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