In this business, every year is different. Each growing season offers a climate for growing not quite like the last one. Phrases such as ” Every year is different” is resoundingly shared amongst those of us who accept and deal with the weather that we are given – it is a gardener’s and indeed, a farmer’s creed. 2016 was a year for the record books… a cold and dry spring broke open to a summer that revealed a drought like none we had seen in a generation in our local area. We toiled to keep our gardens looking as fresh as possible what with judicious watering, yet we know the plants struggled. The intense heat was stressful for plant and gardener alike, and then we received some much welcome rain the third week of August– remember, it was the day following The Tragically Hip Concert- a full day of blessed rain…
Growing seasons such as this one and all others are the perfect stage on which to evaluate plants and we embarked on our first container garden trials this year. Trial gardens are not new to this industry as plant breeders, universities, and seed companies like to showcase and evaluate their plant varieties in settings that the end user, the gardener, may experience. Sun Harvest set up a container trial garden whereby we planted both new and tried and tested annuals in containers, watered and fertilized them regularly and welcomed the public to stroll and have a look at how the varieties performed. We did not hold any formal tours, people can view at their leisure and even come back again to see if any changes in the performance of the variety can be noted.
Brodie , our oldest son, accompanied me on an extensive container trial garden visit in Simcoe, Ontario last year and took the lead in establishing our fist here at Sun Harvest in 2016. The heat of our summer prevented our trials from being visited often, but we are really excited to build upon this for future years and hope that you will be sure to visit Sun Harvest for just such a purpose in the future.
What were the winners this year?? Well, we just love begonias and overall performance of a cultivar proved that begonias are really excellent value for the landscaping dollar. New varieties sometimes are stellar such as the Supertunia Violet charm and not so stellar such as the Petunia Good and Plenty Strawberry Blast. But that was this year and another growing season’s climate may yield different results. It is an always evolving story.
We have produced a short video featuring some of the highlights and will publish on the Sun Harvest Facebook page, so be sure to have a look.
In any case, trial gardens are interesting ,educational and rather colourful… definitely a fun part of our business!