The International Trials Conference, held this year in Portland, Oregon, has announced its schedule of stops for this year’s conference tour of area sites playing vital roles in plant research, testing, and production. The day long excursion takes place on the next to last day of the prestigious biennial conference held August 24 to 27.

Tour stops include:

International Rose Test Garden
The International Rose Test Garden was founded in 1917 and is now the oldest publicly operated rose test garden in the United States. Operated by Portland Parks and Recreation, the 4.5 acre garden features several collections and annually evaluates hundreds of cultivars. It is one of 11 test sites for the American Garden Rose Selections as well as breeders such as Weeks Roses, Star Roses and David Austin Roses.

OSU North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC)
NWREC serves growers in the northern Willamette Valley with research and education on the diverse crops of the region. The stop will focus on evaluations of woody plants including a multi-year evaluation of Arctostaphylos (manzanita) and the brand-new OAN woody plant research trial. The site includes the world-renowned OSU/USDA berry crop breeding and evaluation program and the OSU small farms program with trials of tomato and leek cultivars, over-wintering vegetables, and a trial modeling vegetable development with Crop Time.

Fessler’s Nursery
With 550,000 square feet of enclosed greenhouse space, Fessler’s specializes in bedding plants and annuals such as fuchsias, geraniums, and hanging baskets, as well as poinsettias and tropical foliage plants. Ongoing trials for 2015 in-clude 900 pots including the Selecta North America vegetative annual line and the Ball FloraPlant vegetative line.

Terra Nova Nurseries
Terra Nova Nurseries is an innovative plant production company developing, introducing and producing new, hardy peren-nials for the international marketplace. The company has created a niche of premium perennials, the majority unavailable at any other nursery in the world. Visitors will see ongoing evaluations of a wide array of perennials and shrubs, including selections of Coreopsis, Dicentra, Echinacea, Nepeta, Tiarella, Trandescantia, Heuchera and Heucherella, among others.

The International Trials Conference dovetails into the 2015 Farwest Show. The trials conference, attended by plant professionals and industry leaders from around the world, convenes biannually to share ideas on evaluation strategies, develop trialing standards, and explore the plant characteristics demanded by plant buyers and growers.

Over the course of four days, industry experts with first hand perspectives will cover a range of plant trialing topics touching on trial gardens, data collection, edibles breeding, quality issues, trials in Asia, trial impacts on plant marketing, and more. In addition to the speakers agenda, the Conference includes an opening reception, tours of area nurseries and trial sites, and educational sessions.

“Visiting trial sites is a very important part of continuing education for all horticulturists,” said Diane Blazek, Executive Director All-America Selections (National Plant Trials Database). “As much as we’d like to think we know about current market varieties, there are always new introductions and seeing them side-by-side in trials is the only way to really judge which one is best for you or your business’ purpose.”

The tour and conference is open to all industry professionals who have interest in plant trialing. Registration is required and available online.