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Plant Fashion Week at the California Spring Trials

Last week I was invited to attend the Ball Horticulture display gardens at the California Spring Trials. The California Spring Trials can best be described as Fashion Week for plants: growers put on elaborate displays to present what’s new and notable in their upcoming plant lines. Ball launched the upcoming 2017 innovations in their many brands including Burpee and Wave.Ball Spring Trials 2016

I was welcomed at the Ball Spring Trials by the California sun and beautiful pergolas filled with blooms. After a quick orientation and a chance to meet the team, we started the tour of the plants.Ball Spring Trials

At Burpee Seeds I met a truly passionate gardener and foodie who vibrated with excitement over the three new vegetable seed lines and some of the amazing edibles. Admittedly, after I heard about them I was vibrating too! Amazing plants that solve a host of problems for the home vegetable gardener, vegetables created specifically for small spaces AND high yields, plus some delectable edibles designed with the creative foodie in mind. I found so many new varieties that I want to share, so I’ll write more in a follow up post all about what’s new for Burpee for 2017.Burpee Home Gardens Display at Spring Trials

Next, we visited some of the ornamental plants from the BallIngenuity line, first-to-market and high-demand plants from independent suppliers around the world.Rex Begonia

Look for Jurassic Rex Begonias, vibrant Celosia “Twisted Orange”, and Sweet Kiss strawberries, an ever-bearing strawberry that yields large, dark-red fruit from June until frost. Sweet Kiss has reportedly won blind taste tests for flavor, making it an even sweeter plant choice!Celosia Twisted Orange

A stop at the Cyclamen display gave me some more ideas on how to use Cyclamen in hanging baskets and I learned the proper way to care for them. Tip: they love air! So to keep them blooming, remove all of the spent stems, not just the blooms. Keeping the soil line nice and neat is the best way to keep these air-loving beauties happy.Cycylamen Planters

Next there was a tip toe through the petunias from Selecta, a global horticultural company owned by the Klemm family in Stuttgart, Germany, that brings excellent genetics of vegetatively propagated annuals to the North American market. While I’ve never been overly excited about old-fashioned petunias, these Night Sky Petunia’s speckled blooms stole the show. The colors change based on temperature and, like fingerprints, no two blooms are alike. Hot days and cool nights will turn the flowers white; while a high day and night temperature will turn them purple. From paint-splatter to star-shaped, these petunias have quite the following, just Google them and see!

Petunia Night Sky

In my garden I’m always on the hunt for some great perennials and there were many to be found like the variegated Heliopsis helianthoides “Sunstruck”, tidy Lavance Deep Purple English Lavender, and UpTick series of Coreopsis, which boasts bigger flowers that bloom longer.heliopsis helianthoides sunstruck

I loved the Rhythmix Perennial Plant combinations, instant gardens for those who are just getting started. Perennials are combined in containers to suit different gardening tastes. With names like Boogie Blues, Fiery Foxtrot, and Cheery Charleston, you can see that these containers are a full of rhythm!Rhythmix Perennials

Those who love hanging baskets would have been blown away at the lush, cascading Cool Wave Pansies and Wave Petunias. Cool Wave
There was a long list of innovations for these beauties, which can best be seen over on the Wave Family website. If you are looking for tried and true annuals for mountains (or waterfalls) of color, the Wave brand is the one you should be looking for in stores. These guys really know their stuff!Yellow Cool Wave

The displays at the Ball Spring Trials were so well done and worth a mention. From Burpee’s Small Garden and Foodie display to living walls, stunning containers, and unique plantings, there was a feast for the eyes.Burpee Home Gardens Small Spaces

The little details like painting the stands under a begonia the same color as the blooms and the elaborate decorative backdrops made it a very enjoyable show to attend.Color RushI’m grateful to the Ball Horticulture team for inviting me to California to tour the Ball Spring Trials and I can’t wait to get some of those goodies for my home garden!Mix Master Display


  1. I’m loving those cascading pansies! They aren’t great in the summer in Southern heat, but I’d love to get a few for next spring. They are so cheerful!

  2. Wow ! the colour variety is amazing ! … I would be more of a patio veggie grower too since my gardens are dedicated to perennials, shrubs. trees … there isn’t room for veggies. I am actually trying blueberry shrubs in large containers for the season then desperately find a spot to dig them into the ground for winter though .. lack of space is a huge factor when I look at plants now.
    These were gorgeous .. great pictures girl !


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