Plants, goodbyes to be featured at UGA Trial Gardens annual open house

UGA horticulturalist Allan Armitage introduces gardeners to the year's must-have plants at the Trial Gardens at UGA's annual Plantapalooza plant sale in April 2013.

Founder Allan Armitage retiring from the garden this summer

Athens, Ga. – Plant lovers are invited to take one last walk around the Trial Gardens at the University of Georgia with UGA horticulturalist Allan “Dr. A” Armitage at the garden’s annual public open house July 13 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A short thank-you recognition will be held at 11 a.m. for Armitage, who has helped support the green industry and inspire gardeners since he arrived at UGA 31 years ago and founded the trial gardens.

Every year at the gardens’ open house, visitors have the chance to get an up-close look at a new class of vetted ornamentals ranging from roses to bulbs and learn inside knowledge about this year’s most promising plant varieties.

“We enjoy sharing the beauty of the garden and highlighting some of the new plants that people can plant in their gardens,” Armitage said. “After all, where is it written that research has to be ugly?”

Armitage will give tours throughout the day and will demonstrate his new smartphone app, “Armitage’s Greatest Perennials and Annuals.” He also will hold a book signing, and his recent titles will be on sale.

Hundreds of plants will be on display, but the staff is particularly proud of its collection of roses this year, said Sheridan Weaver, marketing director for the garden.

Located on the UGA campus in Athens between the Snelling Dining Hall and the pharmacy building, the gardens display hundreds of annuals and perennials from plant breeders around the world. John Ruter, a veteran ornamental horticulturalist in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, will serve as garden director upon Armitage’s retirement.

A $5 donation will go toward the trial gardens and its student workers. Planters designed by the gardens’ staff also will be for sale. Parking will be available in the surface lots surrounding the garden and in the South Campus parking deck. The gardens are located at 220 W. Green St.

For more information, see ugatrial.hort.uga.edu or email contact@ugatrialgardens.com.