If you know us personally, then you know Pretty Bird Farm is not our full time gig (just yet!). John and I both have full time day jobs. John sells grape juice for David Bowler Wine and I work for Ball Horticultural, the industry leader in plant breeding and distribution. Ball develops new plants and sells the seeds or cuttings to the greenhouses that grow for the garden centers you buy your plants from.
Each year, the last Friday in July has been reserved for Ball Field Day, where Ball opens their West Chicago facility to their customers and other industry professionals for a day of education and touring the Gardens at Ball. Visitors spend the day in seminars, with product experts, tasting tomatoes and gaining inspiration.
Imagine working for a company with nine acres of display gardens right outside of your office window! It is a good thing I work from my home office in NJ and they are out in West Chicago, Illinois. I don’t know how I would get any work done if I had that tempting me to walk around every day!
The following collection of photos is just a quick glimpse of the beauty that is The Gardens at Ball. I didn’t take that many pictures this year because it rained half the day and technically, I was working. Here are a few of my favorite views as well as a few plants on my wishlist for next year. Please excuse my rainy day camera skills, these were all taken with my cell phone:
Every Garden needs a Skyframe!
I love seeing flowers mixed in in the veggie garden!
Who knew the flowers on Okra were this pretty! This is Baby Bubba, a new compact Okra for small spaces. These are only about knee high and growing a ton of fruit!
On my wishlist for next year: Rudbeckia Autumn Colors
Also on next year’s wishlist: Jolt Dianthus. This would make a beautiful cut flower and the smell is divine!
These may not look impressive in late July, but the Brazelberries line of compact blueberries and thornless raspberries are awesome! They are neat and tidy for small spaces and yield a ton of fruit (in June)! We planted Pink Icing in our garden this year.
In the trial beds, new varieties are planted alongside the old standards so you can compare new colors, habits, flower sizes or disease tolerances.
Have you ever seen Angelonia this color? No, because it’s brand new from Ball Flora Plant!
This is probably my favorite new introduction from Burpee Home Gardens. Cupcake Squash is a hybrid cross between Zucchini and Patty Pan. The fruit is shaped like a Patty Pan but has the thin edible skin of a Zucchini! As soon as these ripen I will be blogging how we eat them-it is such a fun squash for stuffing! There are only 3 plants in this gigantic mound! Garden Model: Mike Annes
Check out this three sided vertical garden planted by Ball Floral Plant!
And finally, this is the front entrance to the Ball Horticultural corporate offices in West Chicago, IL. Every time I visit I am blown away at how beautiful it is! What if all Corporate Offices planted flowers instead of lawns?
And that concludes my favorite photos from Ball Field Day 2016. You would not believe how many plants and beautiful spaces I didn’t take pictures of. For more pictures from Ball Field Day, see what my colleagues shared by searching for the keyword #ballfieldday on Twitter and Instagram. Tiffany