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. http://www.thompson-morgan.com/tmgarden

17 comments:

  1. What fun to have a trial garden like that close by! I share your apprehensions about Gerbera, although here it's not cold that's their enemy but heat - they melt in our intense summer heat and even extra water, if we had it to give, isn't sufficient to revive them.

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  2. Hi Sarah, that is cool that you got to visit the The Thompson & Morgan Trial Garden! They seem to grow some quite interesting plants. Even though I can't warm up to the bright red Gerbera, the color is simply too hot for me, I am quite smitten with the Amaranthus. I wonder what the color of the flower tassels looks like. I also love the fuchia 'Princess Charlotte'.
    Looking forward to your next installment about the new plants that are being tested in this garden.
    Wishing you wonderful late summer days!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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  3. I will be looking for Princess Charlotte - thank you for the tip!

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  4. These all look like great plants. I love the big gerbera daisies. :)

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  5. I bet a trial garden is a fab place to visit, lucky you. I've become a recent convert to salvias despite never wanting to grow them before penstemons also. x

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  6. Beautiful flowers! The fuchsia is really awesome!

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  7. I have never had success with beans, and gave up long ago. I like Gerberas, but they don't seem to last long for me.

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  8. My beans were also eaten by slugs. I had to replant two times. It is the first year they are though. Conditions must have been just right for the slugs. The trial gardens must have given you lots of good idea.

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  9. A look at new plant introductions is often just what a gardener needs to get inspired. It seems showier plants are sure to show up in your garden plans next year.

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  10. 'Molten Fire' will be on my seed order now, along with Amaranth 'Dreadlocks'.

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  11. I have been curious about these Hardy Gerbera for some time now.When I saw them when we were in Aberdeen I knew for sure that they would not survive so far North. I think they would stand a good chance here in Cheshire, ah well as you know, its not worth bothering about it now.

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  12. Hello Sarah, I don't keep up with plant developments. Most of the new introductions I see have serious flaws (no pollen, no seed, sterile, unstable etc.) so am put off, but there are some developments such as improving hardiness that I am all for. Thanks to developments in hardy gerberas and gardenias these longed-for plants may be making an appearance in the garden whereas even a few years ago, there would have been no chance.

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  13. What a treat for you, I liked all the plants you selected, I look forward to seeing how they get on. xxx

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  14. I grew Gerbera for the first time this year and quite like it, Sarah. I loved Thompson & Morgan when I lived in England and when I first came here, but they no longer supply the USA. Very disappointing. P. x

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  15. Love Amaranthus 'Molten Fire'! It is always great to hear of new plants with outstanding qualities. Otherwise, my garden would become stuck in a rut. I am surprised how my previous prejudices against certain plants are softening as I age and as new varieties become available.

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