Eason Horticultural Resources and Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens’ first annual Breeder Showcase and Trials was a resounding success, according to the two partners.
The event took place on Aug. 30. The Botanical Gardens has a rich history of conducting plant trials, albeit on a smaller scale. However, with the support of Eason and more than 40 sponsors and event supporters, the Zoo embarked on a journey to expand its horizons, ultimately culminating in the further development of two trial sites: the well-established Rockdale Urban Learning Center Gardens and the new Erkenbrecher Gardens site.
The Erkenbrecher Gardens site was conceived as a trial area only in February, demonstrating the agility and commitment of the zoo’s horticultural team. In just a few short weeks this spring, the dedicated staff installed state-of-the-art irrigation, prepared the soil, and planted a staggering 50,000 plants, all generously donated by sponsors and breeders. These plants were sourced directly from suppliers or propagated in partnership with breeders for the trials.
Throughout the season, the Zoo’s team diligently evaluated these varieties, with plans to publish a comprehensive report highlighting their performance at the end of the season. This commitment to excellence extends beyond the trials, as the Zoo actively engages in community outreach programs, hosting seminars for industry professionals and the public to promote the top-performing plants.
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The Breeder Showcase and Trials attracted more than 300 plant enthusiasts, positioning the Zoo as a horticultural hub for breeders and end consumers alike. In addition to industry visitors, more than one million zoo-goers had the privilege of witnessing the exceptional plant genetics on display, making the CZBG a focal point for horticultural interest.
This year’s event featured an impressive array of more than 500 plant genetics. Eason’s partnership with breeders and the Zoo’s selection process enabled visitors to witness the juxtaposition of new introductions alongside industry staples. These trials act as a summer comparison of what will perform best for a season-long performance. The Zoo’s end-of-season trial analysis, scheduled for release in the coming weeks, will include the 2023 editions of Zoo’s Best Container Annuals, Zoo’s Best Annuals, and Zoo’s Hall of Fame.