Where to Go For the Best Plant Trials
This summer, we encourage you to get out and get travelling. Travel to trials! Go to flower trials, to field trials, to garden and container trials. Here at Ball Seed, we send new and existing annual and perennial items every year to 20 public gardens and/or universities. We recommend that our sales reps, as well as growers go and visit the trials in their areas of North America. These could range from zone 3 (the coldest – much of Canada and upper U.S. states) to zone 9 (Texas).
We typically pay a “trialing fee” for planting and maintaining our plants, as well as for the trial reports and photos we get from trials at the universities. The reports include quantitative results and ratings, as well as photos and text. Some trials post the info and photos at university-sponsored trial websites. The university trials are typically maintained by student volunteers, some paid and others doing the work as part of an Ornamental degree program.
Ball Seed also works with “Grower trials” that are typically set up at their locations. This is often done by our grower customers to be able to encourage mass market store buyers to visit, as well as local garden centers, landscapers and industry press. Examples would be Metrolina Greenhouses (NC), Lucas Growers (NJ), Mast Growers (MI), Raker-Roberta’s (MI), and Plant Peddler (IA). These locations need to be contacted to visit their trials. Many have events in midsummer for customers, similar to what we do in The Gardens at Ball in West Chicago.
Trials serve many purposes. This includes highlighting new plants and existing items from prior years, trade industry articles on performance, and events that bring growers, gardeners and horticulturalists of all kinds to increase their knowledge of plant offerings. Go out and start travelling!
Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
Colorado State University
Cornell University Ithaca
Louisiana State University – Hammond
Michigan State University
Mississippi State University - Crystal Springs
North Dakota State
North Carolina State University/J.C Raulston Arboretum – Raleigh
Ohio State University – Columbus
Penn State University – Landisville
Saint Jardin Universitaire Roger
University of Georgia
University of Guelph – Ontario
University of Minnesota – Morris
University of Tennessee – Jackson
University of Wisconsin - W Madison