Voters favour novelty plants at Ball Colegrave open days

Novelty patio plants have topped the results of Ball Colegrave's Blue Flag survey at this year's open days.

Visitors to the public and trade open days in July and August identified their favourite varieties by placing 1,200 blue flags on the plants. The list of plants chosen by trade customers and home gardeners were combined to obtain the overall results.

Topping the list was Panicum 'Frosted Explosion', an ornamental grass suitable for mixed containers, gardens and bedding. It grows to a height and spread of 60-80cm and is available in a Ball 104 plug. In the public vote, it was beaten into second place by Mina lobata, which came sixth overall.

In second place was Begonia 'Gryphon', a foliage type tolerant of dry conditions with silver-spotted leaves. It grows to 35-40cm tall with a spread of 40-45cm and is available as a Ball 84 plug weeks 8-18. Petunia 'Phantom' came third.

The open days also gave visitors the chance to judge tomatoes from 47 varieties offered in the company's plug and seed range. 'Sweet Million', 'Rosada' and 'Suncherry Premium' were among the top varieties.

More than 50,000 plants were on display, including 300 new varieties for 2012. Visitor numbers were up on last year.

Ball Colegrave marketing manager Stuart Lowen said: "The open days were very well attended and we're pleased with the numbers. It's possibly a reflection of how things are going to go next year."

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