|The happy visiting crew + Kris Collins (front right) from Thompson & Morgan. |
Picture courtesy of Michael Perry
The site is divided into several key areas which we were taken through in turn. We'll move swiftly past the car park/admin area - leaving the remains of our coffee and cookies to one side - into the pots and hanging basket trials. Make sure you have your sunglasses to hand!
Michael Perry, our main host for the day took us through many of the plants T&M are trialling this year ready for introduction In 2015. Expect plenty of new developments in petunias, begonias, pelargoniums and New Guinea impatiens. There were also lots of climbers suitable for growing in pots, including improvements to the 'Lady Boothby' fuchsia I have already. Michael is pointing to Lady Boothby; compare it to the new introduction 'Pink Fizz' to its left.
Michael wasn't afraid to show us plants that failed their trials and thus won't be introduced next year. My inner imp was tempted to choose one of these when we were invited to place a flag in the pot of the plant we liked the most. However, my sensible head took over and I chose a dainty Euphorbia similar to the pictured one which caught my eye at the Portland Fling. Quite a few of the others went for a fab white flowered Hydrangea, which came a close second for me.
|Picture courtesy of Michael Perry|
I was particularly struck by a mauve coloured carrot flower - I've let some of my carrots bloom and I love how they're a magnet for lots of different insects on my plot. To me, it makes sense to make them an ornamental feature in the garden.
Dahlias never went out of fashion in my book, so I also liked the look of the improved strains of bedding dahlias grown from seed. One of them looked very much like the unnamed variety of dahlia I have in one of my garden pots this year and I was pleased to see its stems are taller than the ones I have currently - sadly they're tending to get lost amongst the leaves.
Poor Kris had the job at this point of showing the potted trials of vegetables well past their best - definitely a case of 'you should have been here last week'. However, all was not lost as there were plenty of healthy looking vegetables to ogle at later.
Here's a view of the trials field looking back at the bed and potted trials areas. You can also see the greenhouses we explored to look at some of the potential developments for 2016. The fields were very muddy, so we were glad we'd been told to bring our wellies! That and a very blustery wind coming off the surrounding flat fields via the north sea showed these plants aren't mollycoddled.
Here's a shot of part of the vegetable trials field area, to prove you can take the girl away from her 52 Week Salad Challenge for the day, but you can't take the 52 Week Salad Challenge out of the girl. There were plenty of lettuces and other salad leaves on trial, including those supplied by other companies to see how they perform, as well as current T&M stalwarts alongside potential new introductions.
Back at base we had tomatoes to taste test and huge blowsy begonias to sniff test, all rounded off by a welcome round of coffee and cake plus a huge goody bag to take away. It all made for a fascinating day, so thank you Michael, Kris and everyone else at T&M who worked hard to make us welcome.
* = requiring detailed instructions on how to find it ;)
Other write-ups from the day:
Jane at Hoe Hoe Grow - I love her Roald Dahl analogy!
Claire at Plantpassion gives her flower farmer's take on the day, including that carrot flower
Alison at The Blackberry Garden who also thought we'd been given a golden ticket :)
I'll add more as and when I find them.