Hope you like Petunias: The Erie Basin Marina Trial Gardens

Part of Garden Bloggers Buffa10, Buffalo, NY, July 2010

Panorama of the the Buffa10 visit to the Trial Gardens at the Erie Basin Marina in Buffalo, NY
Panorama, Buffa10 at Erie Basin Marina Trial Gardens

I arrived in Buffalo on Wednesday, July 7. I wanted to take in some sights on Thursday before the Buffa10 schedule began. I found myself at the Erie Basin Marina Trial Gardens. Even though we would be visiting on Saturday, I was glad to have a prolonged visit on my own.

Shortly after I arrived at the Gardens Thursday, I met Stan Swisher, one of the nursery managers there. We spent a couple hours talking about the operation, visiting the different beds. Stan showed me countless specimens, and gave me the back-story on several of them. Here, Stan shares with me the details of a double-flowered Bacopa.

Stan Swisher holds Bacopa 'Double White'

This is Echinacea 'Pow-Wow Wild Berry' from PanAm Seed. It's short and compact, an asset for smaller gardens, but there are several cultivars available today with similar habit. What's remarkable about it is that it grew to this flowering size from seed this season.
Echinacea 'Pow-Wow Wild Berry', PanAm Seed

Another interesting breakthrough is X Calitunia, an intergeneric cross of of Calibrachoa and Petunia. Riding on the Buffa10 short bus with Joseph (Greensparrow Gardens), he explained that this was surprising because the two parent genera have different numbers of chromosomes.
x Calitunia 'Purple Pink'

The Trials

When we arrived on Saturday morning, we were given four red flags on long metal stems. These served as our votes, one for each grower represented in the Gardens. Not everyone got the memo about "one per grower," but we had fun walking around tagging our favorites.
Voting Flag

Stan told me that "the public likes pretty flowers." The garden writers and bloggers of Buffa10 seemed to be no exception. Dahlia 'Mystic Illusion' was the top favorite of the Buffa10 crew. I think I may have voted for this, myself. She's a stunner.
Dahlia 'Mystic Illusion'

Nevertheless, at least three of us tossed Juncus 'Blue Arrow' a vote. He's a handsome fellow in his own right. The three of us being rather contrarian bloggers and gardeners may also have influenced our choice in this regard.
Juncus 'Blue Arrow'

The Winners

Here are the Buffa10 choices, based on votes.
  • Ball Seed

    • Delphinium 'Diamond Blue'
    • Petunia 'Phantom'
  • Danziger

    • Angelonia 'Big Blue'
    • Petunia 'Sun Ray'
    • Portulaca 'Pazazz Tangerine'
  • Darwin Perennials

    • Achillea 'Little Susie'
    • Achillea 'Red Velvet'
    • Leucanthemum 'Sante'
  • Proven Winners

    • Calibrachoa 'Coralberry'
    • Dahlia 'Mystic Illusion'
    • Ipomoea 'Bronze'
    • Solenostemon (Coleus) 'Spitfire'
  • Syngenta

    • Bracteantha 'Yellow Strawburst'
    • Pelargonium (Geranium) 'American Magenta Splash'
    • Penstemon 'Phoenix Red'



During my visit on Thursday, Stan bought me lunch - a hot dog and a ginger ale - and gave me a lift back to the hotel. This had no influence on the content of this post.


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Flickr set
Garden Bloggers Buffa10, Buffalo, NY, July 2010


Erie Basin Marina, Buffalo, NY
Garden Bloggers Buffa10


Kylee Baumle said...

Somehow, I didn't hear the instructions about the flags, so I didn't vote. Since I would have voted for different things than the majority, it may have changed the outcome! I liked the red dahlia with the dark foliage (didn't catch the cultivar name), Penstemon 'Tubular Bells', Petunia 'Phantom', and Portulaca 'Pazazz Tangerine.' And I don't usually like Portulacas, but that one was WOW.
Love the panoramic view! You do those SO well!

Jim/ArtofGardening said...

I had no idea you had the chance to spend that much time with Stan. He's brilliant when it comes to the marketing and designing of marketing plants. I've hung out with him on occasion and have learned much about how plants get to market, and who's doing what. He's also given me some turtle rocks -- got a 100-pounder in my rock garden!

Pam/Digging said...

I didn't hear the part about voting for one plant per grower. For all I know, all my flags went to one grower. But I know that I did vote for that Juncus 'Blue Arrow.' It was gorgeous!

commonweeder said...

Sometimes I forget I'm supposed to be a reporter, not just an enthralled gardener. Thanks for this post. I didn't hear the part about spreading my flags out to each grower either.

meemsnyc said...

Buffa10 looked like a lot of fun. Sorry I missed out!