Perennial Plant Trials: Blooms of Bressingham Report 2009-2010

April 27th, 2011 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes


2009-2010 Blooms of Bressingham Plant Evaluation Profiles

A little introduction:

Since 1997, the Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH) has been the recipient of plants from one of the most prominent names in the perennial plant industry. Blooms of Bressingham (referred to simply as “BLOOMS”) has been a source of the world’s finest perennial plant introductions for many years. Based in the UK with headquarters in North America, they’ve partnered with gardens all around the United States to evaluate the performance of their plants. Each year at CUH, samples are acquired, grown on and planted out in three island beds just west of Merrill Hall and, in recent years, container displays at Washington Park Arboretum. What looks like an extravagant perennial border is actually a test plot where the performance of each variety is scrutinized. Then recommendations and feedback are given back to BLOOMS.

For the 2010, season, we’ve decided to bring back the evaluation program after a few years hiatus. With the assistance of knowledgeable volunteers, BLOOMS has been consistently getting us new plant material and we’ve become a showcase garden for both new and older varieties for people to see before they head out to a local nursery and find these varieties for their own landscapes.

With the gardens changing each growing season with new plants and deletion of older varieties that are no longer performing as well as they should (often times being surpassed by improved selections), our maps are updated regularly and copies can be found at the reception desk at Merrill Hall.

CUH Update August 2010

August 5th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

It’s finally beginning to feel like summer; fairly consistent warm temperatures, scrambling to get containers adequately watered, and gravitation towards shade when working outdoors!

The past few weeks have been so busy and incredibly productive as we’ve been fortunate to have an arsenal of interns, work study students, and volunteers help us out in grounds several times a week this summer. While it takes a bit of patience and organization, the added number of bodies out there doing SOMETHING has helped to keep things under control. While skills are still developing, their efforts have made quite a difference and it seems like they’re savoring the experience.

Soest Garden Bed 4

Lots of summer pruning is well under way to keep our trees, shrubs, and vines growing here relatively healthy and happy. By pruning in the summer, we can work on shaping and training certain species, controlling unruly growth such as water sprouts, suckers, and aggressive vines that have over-“climbed”.

Our evaluations of BLOOMS OF BRESSINGHAM perennials are underway here at CUH and we’re beginning to see glimpses of potential bright stars for the garden. After our first round of evaluations of the new plants we’ve received the last two years, many are looking quite promising while others just bit the dust and would caution gardeners about using them. I hope we can develop a website where we can post our findings and we’re also hoping to have a separate evaluation sheet for visitors to the gardens to GIVE US FEEDBACK about the plants! Please stay tuned!

We’ve also just received a generous donation of perennial plants from Skagit Gardens. Each year, they send us new varieties to feature in our gardens so people can see them and look them up when they visit local nurseries. We’ve received some lovely Sedums, a salvia, and some wonderful tickseeds aka Coreopsis like this smashing one called, ‘Cosmic Eye’ bred by a colleague of mine, Darrell Probst.

Coreopsis 'Cosmic Eye'

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