Ball Australia have just finished hosting their Grower Trials for 2019, held in week 49, at their state-of-the-art premise in Skye, Victoria. The company has been hosting these Grower Trials for over 20 years, building awareness and industry collaboration to show the Australian grower network successful varieties to keep home gardeners inspired and involved in gardening.
This was the company's 3rd trials at their new site and the feedback and compliments were encouraging. This year’s focus was ‘Shining A Light On Colour’ and there was plenty of it.
Gideon Cox, the company’s Product Manager, said “with the cooler start to our spring-summer season, this has given us a trouble free base to build from. Product was in the ground on time and I was really pleased to see the majority of varieties flowering at the same time, a co-ordinated effort all ready for week 49. A few varieties even surprised me with their exceptional display of habit and performance. My stands outs for the week’s trials were our new Salvia ‘Mirage’ and the Calibrachoa ‘Midnight Kiss’.” Customers responded strongly to the displays and were very encouraging with their comments on the new releases Ball is bringing to the Australian market for 2020.
The company’s sales team of 5 know it is a big week in the calendar for them and Tony Collins, the company’s National Sales manager, is driven to create greater product awareness for their growers and greenlife retailers. Tony commented that “focused one on one time spent with growers, as they are shown around the gardens, allows us to hear their honest thoughts and understand clearly where their business is going and how we can support them with the right varieties. As an international company we invest a lot of R&D into breeding and this year a standout for our growers has been the Impatiens ‘Beacon’. Bred to withstand downy mildew, growers were positive and keen to get this product back on the retail shelf and into home gardens again. If I have to mention a personal favourite the Digitalis ‘Pink Panther’ does just as our theme promotes – brings colour to the garden. Looking out across our garden display I was delighted to see the colour vibrance and performance we were offering our Australian growers and therefore home gardeners, it’s been a great week”.
Each year seems to bring new interest and contacts to the Ball Australia Grower Trials with international guests and groups making it a stop off point. Kate Grant, Marketing Manager, for Ball Aust., hosted a group from the Polish Nurserymen’s Assoc., showing them through the company’s working production nursery and then plenty of photo time in the gardens. “While language was a slight barrier, they were an engaged and interested group who could not get over the breath of colour our garden beds presented and the overall layout and displays” Kate said. “The expressions on their faces made me very aware of when working closely with products you can disconnect with the overall impact it can have and yet how much delight it brings to our visitors – never lose sight of how lucky we are to be surrounded by colour.” As a stand-out favourite for the week, Kate said “with garden spaces becoming smaller and more container based the Carnations we are offering as a compact gift giving line are my fav: ‘Pink Kisses’, ‘Early Love’ and ‘Purple Wedding. They are a happy looking plant and have a habit that makes them easy to manage’.
"While a lot of planning and effort goes into making our BGT event (Ball Grower Trials) look different and renewed each year, our customers and the retailers that can make the time to visit, are key to making the week a success. They keep us on our toes knowing where the market is heading and how consumers are influencing their buying choices therefore what we can offer by way of new varieties."
Kate also noted that “A continuing message Ball Australia has been building over the past 3 years is it’s ‘Colour Your World’ program. Aimed at reinforcing the benefit of adding colour to home gardens or city landscapes and the importance of pollinators in gardens – no matter how big or small. Like most things… ‘from little things big things grow’… the facebook site has really started to gain momentum. 2020 is looking strong for our trials, we don’t sit still and ideas are already in development.
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