A show today with the great and the good of British nurseries, in the wet shadow of the Malvern Hills, to talk about new plants – thousands of plants, both familiar and freshly fêted in one huge hall. Introductions coming to a garden centre near you for 2014. All very exciting, truly. I have brochures and lists a-plenty to go through – and online catalogues to search out too, to settle on the best of the new young bucks.
There was an evergreen sweet box, Sarcoccoca named Ghorepani, compact but more importantly flowering as late as March (in the UK) and therefore with a fragrance likely to be enjoyed by those of us gardening in better weather (hopefully) – other varieties are in flower so much earlier, in January and February. Longer, shiny lanceolate leaves too.
A Weigela middendorffiana Mango, with creamy green tinted flowers and a reliable orange throat!
A smaller Exochorda, Niagara – with a unique compact habit; masses of white flowers in the spring; long lasting flower display; a height of 1.2m
Physocarpus Amber Jubilee – a new cross between Diabolo and Darts Gold – named in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Kaleidoscopic blend of colours; new growth a blend of orange and yellow; matures to lime green; purple hue in autumn; height and spread 2m x 1.5m
Primrose Belarina Valentine – the most beautiful deepest dark red, fully double flowers and neat fresh rosettes of mid-green foliage. Not new to the market, but new to me and outstanding plants.
Hints in particular of the new roses set for unveiling at Chelsea later this year, from a famous Albrighton atélier. A gorgeous pink, their finest yet, possibly, with a grand-daughterly name – and a perfumed yellow – this one (or another) may have a conjugal connection to the poet John Clare. You heard it here first!! A third I am racking my brains to remember – it was a long drive there and with the promise of floods, circuitous diversions, Red Alerts, 100mph winds and rising waters, I was more anxious about getting home than retaining these vital details….. (Ha! I remember, a person of the female persuasion with a fondness for chivalry, general spookiness, medieval fighting sticks and large bodies of water. Straightforward enough, I think).
New plants can of course be marvellous – but big has a place too – I saw some beautiful large specimens of Prunus kojo-no-mai, and a multi-stemmed Prunus subhirtella Autumnalis that was new to me in habit, if not in beauty. Beefy, glossy camellias were memorable. Pittosporum Golf Ball, the size of a space-hopper met with approval too.
I shall have to find a quiet corner and go through all the catalogues and brochures, and make a few phone calls, to make sure that nothing of merit escapes me for the coming season…