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Annual Flower Research at Bluegrass Lane, Ithaca, New York
Background. 2010 was the seventh year of our "annual" evaluation program. Our goal is to provide valuable information on plants that are currently available, as well as those not yet released. This information is used by the industry to develop better plants for consumers. Better plants mean happier customers, and potentially more sales. You can review pictures and data from previous research in our Archives section. This research effort is headed up by Dr. Bill Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org), Department of Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
Sponsors. This year we were happy to have six sponsors, listed below. Interested in becoming a sponsor? Get the details.
Evaluation criteria. We evaluated the plants every two weeks, by at least six people, including a mix of staff members and students. Plants are given a 1-5 rating (1=awful, 5=great) on the following attributes:
Evaluations also include written subjective commments and photographs. At the end of the season, we average the numbers across all raters, for all evaluation dates, giving an overall seasonal average. View data in an Excel spreadsheet. Photographs are compiled into a timeline of performance throughout the season. View the 2010 Gallery.
For the second year in a row, Burpee has submitted ornamental vegetables to be evaluated for ornamental potential. Obviously, evaluating vegetables for the same criteria as flowering annuals would not be fair. To evaluate the vegetables, photos and comments were recorded, and then plants were assessed to either have "Ornamental potential," or "Drawbacks." This is a rudimentary system, and may change as the industry's needs change.
Maintenance. Seed, plugs, or rooted cuttings were grown in 4-inch pots in the spring, and transplanted at the Bluegrass Lane Research site in early June. Maintenance was minimal (mulching, weeding and some grooming). Fertilizer was applied as a dry feed in mid-June (Osmocote). Irrigation was via subirrigation.
Weather. Ithaca is located in Zone 5a-b. We had a rather cool season as far as temperatures. June's average was 66F, July's was 69F and August's was 69F. Precipitation amounts were 3.6 inches of rain in June, 3.2 inches in July and 4.2 inches in August. Additional weather information can be found at The Ithaca Climate Page.
Thanks. Thanks are expressed to the breeding and supply companies who provided plant materials and financial support for these trials. These trials would not have been possible without the great efforts of Eric Shatt, JC Mosher and Louise Gray of Cornell's Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Center, my Trial Garden Coordinator Melissa Kitchen, undergraduate students Bryan Denig, Kerry Dillon, Lauren Seccurra and Pat Sullivan.
2010 Crew, from L to R: Lauren Seccurra, Pat Sullivan, Kerry Dillon and Bryan Denig.
Department of Horticulture, 134A Plant Sciences Bldg, Ithaca, NY 14853 USA, email: email@example.com | 607-255-4568/1789 | Fax, 607-255-9998/0599
© 2007 Department of Horticulture, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University