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Bonneyville Trial Garden

The American Dahlia Society (ADS) sponsors trial gardens 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.

One such garden, the Bonneville Trial Garden, is located in Bristol, Indiana in the Bonneyvill Mills Park.  Steve Kuiper is the director.  Learn more about trial gardens here.


This event attracts many Midwest dahlia judges and new growers as well.  We meet at the garden by 9 am to catch the blooms while it is cool.  Senior judges will evaluate new varieties with small groups of enthusiasts at all levels of expertise. 


A pot luck luncheon at the one-room schoolhouse follows judging.  Elkhart Dahlia Society DS will provide a main dish or two, and participants may bring a dessert or side dish to share.  Table service and water will be provided.  After lunch the discussion shifts to judging at shows under the direction of our judging chairman, Steve Kuiper.

Anyone that likes dahlias, or wants to learn more about growing them, or showing them, or hybridizing them, or photographing them, or even maybe judging them is welcome. There are always classic photo ops with the Mill in the background, and "People in the Garden" shots. 


It's always a fun way to check off some judging requirements.  I also think getting everyone together to hash out the scorecard before the repeated weekends of shows is a great warm-up, and might improve consistency of scoring within the Midwest. 

Contact Steve Kuiper for more information if needed.  No registration is required to attend the event.

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