Visual beauty meets functional research at the University of Georgia Trial Gardens. Located on South Campus, the gardens are home to seeds and plants from nearly every plant breeding company worldwide, grown to service UGA research, teaching, and new crop introduction.

“The Trial Gardens are the premier campus test site in the southeast for the evaluation of commercial bedding plants and perennials,” said John Ruter, the Trial Gardens director and Allan M. Armitage Professor in the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) Department of Horticulture.

The gardens began in 1982, when Allan Armitage and Michael Dirr, both CAES faculty, plowed some ground and introduced the first seeds from the PanAmerican Seed Company.

Years later, the gardens received plants and seeds from breeding companies around the world, perennial plant nurseries, individual growers and gardeners, and material from Ruter’s breeding program.

Trials are planted in April and May, consisting of major and minor bedding classes, tropicals, vines, plantings of specialty annuals, over 150 free-standing containers, and three large perennial beds.

In addition to research, another major function is the evaluation and subsequent introduction of new crops for the greenhouse and landscape industries.

The gardens will host a commercial open house on Wednesday, June 5, followed by a public open house on June 8. Visitors are welcome to stop by any time, however, as the Gardens remain open to the public all year.

In the fall, the gardens will announce the Classic City Award winners, which recognize the very best plants in the Trial Gardens.

View the 2023 Classic City Award winners and learn more about the gardens online.