The Penn State Horticulture trial garden was started in 1933 at the main campus of the Penn State University with the purpose to advance ornamental horticulture. The gardens have expanded since then with new locations and different plant materials, yet the mission continues. It is to provide commercial plant growers, plant breeders and the gardening public with unbiased evaluations of cultivar performance in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States by testing new and established flowers, vegetables and ornamental plants. The trial gardens are part of the Department of Horticulture, as well as Outreach and Cooperative Extension programs at Penn State University. The intent is to provide information and services to enhance the profitability of Pennsylvania's Green Industries and improve the quality of life for the citizens of the Commonwealth.
Goals and Activities of the Trial Garden Programs:
- Conduct yearly outdoor trials of annual and cut flowers from plant breeders and suppliers from around the world.
- Utilize trial gardens and educational information for workshops, tours, open houses and field days for commercial growers and home gardeners.
- Provide speakers and information for local, state and national seminars and symposia on plant selection, production, integrated pest management and variety performance.
- Publish newsletters and articles for local, state and national publications.
- Publish yearly results and pictures of plant entries on the web.