The ADS sponsors Trial Garden locations across North America to provide a place for hybridizers to have their new dahlia cultivars evaluated. The Trial Gardens are generally located in parks or gardens where the public can visit and watch the dahlias grow and bloom. The ADS provides detailed specifications for the practices used to grow the dahlias and for the evaluation of the dahlias.
Trial Garden Entries
If you wish to enter a cultivar in the Trial Gardens, you must make reservations at the Trial Garden(s) you want to use. (If, for some reason you can’t send those roots at the necessary time, you must notify the Trial Garden Director(s) as soon as possible.) Contact information for specific Trial Gardens may be found here or in the most recent December Bulletin of the American Dahlia Society, Inc. Ship your entries to meet the expectations of the Trial Garden involved and ensure that each tuber has a visible eye.
Send a good, clear picture of the entry, showing the form and color, with your entry.
Only varieties not disseminated in North America will be accepted for trial. The quality of new cultivars should also have been confirmed by winning several blue ribbons in sanctioned ADS society shows before they are submitted for Trial Garden evaluation,
A fee of $12.00 will be required for each variety at each of the Trial Gardens to which it is sent.
Cultivars can only be entered in the Trial Gardens for two years, which must be consecutive years. The full set of rules for the operation of the ADS Trial Gardens is available at the back of the Classification and Handbook of Dahlias. You may also click here for a downloadable PDF of the rules.
Stock will be destroyed at the end of the growing season, but it may be possible to arrange with the Trial Garden Director for stock to be returned. Confirm that possibility when you make reservations. An additional fee to be determined by the Trial Garden Director, plus postage, will be required.
Color mutations (sports) of standard varieties are acceptable provided they have been “fixed” to the point where there is no reversion to the original variety. An exception to this is that sports of standard variegated varieties cannot be accepted and cannot be awarded Certificates of Merit. This does not mean that the ADS will not recognize such varieties, but identical sports may occur simultaneously in several gardens, and it is not possible to determine who is the originator.
Medals will be awarded to the cultivars that achieve the highest average scores in at least three Trial Gardens. However, the Awards will be given only to a variety which is to be disseminated the following season. In the event that the high scoring variety is not ready for dissemination, the award will be made to the next highest scoring eligible variety. The chance for the award is not necessarily lost, as the score can be carried forward to one succeeding year. Please promptly advise the chairman of the trial garden committee of any delay in dissemination.