The garden at the Midwest Golf House is a place to showcase some of the newest introductions to the world of annuals as well as highlight some of the tried and true standards of the industry. The Midwest Golf House trial garden is a University of Illinois Extension collaborative project with the Chicago District Golf Association, numerous seed companies, and U of I Master Gardeners. It will be used to evaluate the performance of annual flowers for full sun locations. The evaluation process will help to highlight those cultivars that could be used in commercial landscape situations such as golf courses, park districts, and municipal plantings as well as home garden applications.
Every two weeks, every cultivar will be evaluated for horticultural performance. The criteria for evaluation will be based on flower display, leaf color and quality, uniformity of habit and flowering, and ability to withstand insect and disease pressure. A scale of 1-5 will be used to help generate a graph of performance so that each cultivar can be “tracked” through the season and high and low points in appearance be seen. This will allow a better understanding of how the cultivar looks throughout the season and may help to decide if the cultivar is suitable for a particular application. Most all cultivars will be accompanied by a photograph. The 2009 garden will include more than 160 cultivars from 33 species.