17 December 2018
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The industry votes for its favourite 2017 season varieties


read on for the Results!

The Ball Colegrave Annual Summer Showcase is one of the UK’s premier trade events. With over four acres of seasonal plant displays and variety trials, set in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside, this event attracts an audience of over 3,000 Growers, Independent and Multiple Retailers, Parks and Landscapers, Garden Writers, Plant Breeders, Trades Associations, Students and Home Gardeners.

This year saw a record number of visitors attend, each voting for their favourite varieties and colour schemes using a blue marker flag. With over 1300 catalogue varieties, 300 new varieties and 700 experimental products on display, there was certainly plenty to choose from!

However, the products which received the most flags once again leaned heavily towards new plant varieties and novelties, suggesting the market continues to hunger for innovative new plant products as Growers and Retailers look to stay one step ahead of the trend.

Here are year’s winning varieties voted for by our 3,000 visitors:

NEW Petunia Night Sky®

A Rising star for Retail Sales!

New to the garden market this season, Petunia NightSky® has been proved such a retail success that it has moved up the results table for blue flags from last year’s third place position to overall blue flag winner this

Petunia Night Sky really shines in baskets and containers with the white spots on the dark violet flowers looking like an ever-changing constellation in the night sky.

It’s easy to see why this variety was shortlisted in May for the RHS Chelsea Show ‘Plant of the Year’ awards and has received numerous industry awards since its launch. This is simply an extraordinary breakthrough colour pattern. An absolute first for Petunia and a rising star in UK Garden Centre’s.

Night Sky has a vigorous, semi-trailing habit with excellent branching and early flowering, making it a perfect plant for patio baskets and containers. We recommend growing this variety in a 10.5cm to 13cm pot. Good specific cultural information is available for Growers to get the very best plant habit and flower quality.

Available in a Ball 84 plug tray with high impact colour labels available.

NEW Calla Lily Callafornia Red

Premium Colour sales in June!

The recent introduction of our Callafornia range of Calla Lily last year created enormous interest with visitors, receiving 3 out of the top 10 blue flags. This year suggests the interest for this product has not changed with 4 Calla Lily in the top 10 favourite varieties.

Why? It’s simple. Calla Lily (Zantedeschia hybrid) are incredibly quick and easy to grow, trouble free and with their exotic flowers have enormous retail appeal and should command
a premium price.

Their garden performance is outstanding, having demonstrated in our 3 years of plant trials they can tolerate a wide range of summer weather conditions, delivering great garden success for the home gardener. Plants will flower from June to September.

Culture: Bulbs are potted in week 14 (early April) from a bulb into a 2 -5 litre pot, grown on at 18oC and will flower in about 11-12 weeks for June colour sales.

Callafornia Red was the top voted Calla Lily. It is compact (30-50cm high) with a high bloom count with flowers opening pink to red and deepen to a true red.

Available as large bulbs, supplied in packs of 25, delivered in week 13.

NEW Argyranthemum Grandaisy® Pink Halo

Bold & Beautiful Grandaisy!

Grandaisy® Pink Halo is the latest in interspecific plant breeding, carrying super large 6cm diameter pink flowers with a striking rose-pink ring around the eye.

This cutting-raised Argyranthemum is a strong, disease-free performer which blooms early, is cold and heat tolerant and therefore thrives in most climates. Plants are very free-branching and strong, making mounded bushy plants that flower abundantly throughout the Summer.

Grandaisy® grows to about 45-60cm height and spread and looks spectacular as a patio plant, in balcony boxes and as a bedding plant. The plants take little care and a bound to become a consumer favourite.

Pink Halo is just one of 4 striking colours in the new Grandaisy® series, which includes White, Red and Bright Yellow.

This variety suits large 2-3 litre pots for premium colour sales. They benefit from a single pinch in small pots and a second pinch to produce a superior shaped plant in large pots.

Available as a Ball 84 plug, weeks 8-18. A high impact colour Ball label is supplied with the plants.


Results of the 2016 Summer Open Day ‘Blue Flag’ Trial at Ball
Colegrave to identify our visitors Favourite Variety
Position Overall Results
1 Petunia NightSky® (P) NEW
2 Calla Lily Callafornia Red NEW
3 Argyranthemum Grandaisy® Pink Halo (P) NEW
4 Begonia F1 Majestic™ Sunburst
5 Dahlia Experimental 1571 (possible future intro 2018)
6 Calla Lily Callafornia Festival NEW
7 Calla Lily Callafornia Gold Fever NEW
8 Begonia F1 Majestic™ Soft Pink
9 Calibrachoa Starlight Blue (P) NEW
10 Calla Lily Callafornia Pink Melody NEW
11 Calla Lily Callafornia Gold Rush NEW
=12 Petunia Designer™ Buzz Purple (P) NEW
=12 Verbena Sparkle Dark Violet (P) NEW
=12 Argyranthemum Grandaisy® Red (P) NEW
=12 Bidens Bee Alive (P) NEW
=16 Basil Aristotle
=16 Nemesia Nesia Sunshine (P) NEW
=18 Dianthus F1 Sweet Pink Magic
=18 Nemesia Nesia Burgundy (P) NEW
=18 Begonia Shooting Star (P) (future introduction) NEW

