OVERTON – The East Texas Horticultural Field Day on June 27 will feature more than 500 ornamental plant and vegetable trial varieties for public viewing, along with presentations by experts at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Overton.
Dr. Brent Pemberton, Texas A&M AgriLife Research ornamental horticulturist, Overton, said he started the trials in 1993 to meet the needs of commercial seed companies, local nursery managers and gardening enthusiasts.
There is no cost to attend or for the barbecue lunch, but organizers ask that attendees RSVP by June 21 for an accurate meal count. The field day will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. at the center’s Bruce McMillan Jr. East Farm, 2 miles east of Overton on Texas Highway 135 N.
The ornamental trial garden is on County Road 133 just past the former Kilgore College Demonstration Farm.
“Directions to the trial garden will be available online and there will be signs placed to guide visitors,” Pemberton said.
A tour of ornamental trials at the demonstration garden at the Overton Center will follow.
The center headquarters are about 2 miles north of downtown Overton at 1710 Farm-to-Market Road 3053. For driving directions to the center or the East Farm site, go to https://flowers.tamu.edu/field-day/ or call 903-834-6191.
The field day will feature a variety of annual and perennial ornamentals, Pemberton said. Vegetable varieties will also be on display.
Pemberton said new disease-resistant Vincas and Impatiens, dahlias, petunias, coleus, new and established perennial plants and 28 selections of salvia nemorosa will highlight the field trials among hundreds of other ornamental varieties.
Dr. Joe Masabni, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist, will also have several varieties of garden vegetables growing for field trials at the East Farm.
Gaye Hammond, of the Houston Rose Society, and Jenny Wegley, Dallas Arboretum horticulture director, will be guest speakers during afternoon programs inside the Overton Center’s Bruce McMillan Jr. Auditorium.
“We may have a young trial garden this year due to all the rain, but as long as we have some good growing weather, we should have a good showing of annuals. And, there are still established perennials from last year and this year’s container and perennial trials, which are developing nicely,” Pemberton said. “We look forward to everyone coming out.”