Aug. 1 is Evaluation Day at Colorado State University Trial Garden

Note to Reporters: This event is not open to the public. This media advisory is intended for reporter use only. Reporters who would like to attend should contact Jim Beers at (970) 491-6401 or

Decision Day is fast approaching at the largest garden of its kind west of the Mississippi River: The day when about 100 evaluators converge to choose the best flowers from some 1,100 gorgeous varieties planted at Colorado State University’s Annual Flower Trial Garden.

What varieties have performed best? Which flowers have flopped? Will there be a Cinderella story?

Reporters and photographers are invited to observe and report on the evaluation process.

The daylong evaluation will start at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 1 at the Annual Flower Trial Garden, 1401 Remington St., Fort Collins ( The Trial Garden, encompassing nearly 3 acres, is a beautiful and well-known northern Colorado attraction off College Avenue on the east side of the CSU campus.

Media representatives will be able to observe and interview evaluators as they analyze annual flower varieties for overall growth, bloom and other factors. For those who have wondered about the purpose of the highly visible garden, now’s the chance to find out.

Evaluators will identify varieties that have performed best in Colorado’s fierce growing conditions – conditions marked by a compressed growing season, intense light, and low natural moisture, often interspersed with monsoon rains, wind and hail. Indeed, the 2011 growing season already has seen it all.

By mid-fall, the evaluation on Aug. 1 will result in the compilation of a list of best-performing varieties in a number of popular genera such as dahlia, petunia, geranium, impatiens and verbena. Judges also will identify best-performing plants in the categories of new variety, novelty – and, of course, best of show.

“Evaluations at the Trial Garden ultimately help home gardeners and the horticultural industry tremendously because results help gardeners choose what to plant. With the information we provide, gardeners will be more successful in getting the best plants for the Rocky Mountain and High Plains regions,” said Jim Klett, professor in the CSU Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and facility coordinator for the Annual Flower Trial Garden.

Evaluators include university experts, public horticulturalists, representatives from seed and vegetative companies, and CSU Extension master gardeners.

The Trial Garden is among a network of similar gardens at land-grant universities nationwide charged with growing and evaluating plants for performance in local conditions. The CSU garden, which has become a popular attraction in Fort Collins, is among the largest of its kind in the country.

In addition to performing research into growth habits of scores of plant varieties, the garden is an important educational resource for CSU classes and likewise provides community engagement in the form of garden tours and visitation by flower lovers.

Wondering about winners from the 2010 CSU Annual Flower Trial Garden? Find them at