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Urban Horticulture Field Day August 19th At West Madison Ag Research Station

Whether you”re looking for winter-resistant finery for the front yard or fillings for next summer”s salad bowls, you”ll find ideas at Urban Horticulture Field Day, Saturday, Aug. 19 from noon to 5 p.m. at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station.

Several research projects are looking at winter-hardy perennials.

Winter Hardy Shrub Rose – UW-Madison horticulturist Laura Jull started a winter hardy shrub rose trial early this spring. Jull has established field plots at three sites in Wisconsin (Zone 3 – Spooner, Zone 4 – Green Bay area, and Zone 5 – Madison). She is evaluating 20 shrub roses at each location, testing for hardiness, pest-resistance and ornamental value.

Winter Hardy Chrysanthemum – Station staff, working with a University of Minnesota researcher, have started a winter-hardy chrysanthemum trial. The Madison station serves as the southern-most trial site. More than 20 cultivars are being evaluated for winter hardiness, pest resistance and flower quality.

Winter Hardy Ornamental Grasses – Thirty-four cultivars of ornamental grasses are being tested for winter hardiness.

Heaths and Heathers – The station has started a collection of heaths and heathers. These winter-hardy evergreen shrubs provide early spring and fall color, and green ground cover in winter.

Annual trials include callas, godetia, sweet peas, verbascums and sunflowers.

Moving from the visual palette to the gustatory palate: sweet-corn taste-tasting will begin at 12:30 p.m., and a variety of melons, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers will also be available for tasting.

The station”s vegetable trial gardens boast 33 different peppers (one-third are hot peppers), more than 44 tomato varieties (including an assortment of heirloom tomatoes), and more than 20 pumpkin varieties. Visitors will also find red, white and black currants and 10 grape cultivars.

From 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., research and outreach specialists from the UW-Madison”s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences will discuss their research, provide tours, and answer gardening questions. Guided tours will be held every half-hour from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. In addition, the Alphabet Cow and Dottie Moo, two fiberglass bovine luminaries from Cows on Parade, are visiting from Chicago.

The field day is sponsored by station staff, researchers at the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and UW-Extension staff. The West Madison station is at 8502 Mineral Point Road, about a mile west of the Beltline.