August 6, 2013
Our journey began at Raker’s Trial Gardens in Litchfield, Michigan. The trial gardens occupy more than 5 acres of grounds at the growers’ facility and include over 350 hanging baskets, 265 patio pots, 16 raised garden beds, and hundreds of annuals in side by side comparison beds. It literally took us 6 hours to venture through the trial grounds and facility tours!
Reagan, 3.5 years old, was the youngest and most popular visitor to the trial gardens. Her first comment when we arrived was “Momma, where we gonna start?”
The facility tour was impressive with the scale of the growing facility and amount of attention given to even the tiniest plant plug. Here, ladies in the background pick out plug cells where the seeds failed to germinate.
A multi tiered retaining wall area was set up for demonstrations of Patio Pots. I found myself taking tons of pictures of this Santa Cruz Begonia.
And this trailing Moss Rose…
Reagan thoroughly enjoyed this Chianti Petunia…
(She was supposed to put one blue flag in her favorite)
But she keeps finding more flags…
(Sorry Rakers- your polling data may be off for the day)
Strawberry Twist Gerber Daisy. This one was also on the short lists of many national trials as well.
As if you didn’t know, I have a Million Bells addiction…
And now a Santa Cruz Begonia addiction…
Did you know that purple and pink are the two most popular flower colors? Learned that on our trip.
Oh oh – more Million bells!
Phew – here are those trailing moss roses that I can’t stop thinking about! What an ideal plant choice this would be for some of our customers that aren’t home enough to water…
Oops – another Million Bells. Doesn’t the double in red look like mini Roses?
Lantana beds specifically for Linda…
Zinnia beds for I forget who was asking for them. (well at least I listened). Everyone knows I take plant requests, right?
Where is Reagan? Tiny blue spec in raised bed under arbor. At this point she decided Mom was no longer cool and that she was going to greet everyone else in the gardens and run crazy.
But her favorite was this Peppermint Verbena..
And this Zinnia.. Lost count of the blue flags by now…
My Moss Roses addiction is kicking in again…
Busted…pulling blooms off this bicolored Petunia again… No one saw that, phew! Hopefully we don’t get kicked out of here!
Now she’s trying to get a job here with the girls weeding and harvesting veggies. I think there are old men in the food tent wagering money on how long until Miss Reagan crashes from this crazy running thing she’s doing today. This place is so huge!
Geranium hanging baskets and a storm blowing in. The Raker girls gave her a cucumber for ‘helping.’
Scaveola hanging baskets – neat texture. I have always pondered these…
Some of the shade patio pots
This was just a sampling of the hundreds of pictures I took at the trial gardens. We will be hand selecting some of the new annuals to offer for 2014. Day 2 blog is shrubs and perennials.
Write a comment
Holly (Tuesday, 13 August 2013 23:41)
Love the blog, the pics and little Miss Reagan!
Alice (Wednesday, 14 August 2013 07:36)
Beautiful!!! What a great place to visit. I can't wait to see your pick of the plants next spring. Wish we could start right now! I am sure I would have had as much fun as Reagan did, but I don't know that I could have kept up with her all day long :)
Tracy (Thursday, 15 August 2013 22:16)
Great blog post, Jessie! Your commentary and tour of the gardens cracked me up. Must be from the adventures of Reagan there lol. Love all of the vibrant plants you found. The one not requiring much water has my name written all over it...
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