Sometimes I believe I live a blessed life. As the manager of The Planter’s Palette, I have the opportunity to attend trade shows and other garden-focused events where I see incredible plants – many before they are introduced to the general public.
A few weeks ago, Ball Horticultural Co. hosted their annual Ball Seed Field Day and Landscape Day at their facility in West Chicago, Illinois. A premier event in horticulture, industry professionals were invited to attend presentations from experts, network with suppliers, check out the latest varieties in the evaluation beds of annuals, perennials, cut flowers and vegetables, and tour the magnificent display gardens.
The exemplary employee that I am, I got right to work, checking out new varieties.
Several different series of begonias were displayed in hanging baskets and large pots. The Megawatt series, available in pink, rose or red flowers and red or green leaves, caught my attention.
I wish I had counted how many different cultivars of geraniums were on display. They created a vertical wall of color.
Some tomatoes, peppers, basil and other herbs were displayed side by side in containers for easy comparison.
Tomato ‘Little Sicily’ looked like one of the best new varieties for 2018.
Ball proudly planted a patchwork quilt of Wave petunias. Wave petunias created quite a stir when Ball introduced the first variety – Wave Purple – in 1995.
A new series of petunias called Main Stage were shown growing in troughs on a faux building.
I walked each and every row of the annual trial gardens comparing the growth habits and flower colors of celosias, marigolds, flowering vinca, zinnias, angelonia, cosmos, salvia, verbena, and more and more and more.
More evaluation was done in the perennial trial gardens. This bed of coral bells made it easy to compare the foliage and flowers of several different varieties.
Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ isn’t a new variety but was garnering a lot of attention.
Seminars were presented showing the latest trends in container design, and planted containers around a courtyard demonstrated a multitude of combination ideas.
There were also plenty of new plants to excite gardeners.
I loved Caladium ‘Candyland’ and…
Calibrachoa ‘Cabaret Purple Heart’.
With my work out of the way, it was time to stroll through Ball’s beautiful gardens.
Their pathway of arbors is planted with different annuals every year and it never disappoints.
Cordylines reached like flames from huge concrete planters built into the side of a hill.
And then there were the vignettes and views as I made my way along the garden paths.
Ball Horticultural Company is a leader in the horticulture industry. Under the leadership of Anna Ball, it has grown to a global company that has introduced thousands of varieties to the gardening world including Wave petunias, Cool Wave pansies, Fiesta double impatiens, Divine New Guinea impatiens, and BOOST high-nutrition vegetables.
I am so grateful to have this amazing company nearby to compare new varieties with old, find inspiration, and get new ideas for the garden center and my own garden. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do live my blessed life.
Garden with me!