Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Master Gardeners in Service: Plant Select Research and Display Garden by Michele Loudis

Delosperma (Alan's Apricot), photo courtesy Plant Select
The Plant Select program is a great resource for area gardeners because it tests and selects the best plants for our interior West’s challenging climate.  Spearheaded by Colorado State University, Plant Select collaborates with Denver Botanic Gardens, growers, landscape professionals, and public gardens to find resilient and tough plants that flourish in our fluctuating temperatures and dry, windy conditions.  And the Colorado Master Gardeners in Jefferson County help!

Ten years ago, the Jefferson County Master Gardeners turned a parking lot into an oasis of color brimming with perennial flowers, trees, shrubs, and grasses.  Under the expert eye of our Horticulture Agent, Curtis Utley, we created an official Plant Select Research and Display Garden.   We not only evaluate trial plants at regular intervals throughout the growing season, but also demonstrate to the public the beautiful results they can achieve in their own residential gardens. 
When we assist with the plant trials, Jeffco Master Gardeners are assigned certain plants by Plant Select.  After planting, we monitor their growth and condition, and report back to Plant Select so that they can compare our results with those reported from the other research gardens in the area.  Each year, the plants with the highest scores are chosen to bear the Plant Select logo and are introduced into local garden centers for purchase by the public.  
Our role in creating a display garden allows us to inspire the public --  our garden is open to all!  If we’re there weeding and planting when you wander through our garden gate, we’re always glad to answer any questions and offer advice for creating your own beautiful yard filled with hardy plants.  

So the next time you are near the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, stop by our Plant Select Research and Display Garden. We'll show you around, direct you to plantselect.org, and encourage you to plant smarter with Plant Select!