Piper Creek Trial Garden
Echoglen Farm, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Submitted by Lorne McArthur
Trial Gardens are the instrument which all seed growers use to develop new varieties of seeds to feed the world and beautify our yards. Governments and Departments of Agriculture around the world sponsor seedlings for food trial gardens. Seed companies employ the best geneticists to breed new varieties of plants. The American Dahlia Society, celebrating the 100th Anniversary in 2015, employs the same method.
Members of the Alberta Dahlia and Gladiolus Society have accepted the challenge of a trial garden for dahlias. The time spent caring for, growing, judging the seedlings, and record keeping will be the result of hours of volunteer work. Alberta dahlia growers have spent a lot of time and money attending shows and participating in judging courses to become senior certified judges who are members of the much larger American Dahlia Society (ADS). An application for a trial garden has to be submitted to the ADS and once approved the garden will have a 2 year probation period. This is standard for all trial gardens.
Alberta Dahlia and Gladiolus Society members have been growing seedlings for many years. Because of waiting lists, there is a challenge for members to get their seedlings into the US Trial Gardens. Trial Gardens in Canada have come and gone on both the West and East coasts. Trial gardens have never been on the prairies until now. Our extreme climate in Alberta makes dahlia growing a challenge. We are a hardy bunch of enthusiastic growers, with a goal to growing successful gardens. We will accommodate hybridizers from across Canada and the US.
All growers can submit tubers in their 4th growing season. Originators shall submit 3 tubers of a cultivar along with a picture, entry form and applicable fee. Cultivars in Alberta will be started indoors and transplanted after the danger of frost has passed. Directors and volunteers will maintain the trial garden. The gardens will be cared for in the same manner as all dahlia gardens. Judging will be according to the rules in the ADS Classification Handbook of Dahlias.
The City of Red Deer has been very supportive and recognizes the endeavours of the ADGS. The garden is open for public viewing during the growing season.
The Piper Creek Trial Garden is located at Echoglen Farm, Red Deer County, at the home of Lorne and Marilyn McArthur. The land location is Range Road 273 #37514. Our local people know this location as 40th Ave, south of 19 St, near the City Landfill Site. Mailing address: Lorne McArthur, RR#3, Red Deer, AB, Canada, T4N 5E3. Look for the steel pole structure behind the tree farm on the West side of 40th Ave South of the Landfill Site.
The probation period is complete and thanks to a tremendous amount of work and perseverance by Lorne and Marilyn McArthur, Wayne and Sheila Roberts, Ken Jensen and Eileen Grant the Piper Creek Trial Gardens are the only sanctioned trial gardens in Canada.