The purpose of the trial program conducted at the Annual Flower Trial Garden is to evaluate the performance of different annual plant cultivars under our unique Rocky Mountain environmental conditions. Our growing conditions are characterized by high altitude, intense solar radiation, drying winds, severe hailstorms, large fluctuations between day and night temperatures and a season-long need for irrigation. Each year, our annual trial consists of over 1,000 different cultivars of annual bedding plants. Varieties are grouped by genus, arranged by color and grown in rows, side-by-side, so as to facilitate the comparison of similar varieties. In addition to the Annual Trial, we also have a Pansy/Cool-season Crop Overwintering Trial that tests a plant’s ability to overwinter in the Northern Colorado climate, as well as a new two-year Perennial Trial program designed to test newer perennial cultivars that have been introduced in the past three years or less.
Each year these plants are evaluated by industry personnel based on vigor, uniformity, floriferousness, and tolerance to the environmental conditions. The results of this research is extended to people throughout the state for selection of the best plants for sale in Colorado.