Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Late Summer Colour in The Thompson & Morgan Garden

My beans are a disaster! Mountaineering slugs have been enjoying a beanfeast in the kitchen garden and I am left with two scrawny specimens climbing inconveniently up separate wigwams. Developments in plants can make a huge difference to our plots, and while I would love to find a slug-resistant bean (along with pigeon-proof brassicas and a self-watering pumpkin), I am always fascinated to meet any new cultivars and to see if their improvements match my gardening needs. Consequently, I was delighted to accept an invitation to see the 300-400 containers of plants being trialled in The Thompson & Morgan Garden at Jimmy’s Farm.
Fuchsia 'Princess Charlotte'
Sometimes we have no desire to grow a certain kind of plant. Perhaps it hasn't performed for us in the past, or it may never have had the opportunity to perform because it doesn't fulfil our requirements.
I have always regarded Gerbera as too tender for my plot and too fussy for the time I have available to pander to its needs, so to learn that Gerbera ‘Sweet Glow’ is hardy down to -10, flowers from early summer through to October and doesn’t mind being watered from above, means that it has made the rare leap from nowhere to the top of my wish list. There are also pink and yellow flowers available in the Sweet Series, but I particularly love the strength of ‘Sweet Glow’, which holds its colour well in bright sunlight.
Gerbera 'Sweet Glow'
I haven’t grown Amaranthus for years. We didn’t have a great falling out; it just dropped beneath the radar. Now it is firmly back on the must-have list thanks to the glorious great burgundy foliage of Amaranthus 'Molten Fire'. The leaves of this striking plant change to bronze as summer progresses and I can imagine it looking at home in mixed borders and exotic planting schemes.
Amaranthus 'Molten Fire'
It is decades since I planted any showy Salvia splendens, but Salvia 'Go Go Scarlet’ may be about to change that. It is certainly popular with bees, and unlike Salvia splendens, it doesn’t go to seed. 
Salvia 'Go Go Scarlet'
I loved Fuchsia as a child, and while I grow a couple of plants for berries in the kitchen garden, I have never embraced them ornamentally. Fuchsia 'Princess Charlotte’, with its compact form and upward facing flowers, is set to change this.
Fuchsia 'Princess Charlotte'
There were more surprises for me among Thompson & Morgan's new plants for 2017. I will write more about them in the autumn, by which time I might have recovered from the shock of finding myself drooling over a plant that I have never considered growing. Isn't it wonderful to be won over by plants?

Thank you to Thompson & Morgan for a very enjoyable, informative and eye-opening afternoon and for introducing me to the delights of the weeping peach, 'Lacrima'. Its succulent fruits have the good grace to hold themselves together so that the eater does not end up wearing bits of peach and juice dribbles down the chin in public.

If you are in Suffolk, do pop over and see Thompson and Morgan's show/trial garden. The plants are all clearly labelled and admission to the T&M garden is free.