Ball Colegrave Gardens
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale


Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at

November 8, 2015

The overall map of the Ball Colegrave facility shows the different features of the show; the City Roof Top Garden with considerable explanation about the design; and Petunia Easy Wave in red, white and blue used to create various flag designs. Below, Modern Man’s Garden; Family Garden; and Con-temporary Garden with colour explanations. Photos courtesy Ball Colegrave.



Back on September 20 and 27 this year I wrote here about the long-running Four Oaks trade Show held annually in the United Kingdom by the wholesale growers company, Ball-Colegrave.

The venue is a 93 hectare (23 acre) nursery site in Cheshire UK, close to the Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope. The exhibition covers an area of 17,000 m² (183,000 sq. ft.) under glass with additional outdoor areas.

The last decade has brought a steady growth to the nursery sector, specifically specimen plants and mature stock from across Europe. Massive displays of plant material form the heart of the show, with associated supplies and services from production to point-of-sale. Over 40% of participating companies are from overseas.

The visitor profile includes commercial growers/grower retailers, garden centres, multiple retailers, farm shops, landscapers & architects, garden designers, local authorities and florists.

Ball Colegrave was delighted to have welcomed a record number of professional Bedding and Pot Plant Producers, Garden Centres, Parks, Landscapers, Garden Designers and Home Gardeners to its Trials Grounds in West Adderbury this July.

The site came alive with a spectacle of colour, undoubtedly the most exciting and innovative presentation of its kind in the UK. 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.

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!

A visit to the Annual Summer Open Days always presents a special opportunity for Plant Nursery’s, Retail Plant Buyers and Parks Teams to review their current plant range as well as identify new products for next season as well as assess experimental lines for future introduction.

This Summer visitors were able to explore even more innovative products and retail ideas in the relaxed and friendly surroundings of the Oxfordshire countryside, which included; • 200 new plants for 2016, • A daily presentation on new varieties, including handy culture tips, • Innovative colour-themed patio gardens, • Creating your own personalised plant combinations in a special Interactive retail plant zone (developed in association with the company Hortipak), • See first-hand over 700 experimental annual and perennial varieties they are trialling for future introduction’, • Displays of market leading patio baskets and container plant varieties, • Tomato trials, • Patio vegetables, and • Perennial gardens.

Their gardening Trends section is perhaps the most interesting. Here one found no less than eleven specialty gardens completely planted and basically in full bloom, with a list of the plants by major colour which allowed each individual to modify the garden using similar plants with different colours and/or habits.

In the accompanying photos you’ll not only see a shot of the overall garden in full bloom, but also a shot of each individual plant in that garden.

For example, with the Modern Man’s Garden, the picture of the overall garden is in the lower left corner of the colour page and to the right are all the individual pictures of the plants that make up the garden. The hanging basket (all in red) against the house right next to the door to the apartment is the Ivy leaf Geranium Single Supreme Red. If you would like to create this gar-den but preferred a pink-coloured basket at the door, this would be easily accomplished by substituting a pink cultivar.


  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row