2016 Michigan Garden Plant Tour

Greenhouse growers, landscapers and garden center and nursery operators are invited to visit leading young plant growers and the MSU gardens from July 25 to Aug. 5, 2016.

Since 2004, Michigan State University has coordinated an annual garden plant tour with leading young plant producers in the state. Commercial greenhouse and nursery growers, garden center retailers and landscapers are invited to participate in the 2016 Michigan Garden Plant Tour from July 25 through Aug. 5. According to MSU Extension, the objective of the tour is to educate growers and industry professionals about new and existing plant selections and how they perform in different settings, both in the landscape and in containers. Expect to see impressive displays of flowering material, including most of the commercial brands of annuals and perennials. This is a terrific way to observe plant performance at different locations, and grown under various conditions, throughout Michigan.

In addition to the MSU Horticulture Gardens in East Lansing, Michigan, the participating tour sites are C. Raker and Sons in Litchfield, Four Star Greenhouse in Carleton, Mast Young Plants in Walker and Walters Gardens in Zeeland. The Michigan Garden Plant Tour is completely free, but the companies would appreciate a call or e-mail in advance to know you'll be coming. For much more information on the tour, including highlights of each stop, visit the Michigan Garden Plant Tour website.

Last year, the tour launched a Michigan Garden Plant Tour Facebook page, which contains frequent updates and photos of some of the most exciting new plant introductions. See the plants as they grow, from the plants being produced in greenhouses to being transplanted outdoors to forming lovely displays. Join in the fun!

Flower gardenYou are also welcome to participate in the annual MSU Plant Trial Field Day to be held this year on Tuesday, Aug. 2. This is probably the best opportunity to visit the MSU Trial Gardens to learn about and evaluate a wide range of annuals, perennials, vegetables and native plants. In addition to walking through the trial gardens, hear presentations from MSU gardens director Art Cameron and MSU trial garden manager Daedre McGrath about top-performing plants this year. MSU horticulturist Bridget Behe will discuss insights about consumer purchases, and MSU horticulturist Tom Fernandez will present great landscape shrubs for Michigan. Finally, the new perennial trials manager, Bethany Troy, will join Cameron in discussing great herbaceous perennials, both recent introductions and old favorites.

Registration is required for the MSU Plant Trial Field Day, and the early rate ends July 28. Lunch, refreshments, parking and a trial booklet are included in this one-day event. To register, go to: MSU Plant Trial Field Day. We encourage ornamental plant businesses to participate in the tour – it’s a great way to train your employees about garden plants and how they grow in the landscape.

Dr. Runkle’s work is funded in part by MSU’s AgBioResearch.

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