On Monday I was delighted to be invited as one of a select few to a Bloggers day at the Thompson and Morgan Trials field near Ipswich.
The traffic on the way there wasn't delightful, so I was shamefully late getting there, but luckily the T&M team led by Michael Perry (new product manager) were welcoming, and informative, and I quickly caught up on the information that i'd missed.
The trials ground is a field and garden setting where they plant and test a lot of their huge range to see how it will cope in a normal garden. - They had a large colourful and scented area of pots and hanging baskets. Some garden borders, cut into a lawn, and then a raised bed area for their trials of vegetables.
There was also an area of field which had been planted up with rows of bedding, cut flower plants and vegetables.
Although they were bright and cheerful, and undoubtedly in good shape, the bedding plants didn't do it for me, - so here's some of the plants that caught my eye, for cutting flowers, and that i'll be trying at Hill top farm in coming years.
The picture above shows a combination of yellow Bulplurum and Daucus Dara, (which i've been growing this year, and has all sold, ) and A tall mix of Ageratum - Timeless mixed. I'd found out about Ageratum - floss flower, via the Floret blog, and Louise Curley's book the cut flower patch, and had bought seeds, but missed the planting window, so watch out for that next year.
There were plenty of bright colours in evidence, the foliage of Iresine Brilliant (top right) is a wonderful pink, and it looked plenty strong enough to be used as bouquet fillers - an experiment is in the offing next season I think. The Rudbeckia Hirta (top left) is unfortunately only offered as a mixed seed pack, but I thought this pinky coral colour worthy of a try, and if it's anything like the other annual (perennial in a mild year) rudbeckias, then you can grow more from the seeds if it's a success.
The Alstroemeria is Indian Summer. - I've got several pale Alstroes, so thought this would be a lovely bright spark of colour besides my purples, pales and peaches. The Sunflower is Magic roundabout, and as 2015 is the year of the sunflower, It may be one to grow lots of.
There were lighter shades in evidence, Italian White was the best light coloured sunflower, - there were rows of trials where they were trying to grow multiheaded varieties as hedges, with upturned faces.
The 3 in the photo above were - Leucanthemum real charmer, which is a creamy buttermilk colour on strong stems. Antirrhinum Red white bicolour - growing strongly on the field to 60cm with no support, plus Nigella Delft Blue, A lovely Hispanica Nigella, with large seed heads, but a white flower with blue markings on it. Even though this had been direct sown in the trial bed and hadn't been thinned, the flowers had decent length stems.
These are all on my must have list for next year, - which ones caught your eye?