials are located throughout the Missouri State campus, Master Gardener demonstration gardens, and the Botanical Center. At the Botanical Center, volunteers and staff care for the plants for the duration of the trial.
For more information about the trial visit http:missouristate.edu/flowers or like the trial on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/MSUFlowers where you can share pictures and comments on this year’s trial!