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Mid-Atlantic Regional Reports

Mid-Atlantic Natives on Trial at the Mt. Cuba Center

This trial garden in Delaware is a great resource for learning about the best native performers

‘Screamin’ Yellow’ yellow baptisia (Baptisia sphaerocaropa ‘Screamin’ Yellow’, Zones 5–8) is a top performer in Mt. Cuba’s trial garden. Photo: Nancy J. Ondra

It’s so easy to fall in love with plants you see in a magazine or on a website, but when you’re trying to find out if they’re likely to perform well in your Mid-Atlantic garden, it’s often tough to separate advertising hype from unbiased observations. Visiting display gardens, where you can see labeled plants in person, is an excellent way to evaluate the color and overall appearance for yourself. Trial gardens, where plants are grown and evaluated with set criteria over a period of months or years, are an even better resource for those who prefer to spend their money on time-tested performers.

We’re fortunate to have several top-notch, open-to-the-public test gardens in our area. One outstanding plant-testing program is hosted at the Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, Delaware. Established in 2002, its Trial Garden concentrates on in-depth, multiyear evaluations of native plant genera. Past subjects…

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