Plant breeders and nursery growers have several opportunities throughout the year to show off their new plant introductions to trade and public, starting in January at the IPM Essen trade show in Germany and ending around September at two main British trade shows at Four Oaks Nursery, Cheshire and GLEE (a garden and leisure industry show at the NEC in Birmingham). In between, these plants are grown in trial garden areas and at seed companies, so they can be seen outdoors, facing real weather conditions. You can also see some of them on display at larger Garden shows like RHS Chelsea. At the recent Four Oaks show, there were lots of new plants to see. Some are improvements on plants we already have, others are completely new varieties. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favourite and, if you bear in mind that the voters are growers and garden centre owners who will be trying to sell the plants and landscapers who will be trying to use them, this gives and indication of whether or not you will see it on sale.
Two of the top plants were Petunia ‘Glacier Sky’ (similar to ‘Night Sky’ but with a white rim on the petals) and lavender ‘Blue Spire’, both of which also topped the Blue Flag vote for visitors at grower Ball Colegrave’s open days this summer (trade and public). The attraction of the lavender is that as well as being a compact and attractive, floriferous variety, it is seed-raised, so there is no risk of contamination by the dreaded Xylella problem that is affecting movement of the plants within Europe. Very few lavenders are being imported now due to the risk.
Another great new introduction is the glorious Xerochrysum ‘Granvia Gold’, which you may recognise as a much bigger and better version of the Helichrysum that was so good to cut and dry for winter arrangements. This plant is taller, bushier and the flowers are bigger, but they are still just as papery and curiously hard to the touch. One tip about this plant, if you choose to grow it, is to keep it well watered as it's extremely thirsty!
At Four Oaks, there were also pretty new varieties of Nemesia in the Sunpeddle series, like ‘Yellow White’, and Sundiascia varieties like ‘Sakura Pink’ which you can look out for next year. These are ideal for containers over the summer months as they just flower and flower. They also smell good!
Growers Beekenkamp were showing a collection of Dahlias that they discovered amongst the rejects on a Dutch nursery. They had been discarded because the breeder only wanted compact, small-flowered types. These stunning dahlias are, as yet, unnamed, but this bright yellow flower set amid almost-black foliage is definitely worth keeping.
There were so many other new introductions that there may be follow up to this next week, but it all depends what we find at GLEE………
This story was published on: 07/09/2019
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