Position Trade Results
1 Petunia NightSky® (P) NEW
2 Argyranthemum Grandaisy® Pink Halo (P) NEW
3 Calibrachoa Starlight Blue (P) NEW
4 Calla Lily Callafornia Red NEW
5 Bidens Bee Alive (P) NEW
=6 Argyranthemum Grandaisy® Red (P) NEW
=6 Nemesia Nesia Sunshine (P) NEW
=8 Begonia F1 Majestic™ Sunburst
=8 Calla Lily Callafornia Gold Rush NEW
=10 Dahlia Experimental 1571 (possible future intro 2018)
=10 Calla Lily Callafornia Festival NEW
=10 Nemesia Nesia Burgundy (P) NEW
=10 Begonia Shooting Star (P) NEW
=10 Coreopsis SunKiss NEW
15 Osteospermum 3D Silver (P)
=16 Calla Lily Callafornia Gold Fever NEW
=16 Verbena Sparkle Dark Violet (P) NEW
=16 Nemesia Aroma Plum & Custard
=16 Zinnia Zahara Double Fire
20 Petunia Designer™ Buzz Purple (P) NEW

Position Consumer Results
1 Petunia NightSky® (P) NEW
2 Calla Lily Callafornia Red NEW
3 Begonia F1 Majestic™ Sunburst
4 Dahlia Experimental 1571 (possible future intro 2018)
5 Calla Lily Callafornia Festival NEW
6 Begonia F1 Majestic™ Soft Pink
7 Calla Lily Callafornia Gold Fever NEW
=8 Antirrhinum F1 Sonnet Burgundy
=8 Argyranthemum Grandaisy® Pink Halo (P) NEW
10 Calla Lily Callafornia Pink Melody NEW
11 Basil Aristotle
=12 Petunia Designer™ Buzz Purple (P) NEW
=12 Dianthus F1 Sweet Pink Magic
=12 Gerbera Revolution Mixed
=12 Calla Lily Callafornia Rio NEW
=16 Verbena Sparkle Dark Violet (P) NEW
=16 Petunia F1 Easy Wave® Red Velour
=16 Begonia F1 Majestic™ White Pink Picotee
=16 Calla Lily Pink Cloud Experimental
=16 Dahlia Dahlietta™ Surprise Paula (P)

What is the Blue Flag survey?
The ‘Blue Flag’ survey is a measurable study that identifies sales opportunities right through
the supply chain and enables Ball Colegrave customers to determine what varieties are
“favourites” as visitors place a blue flag beside their favourite plant. Over 2,000 blue flags
were placed this year during trade and public days.

Other Facts about our Trial Grounds
Ball Colegrave has been conducting plant variety trials and customer open days from their
Trial Grounds in West Adderbury for 52 years. Today’s Trial Grounds not only presents the
companies assortment of catalogue varieties in a rich display of settings and retail ideas, but
also comprehensively evaluates hundreds of new future lines before introduction. This
ensures that when a product is introduced in the Ball Colegrave catalogues, our staff and
visitors have seen it and know it performs under UK growing conditions!

Over 50,000 Annual and Perennial plants are bedded out in the trial and display beds and in
excess of 3,000 baskets and patio containers are planted up for the event.

Traditionally the Trial Grounds were attended by Parks and Nurserymen. Today they are
joined by an ever increasing number of Garden Centres looking for new plant and retail ideas.



Top ‘Trends’ colour themed garden displays


We were delighted that visitors to this year’s Summer Showcase choose to vote for their favourite ‘Trends’ colour theme rather than a particular plant variety.

These were the results of their voting:

"Trends" Colour theme display Trade Position Consumer Position Overall Position
Bridal Bouquet 2 1 1
Brilliant Bling 1 =3 2
Tangerine Twist 3 2 3
Fiery Flame =5 =3 =4
Bollywood 4 5 =4
Urban Jungle =5 =6 6
Contemporary =8 =6 7
Nautical Chic =8 =8 =8
Sophistication =8 =8 =8
City Glamour 7 =10 =8
Breezy Blues =8 =10 11
Primary Fun =8 =10 12

More information on the Trends Colour Combinations can be found on the Ball Colegrave website.

Results of the Tomato Trial

Continued interest in the flavour and presentation of Tomato fruits has always been popular at our Summer Showcase.

The visitor’s favourite variety this year was F1 Santonio. This vining Tomato is notable for its glossy, cherry-sized plum shape fruits, exceptional flavour with a good acidic ‘bite’ and delicious lingering sweetness. Available as seed and as Ball 142 plugs.

Here are this year’s ‘taste’ results for the varieties on display including four previous years for comparison:

Position 2011 2012 2013 2014 2016
1 F1 Sweet
Sweet Aperitif F1 Sungold Sweet Aperitif F1 Santonio
2 Rosada F1 Sungold F1 Sweet
F1 Nectar F1 Sungold
3 F1 Suncherry
F1 Sakura F1 Sungold F1 Suncherry
4 F1 Trilly F1 Suncherry
Golden Crown F1 Suncherry
F1 Supersweet
5 Sparta Rosada F1 Suncherry
F1 Black Opal Sweet Aperitif
6 F1 Sungold F1 Sweet
F1 Nectar F1 Sweet
F1 Tomatoberry
7 Mini Charm Golden Crown F1 Super Sweet
Golden Crown Black Opal
8 F1
F1 Trilly F1 Trilly F1 Floridity F1 Floridity
9 F1 Ship Saint F1 Floridity F1 Tomatoberry
F1 Santonio F1 Sugargloss
10 Sakura F1 Supersweet
Black Opal F1 Red
F1 Rapunzel


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