We’d like to introduce you to some members of our customer trial panel – our trusty team of gardeners who test Thompson & Morgan’s plants in real gardens. They’ll be writing blog posts for us in the next few months to give you updates on what’s happening in their gardens. First up is Caroline Broome, who has been growing plants for our trials for 4 years.
I have been gardening since my 30s, for about 20 years, from a very small cottage garden 27ft x 12ft to our current garden 75ft x 30ft. I passed the RHS General Certificate about 15 yrs ago as an enthusiastic amateur and having built on that knowledge developed my garden to the point of opening it annually for the NGS for the last 4 yrs. We have a large patio with an assortment of pots and tubs, a small lawn (getting smaller) with curved herbaceous borders, a circular pond and rill surrounding a border featuring tall perennials and grasses, all leading to a shaded enclave full of ferns and woodland plants, a greenhouse and a summer house at the back. As our garden is surrounded by mature trees over 50% is shady so last year we took on a sun soaked allotment to grow fruits, veg and flowers for cutting. Both our garden & allotment sit on typical London clay which we are constantly improving; while the garden is very sheltered from the elements, the allotment is on the brow of a hill, exposed to strong winds, and floods in one corner, so we always strive to rise to these challenges.
I am the plantsperson and my husband is the hard landscaper. We love to experiment and inject humour and innovation into our garden. David installed a Magic Tap in the pond which is always a major talking point on Open Days, and I love to create unusual planting combinations with perennials that I hunt out at specialist plant fairs and nurseries. The patio in summer is a mass of climbers & trailing plants, colourful hanging baskets and bold exotics and in winter is more subtle relying on evergreen forms and textures.
Trialling Thompson & Morgan products & plants has encouraged me to be more adventurous and broadened my skill base, and introduced me to vegetable growing, seed sowing and year round bulb planting. I look forward to sending in my progress reports throughout the season, and even after 4 years, am still apt to report on previous year’s trial plants! I also contribute to Garden News as part of their amateur gardening team on a monthly basis.