The 29th East Texas Horticultural Field Day will feature more than 350 ornamental plant trial varieties for public viewing on June 30 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Overton.
The center headquarters is about 2 miles north of downtown Overton at 1710 Farm-to-Market Road 3053. For driving directions to the center or the East Farm trial site, go to https://flowers.tamu.edu/field-day/ or call 903-834-6191.
This year’s field day will allow in-person attendance from 8:30 a.m. to noon for a free, “open house-style” event, said Erin Smith, Texas A&M AgriLife Research horticulture research associate, Overton.
“We are looking forward to having visitors at the field trials and around the center,” she said. “The field day is a fun opportunity for gardeners or flower lovers to find inspiration and for us to show them the research we are doing.”
About the field day
The annual field day started in 1993 to showcase the ornamental trials for commercial seed companies, local nursery managers and gardening enthusiasts.
The field day will begin at the center’s Bruce McMillan Jr. East Farm, 2215 Texas Highway 135 E., 2 miles east of Overton from 8:30-11 a.m.
The entrance to the ornamental trial field is on County Road 133, just past the East Farm main entrance. There will be signs to guide visitors, Smith said.
Attendees can also visit the demonstration garden and view container plant trial selections at the Overton center until noon.
Ornamentals on display
Ornamental plant lovers can expect to see around 350 selections, including potential new releases, being tested under various trial conditions, Smith said. A wide array of petal and foliage colors and shapes will be on display.
Smith said large petunia, begonia, pentas, lantana, marguerite daisy and zinnia trials were planted this year. The trials include many plants from the Ball Flora Plant and Proven Winner programs.
There will also be selections of New Guinea impatiens that include varieties grown from vegetatively propagated lines and from seed for performance comparisons, Smith said. The center is also participating in the All-American Selection trials again this year, including a variety of in-ground and container selections.
Participants are encouraged to take a tour of the ornamental trials at the demonstration garden, which includes a variety of container selections, at the Overton Center after visiting the East Farm.
The container trial features heuchera potted in the spring of 2021 that have shown good vigor in their containers through the summer and winter seasons, Smith said.
“Our demonstration garden features perennials and allows us to observe plants for multiple seasons,” Smith said. “We have added a few more coneflower varieties this year, and our garden phlox trial is surprising us with its vigor.”
Charles Long, Ph.D., director of the AgriLife Center in Overton, said he is excited to invite the public to another field day event.
“We invite everyone to come enjoy the field trials that showcase the ornamental varieties and some of our work here in Overton,” Long said. “The field day is a good opportunity for folks to get out, see some amazing ornamental varieties and learn more about how they perform.”