“There is something about a garden” many a phrase would begin, and so there is. Commenting on the gardens at NVCC, President Daisy Cocco De Filippis wrote. “The Gardens of Naugatuck Valley Community College are, above all, microcosms of the values we hold dear as an institution. Cultivated through many hours of hard work and labor, the Gardens are a product of intense study, understanding and application of theories learned. They are teaching laboratories that are open, transparent and beautiful and contribute much to make our College a humane and learned institution. Some have been built to support a particular horticultural concept, others to more closely examine plant species and three have been created in loving memory of colleagues past.”

On a recent visit to campus, Professor of Biological Sciences, Joseph Faryniarz took notice of one special garden at NVCC. He wrote, “the American Rose Trials for Sustainability hill at the back of the Pisani Memorial Garden is spectacular now, 1 year after it was planted by Michael Schwartz and NVCC Horticulture students.” 

He was referring to the trial site for the American Rose Trials for Sustainability (ARTS) hosted at NVCC since 2014, under the direction of Michael Schwartz, Academic Assistant Horticulture.

Schwartz noted, “We are one of only twenty trial sites throughout the United States. Each year we receive up to 20 different cultivars from breeders throughout the world; they send us 4 roses of each cultivar they enter. We plant and evaluate them for two years according to the scientific protocol that is followed by each of the partnering trial sites. The goal of the trial is to identify which new roses are best suited for gardens in our climate. Students who participate in the program gain experience and understanding of how scientific plant trials are conducted, some of them even serve as evaluators. Students also get to see the latest rose genetics coming to market before they are released to the general public.  This gives NVCC students insight into how hybridization programs work and what it takes to develop and introduce a new plant.”

Michael Schwartz, Academic Assistant in Horticulture at Naugatuck Valley Community College is also Director President/Chief Operations Officer, American Rose Trials for Sustainability. “ARTS, is in my opinion, the strongest scientific multiple site plant trialing program in the world.”

Their mission is to identify, through regional evaluation and testing under low input conditions, the most disease and pest resistant, hardiest and most garden-worthy rose cultivars and to provide objective, accurate and reliable information about the cultivars tested for each region to industry professionals and the gardening public. Their vision is to be environmentally responsible, free of synthetic chemicals, guarantee transparency, integrity and accuracy through clearly developed testing protocols performed by highly practiced evaluators.

Summarizing her take on the Gardens of NVCC, President De Filippis wrote. “I take great pride in the NVCC Gardens which represent joyous, caring and giving work. Professors, staff and students, as part of their course work but also on their own time, have come together to draft, imagine and create something that, quite often, cuts across the disciplines, inviting in the sciences, math, business, and yes, also the humanities. Horticulture has to be one of the most beautiful workforce initiatives, a beautiful path to a life-long career. It is a joy to welcome you to a pictorial sample of the happiness, knowledge and beauty to be experienced by all who come through our doors. Thank you for joining our journey and enjoy your stay!”