Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow (Part 1)

We very rarely get to see what goes into making our garden grow with all of the beautiful plants we put in each year.

I was lucky enough to be invited to tour Ball Horticultural Company in West Chicago, Illinois.  They are open to the public on the weekend but not on weekdays.  I was able to go on a weekday and given permission to photograph all of their gardens. 

Ball is a major supplier to Burpee Seeds and many other seed companies throughout the world.  They do not market their seeds to the retail market but do sell to growers worldwide.  The company began in 1905, introduced the Wave Petunia, Dazzler, Elfin and Fiesta Impatiens, the black petunias this year and many more too numerous to mention.

Ball is continually experimenting with vertical gardening and this wall of ferns and other houseplants is actually growing in their lobby.  This is not a Woolly pocket system but was made of a freestanding metal structure with apertures for holding soil and plants.

This is the Woolly Pocket System outside on one of their patios with a wide variety of plantings, all annuals in zone 5.

Begonia Lana
These are very large begonias and seem to have come out of the Angel Wings type and Rex Begonias.

 Begonia Black Fancy

Bliss Scarlet
This is a tuberous begonia that will be new on the market in spring, very large double flowers.

Whopper Bronze Leaf
This is a new fibrous begonia on the market in the spring, huge and can grow in the sun or shade.

They are introducing some new impatiens and also improving on varieties that have been with us for awhile

Improved Purple Wave

Silver Tidal Wave Petunia
I grew this from seed this year but I have not seen it in the nurseries.

New Electric Cherry
You will see this next spring in the nurseries.

Celebration Icy Blue
This was not a new introduction but it was beautiful!

It was very noticeable that there is a distinct trend towards all sun impatiens with many more introductions than ever before.

Patchwork Peach Prism

Spreading White Impatiens
I have not seen this in the nurseries yet.

Patchwork Lavender

Patchwork Impatiens and Blazin' Rose Iresine
Partial Shade Plantings

There are many labeled mature specimens in the shady areas.

A Pergola of Petunias

I will revisit Ball Horticultural to show some of the new dwarf shrubs and experimental plantings.


Netty said...

Wow, wonderful post!
That last photo is my colorful and cheery :)

Bernie said...

Wow! I want some. NO, I want them all. That pergola of petunias is beyond beautiful, although I wouldn't want the job of dead heading that display. The range of Impatiens varieties is amazing, as are those gorgeous Begonias. I just know I'll probably never get to see most of what you've shown today in the nurseries here in my corner of the world. So I'll have to be happy with viewing your photos.

Betty819 said...

Talk about some "Eye candy!" You're so lucky to get to visit Ball Horticulture and we're so honored that you chose us to share your pictures and information with. Thank You! Could you see or were you told how they did that last display on the pergola? Boy, my husband's Uncle would love to see some of these.When we were at their house in mid June, He had a Rex begonia sitting on the kitchen table that he had rooted from a small plant somebody bought for him. That Scarlet begonia is stunning! He'd love that.His hobbby is raising african violets. Due to age,physical disabilities and being caregiver to his wife, he has given up farming but he loves flowers.

Betty819 said...

Is Blazin'Rose Iresine in coleus family? That Patchwork lavender impatients is going to cause confusion as it's pink, not lavender.

I love that Patchwork peach prism.
Can anybody visit the Ball Horticulture gardens? Isn't there a mansion/gardens of the Ball family somewhere in Pa.? Or am I getting it mixed up with some other seed co.?

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Netty,

That pergola is something isn't it.


Gatsbys Gardens said...


You may see then before we do. They distribute all over the world. We both had that orange one with the variegated leaf.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Betty, I am not sure how they did the pergola but I am sure if you go online you could contact them and ask. I am assuming it is similar to their wall pockets.


Lona said...

Oh, I love the pergola with petunias. How lovely. I am really going to love trying those Patchwork and Peach Prisms Impatiens when they become available. I have the spreading Sunpatiens but got it from Select Seeds. It is not spreading too well in my hard clay soil. They had loads of pretty begonias. The Black Fancy is lovely. It must have been fun to go there and view some new plants and growing ideas.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Lona,

I am really anxious to try some of those interesting begonias next year. However, they are really big.


CanadianGardenJoy said...

Eileen girl that is an amazing company .. I would break my neck trying to see everything !
That is why gardening will never be boring .. so many new introductions to drool over .. new techniques to grow plants by .. it is a hobby/passion that will never get old with us. You lucky lady for seeing all of this in person !!
I am really interested in seeing the smaller shrubs now too!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Betty, Iresine is in the Amaranthus family. Ball is open to the public on weekends.


Aerie-el said...

What an incredible treat to be able to enjoy soaking in the beauty of all these new and improved plants via your images! Love that pergola of petunias, and the vertical walls of plants.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Joy,

There is so much to see I could spend several days and not see everything.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Airie-el,

Thanks for visiting. Ball is a great place to visit, like a plant candy store.


scottweberpdx said...

Thanks for the tour...those Sun Impatiens are amazing...I had no idea there were working on those!

joey said...

A+ garden tour, Eileen. I am constantly amazed at your frequent posts ... all grand!

allanbecker-gardenguru said...

Great photo of the Pergola of Petunias. Thanks for the ride: can't wait to read the follow up blog.

Zoey said...

I really like the Patchwork Impatiens and Blazin' Rose Iresine combination.

What a great opportunity you had to tour these test gardens. I thank you for sharing them with us!

Grace said...

Beautiful shots. I love the "walls."

Kathy said...

Oh my! What a wonderful privilege to go through this place! I have enjoyed strolling through your blog and have been enchanted by the gorgeous varieties presented! Gracious such beauty! I will be looking for some of these! Thanks so much for sharing, your newest follower!