The East Texas Bedding Plant Greenhouse and Garden Performance Trial Program began in 1994 at the Overton Center with the goal of generating and providing information on greenhouse and field performance of bedding plant varieties to the local bedding plant industry and consumers of these products. The program began with local trials that has now expanded in scope with the Smith County and Rusk County Master Gardeners Associations playing an integral role in performing the trials.Entries are received from most of the major Ornamental Seed Companies doing business in the United States giving the regional industry access to one of the only comprehensive performance trials in this part of the country. This industry has a wholesale value of over $500 million in the northeast Texas region with over $100 million of that being specifically bedding plant production. We also coordinate trial results with the Dallas Arboretum in awarding the North Texas Winners Circle awards each year. Over 5 million consumers in the northeast Texas region now have the opportunity to see how promising new plants from all over the world perform in our climate. Plants that grow well in our climate have the potential to reduce inputs needed for production and use in the home or commercial landscape.Many of the top performing varieties from the bedding plant trials are also chosen to be part of the Coordinated Education and Marketing Assistance Program (CEMAP), a statewide testing program in which entries vie for designation as Texas Superstar® plants. See www.TexasSuperStar.com for more information. The comprehensive benefit of the Bedding Plant Evaluation Program is the link between the rural bedding plant producers and the urban consumers which serves as a basis for improving the quality of life for all of the citizens of Texas.
The Horticulture Program is led by Dr. H. Brent Pemberton (click for Bio).