According to Wikipedia, a trial garden is “a garden grown specifically for the purpose of testing and evaluating plants…” Applewood’s trial garden is that and so much more! Individual species of plants are grown out to insure that they are true-to-type and to evaluate their height, color, bloom time, uniformity, and ease of culture under Colorado conditions. In addition, we also determine that the proportion of each single species is appropriate for flower mixes. Seed production trials help to determine seed yield, optimum production methods, and seed cleaning requirements. Variety improvement is also an important component of our trials and helps to maintain the integrity of our flower varieties. This is done through the use of pollinator cages and hand pollination.
Employee education is an added benefit of Applewood’s trial gardens. Our sales staff in particular is encouraged to use the trial gardens to familiarize themselves with flower species and mixes, and all staff enjoy and learn about our products. Our trial gardens are also an essential component to our continuing research on pollinators. Species are studied to determine which pollinators visit them, and results are utilized in the formulation of our pollinator seed mixtures. Applewood is even producing our own supply of Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera lyrata) seed on site.