Container Gardening · Garden Musings · Herbs · Perennials

Perennials Rule at Darwin Perennials Day

I love industry events. They provide the opportunity to see old friends, make new ones as passionate about plants as I am, and satisfy my plant appetite (for a while, at least).

I attended Darwin Perennials Day at Ball Horticultural Company last week. The skies threatened and even sprinkled a few raindrops from time to time but serious rain held off and I was able to examine the trial beds without carrying an umbrella.

Darwin Perennials Day gives garden centers a chance to meet with some of the best perennial suppliers, check out new varieties coming in 2020 and be among the first to see upcoming perennial trends. There are also opportunities to learn something new at educational sessions presented by industry experts.

One of the coolest new ideas I saw was the herb-A-licious herb container program. Several different themed containers were planted with herbs for a specific purpose.

Bakin’ up a Storm™ featured varieties of lavender, mint, rosemary and stevia and suggestions to bake lavender scones, rosemary biscuits and cakes with peppermint frosting while drinking stevia-sweetened iced tea.

There were even samples!

The trial gardens are always a favorite. It is great to see different cultivars of a plant growing side by side to examine traits like flower color and quantity of blooms, plant habit and vigor, and overall yumminess.

As much as I love plants with purple foliage, Heuchera ‘Carnival Watermelon’ was my favorite cultivar of coral bells.

I attended an educational session – Top-Rated Plants and Trials from the Chicago Botanic Garden – given by Richard Hawke, Plant Evaluation Manager & Associate Scientist at CBG.

Photo of slide shown during presentation.

I learned I must get Amsonia tabernaemontana ‘Fontana’ and…

Photo of slide shown during presentation.

Rudbeckia ‘American Gold Rush’ for my garden.

More than 20 perennial suppliers were eager to answer questions and show off their plants like proud mamas and papas.


And then there were the new plants, those perennials that won’t be available until 2020. Nepeta ‘Blue Prelude’ caught my eye. It promises to grow to 3 feet tall in its second season. Wow!

I am so fortunate to live reasonably close to Ball Horticultural Company. It is a top notch, 5-star organization and an amazing resource for plant-loving garden writers.

Garden with me!

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