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Feb 7, 2024

Celebrating 15 Years of Darwin Perennials

Karl Batschke
General Manager for Darwin Perennials


The year 2009 was eventful for plenty of reasons. Here are just a few highlights from 15 years ago … remember any of these?

• Miracle on the Hudson
• Barack Obama inauguration
• Death of Michael Jackson
• Windows 7 released
• Great Recession officially ends
• Uber launches its service
• Pittsburgh Steelers win the Superbowl
• Darwin Perennials founded

Of course, there were many more significant events in 2009, but of all of these, the official start of Darwin Perennials is the one I’m most familiar with. The objective was to organize all of the perennial-related activities within the Ball Horticultural Company North American and European operations under one perennial-focused division.

Ball had previously acquired the bareroot export company, Darwin Plants. It was known to be an innovative company filled with plant finders, and it seemed fitting to dub this new division Darwin Perennials in recognition of this history of innovation around the Darwin name.

Perennial plant breeding was already present in the Ball DNA prior to 2009, and the product development team of the new Darwin Perennials began harnessing, directing, and mining the outstanding plants from these fine breeders. Some of the initial selections continue to delight growers and consumers to this day: Sombrero® Echinacea, Carnival Heuchera, Lyrical Salvia, New Vintage Achillea … the list goes on and on.

I was fortunate to be part of the inaugural Darwin Perennials team and proud of the legacy of wonderful varieties and contributions our team has brought to the perennial world. In the coming months, I will share some fun and interesting stories around how a few of our varieties came to be. Stay tuned as we celebrate 15 years of Darwin Perennials!

Tags: company news
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