the gardens at MYERS PARK: A GREAT SHOW NOW AND MORE COMING SOON!
By Marlana Opitz, Collin County Master Gardener
Since 2008, agents of Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension Service–Collin County, in cooperation with employees of Collin County’s Myers Park& Event Center, and volunteers from the Collin County Master Gardeners Association worked to establish research and demonstration gardens at Myers Park that follow Earth-Kind® principles for conserving resources and maintaining a healthy environment. The objective is to provide Collin County residents and visitors with valid and reliable information from Earth-Kind’s scientific procedures. The goal is that all visitors will benefit by using these procedures in their own gardens.
The results are impressive. The gardens promise to be even more impressive in the future. Let’s take a look at what has been accomplished in these past few years.
Perennial Research Garden
At the far north end of the park, volunteers began planting the perennial research garden near the park’s office in 2010. They planted phase two in 2011, phase three in 2013 and phase four in 2014. Researchers and volunteers have collected and evaluated data on over 100 perennial species and varieties since planting began.
A rainwater harvesting and drip irrigation system demonstration is set up on the north side of the Farm Museum near the perennial garden. The Farm Museum is used for catchment. Two large tanks store water to use during extreme drought conditions. Flow meters measure the water used in the gardens. A Stationmaster Control determines water distribution to the 13 zones of the park’s gardens according to research protocols. Drip irrigation has been installed throughout the gardens.
Circle Drive Garden
In 2012, volunteers established demonstration gardens around the Myers Park office building, at the north gate entrance and in the circle drive. They used many of the same perennials that were planted in the perennial research garden. The circular bed showcases plants that attract butterflies. In 2014 volunteers added summer annuals, some of the same varieties as those in the annuals research beds. In fall 2014, the CCMGA Bulb committee added bulbs to the walkways.
In 2013 a weather station was installed to facilitate accurate data collection.
Summer Annuals Research and Demonstration Garden
Volunteers established the summer annuals research and demonstration gardens in 2014, south of the perennial garden. Opposite the annuals beds are four beds that will be used for the future herb research garden.
To the north of the perennial garden is the new research vineyard for a five-year trial to run from 2015 to 2020. These bunch type and Muscadine grapes are varieties that could be of interest to homeowners and home vintners.
Crape Myrtle Research Garden and Rose Garden
To the southwest of the park office area, in the north central section of the park, are the rose research garden and the crape myrtle research garden, both established in 2011. The Kordes roses that were originally planted were removed in winter 2013, after trials were complete, due to an infestation of Rose Rosette Disease. New roses were selected from among proven performers and planted in 2014. New data collection began in 2015.
Potager and Vegetable Research Garden
At the far northwest corner of the park are the vegetable research garden and the potager (kitchen) demonstration garden. Vegetable research began in 2013. The Potager Garden began in 2014.
The demonstration rain garden is located at the far north end of the main parking lot for the Show and Stall Barns and the Landing. Volunteers planted over 200 plants there in 2009. Most of those were lost in the droughts of 2011 and 2012. They replanted in 2013 with many of the perennials that were doing well up to that point in the perennial research garden. Drip irrigation was installed there in 2013.
In 2016, Master Gardeners will plant Earth-Kind gardens for herb research and for turfgrass research near the perennials garden. They plan to establish a demonstration shade garden south of the Farm Museum.
Researchers and volunteers are also planning long term additions to the gardens. Current plans include the following:
Come on out and see Myers Park and Event Center. There's a lot you can learn!
Myers Park Earth-Kind® Research Gardens
Myers Park Earth-Kind® Demonstration Gardens
VISITING THE RESEARCH GARDENS
Myers Park is open to the public and is a beautiful place to visit. There is no charge to visit the park or the gardens. Pack a picnic, come on out, and explore.
Click here to download a printable map.