Many of the most popular plant destinations for new variety showcases are going either partially or totally virtual this year. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening at Pleasant View Gardens, Bailey, Ball Seed, Walters Gardens, and Raker-Roberta’s.
Pleasant View Gardens Virtual Open House
Given the issues related to COVID-19, Pleasant View is recreating its open house event this year online. From Aug. 3-7, Pleasant View Gardens will hold its first annual Virtual Open House Week, with unique events each day .
“One of our favorite things during the year is our summer Open House, but given all that’s going on in the world, we’ve had to remain flexible in how we present ourselves,” says Andy Huntington, National Sales Manager at Pleasant View. “This is why we’re providing our customers and partners with the opportunity to learn about our plants and programs in a virtual setting. This allows us to continue to foster great relationships, while at the same time providing information our customers need to become even more successful.”
Pleasant View will kick off day one of its Virtual Open House Week with a Facebook Video Premier from the Huntington family. Later that same day, and each day following, PVG’s Research & New Product Development Manager, Adam Moseley, will give viewers the lowdown on all the new Proven Winners plant varieties for 2021 via Facebook Live. Attendees will be able to see what Adam’s showcasing in real time while also participating by getting answers to their burning horticulture questions.
Day two of the event, in addition to another Facebook Live review of new intros by Moseley, will also feature John Gaydos, Pleasant View’s Director of Product Development and Promotion. In his segment, Gaydos will take over the Pleasant View Facebook page, serving up his expertise regarding Proven Winners plant genetics.
Day three of the Virtual Open House Week includes the first of many future industry-influencer panel discussions where experts from all areas will chat via a Zoom conference call. Moderated by Pleasant View’s own Andy Huntington, panelists will discuss some of today’s hottest topics and include prominent figures. As with the Facebook Live events, off-screen viewers will be able to pose questions for the panel to address live or as a follow-up.
Bailey Annual Expo
The 2020 Bailey Customer Expo is moving online with expanded offerings and an extended timeframe. All Bailey customers from North America will have access to new variety presentations, educational seminars, interactive website tutorials, and online specials.
“We are thrilled for the opportunity to continue the tradition of our annual customer event at Bailey, even if it’s in an online format,” says Alec Charais, Bailey Marketing & Communications Manager. “It’s actually really exciting because all of our customers nationwide will have access where they maybe didn’t have the opportunity to travel to Minnesota in previous years. It allows attendees even more chances to attend educational seminars with a three-day experience.”
The 2020 Bailey Expo begins on Monday, July 20 with educational seminars kicking off Tuesday, July 21. Orders placed by July 23 and shipped by August 7, 2020 will qualify for show pricing. For more information on ordering, pricing, and minimums, Bailey customers should contact their Bailey Sales Representative. For details on all educational seminars and to register, click here.
Ball Seed Customer Days
The annual Ball Seed Field Day and Landscape Day is being reinvented this summer to accommodate a wider range of open dates and to welcome guests safely with adequate social distance. Ball Seed Customer Days will run Tuesdays through Fridays, July 28-August 14, in two daily visitor time periods: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Through self-guided tours, guests will see the newest product introductions in-bloom in The Gardens at Ball in West Chicago. Discovery codes placed throughout the grounds give visitors access to a broader digital experience through video, product details, and other downloadable information on their web-enabled mobile devices.
For growers unable to visit on-site, Ball Seed has developed a virtual map and video showcase for new variety introductions in The Gardens this year, as well as several interactive 360-degree viewpoints of the grounds.
“Ball Seed is thrilled to share the West Chicago trial gardens with our North American customers. This year, we’re pleased to provide multiple touring options and opportunities,” says Jim Kennedy, Sales Director for Ball Seed. “The Garden landscape designs, containers, and comparison trials look fantastic this Summer, and we can’t wait to welcome our guests to this year’s showcase.”
Upon arrival to The Gardens, guests will be asked to wear face coverings at the sign-in tent and observe social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines. A boxed lunch and light literature will be provided. Due to COVID-19 and ongoing campus construction, no additional tours of the Ball facility will be available.
Michigan Garden Plant Tour: Walters Gardens
Walters Gardens will again participate in the Michigan Garden Plant Tour, but due to ongoing public health concerns, it will scale back services to keep the staff safe and gardens open.
According to a Walters Gardens statement, “We will not be able to offer in-person tours this year or access to our facilities, greenhouses, or fields. If you do choose to visit us, we ask that you please follow social distancing guidelines and respect our visitor guidelines (precise guidelines to be posted at the time of the tours).”
Walters Gardens’ Display Gardens will remain open and visitors are welcome to browse them at their leisure. Visitors for the 2020 Michigan Garden Plant Tour can expect to see:
- The entire Proven Winners Perennial collection
- Freshly renovated hosta and daylily beds
- A newly dedicated bed for Walters Gardens’ hibiscus program
- The Mad About Mangave line of succulents displayed on a patio and in a landscape bed.
Raker-Roberta’s Trial Gardens
The Raker-Roberta’s Trial Gardens are officially open to visitors. They have proper social distancing protocols in place, and they will not hold any large group events, serve lunch, or allow facility tours. The Raker-Roberta’s YouTube channel will feature short videos from various members of the team. New videos will be posted regularly throughout the summer, and the topics will cover a wide range of subjects:
- Weekly updates from the trial gardens
- Product and variety features
- Live updates from RRTG
- R2 services and order details.