In my second ‘make a change to your plant choices’ article I’ll be showing you some superb varieties that have the edge of other plants and vegetables in our range.
Runner Bean Moonlight – self-fertile beans
Grow Runner Bean Moonlight, not Lady Di
Bad weather and unpredictable summers can mean runner bean flowers often don’t set, giving disappointing (or absent) crops and perhaps discouraging you from growing your own beans again.
When it’s wet there are fewer insects, so the beans don’t get pollinated, and when it’s too hot the flowers can fall before setting.
The French bean blood in Moonlight means the blooms are self-fertile, so will set and produce beans whatever the weather! Why grow any other runner bean?
Dianthus ‘Endless Love’ – extremely hardy plants
Grow Dianthus ‘Endless Love’, not other dianthus varieties
Many of the newer pinks and carnations are very pretty, but not necessarily as hardy as their ancestors.
‘Endless Love’ is a new strain from Germany, which combines 100s of sweetly spiced blooms with bone hardiness, up and down the country.
Sunflower ‘Inca Gold’ – perfect for baskets
Grow Sunflower ‘Inca Gold’ in baskets, not petunias and begonias
Hanging baskets can become a chore during the height of the summer and will often need watering at least once a day.
Sunflower ‘Inca Gold’ is a brand new specimen, which is makes a resilient basket plant, needing less water than most. And the reward for this apparent neglect is an absolute flurry of sunny blooms from June to October!
Nasturtium ‘Orange Troika’ – vibrant blooms on marbled foliage
Nasturtium ‘Orange Troika’, not ‘Climbing Mixed’
Nasturtiums are a mainstay of gardens, but until now haven’t really been suitable for use in hanging baskets.
Nasturtiums usually tend to become giant and cabbage-like, trailing half-way down the garden the minute you turn your back! ‘Orange Troika’ is a new, more manageable type, which keeps itself in check, so works well in hanging baskets.
Make a positive change to your plant choices this spring – new from Michael Perry
Perhaps you’ve become used to growing the same plants each year, regardless of whether they perform well for you or not! You may even doubt your own gardening skills when those plants fail or succumb to pest or disease.
I’m about to change all that.
My new range of articles will show you some positive alternatives for you to try, such as tomatoes that won’t be shot down by blight or just some fresher choices for the patio.
Gerbera Landscape’ – flowers all summer long
Grow gerbera ‘Landscape’, not zonal geraniums
Pots of zonal geraniums can often be the lazy gardener’s choice. Yes, they’re resilient and long-lasting, but wouldn’t you like to try something new?
Recent breeding technology has revolutionised the popular cut flower gerbera. These exclusive new patio varieties are ideal for summer patio pots and will virtually look after themselves.
The plants are incredibly robust and will produce more than 50 blooms through the season. You can save them for the second year, just as you would zonal geraniums, so they’ll come back bigger and better.
Lily ‘China Girl’ – pollen-free lilies
Grow lily ‘China Girl’, not lily ‘Stargazer’
For all the beauty of ‘Stargazer’, its colour display can be notoriously short-lived.
Why not consider lily ‘China Girl’? This exclusive new variety will last twice as long as ‘Stargazer’, thanks to its extra layer of petals. You’ll probably also find the fragrance a bit more enjoyable too – it’s softer and less over-powering than usual oriental lilies.
What’s more, lily ‘China Girl’ is also pollen-free, meaning it won’t stain your clothes as the pollen-speckled blooms of ‘Stargazer’ will! ‘China Girl’ is seldom seen in florists or even garden centres.
Cosmos ‘Brightness Mixed’ – stunning in borders
Grow cosmos ‘Brightness Mixed’, not French marigolds
The days of regimented, odd-smelling marigolds could be over! There’s now an alternative which is just as brightly coloured and has even more flower power.
Cosmos ‘Brightness Mixed’ is a sulphureus type of cosmos, which has a lovely spreading habit. Plants will knit together and cover the ground better than any marigold, suppressing weeds and mulching the soil as they go, meaning less watering!
We’ve tested these cosmos in our trials for a few years now and they’ll flower right from late June until the first frosts.
Tomato Ferline – blight-resistant tomatoes
Grow tomato ‘Ferline’, not tomato ‘Moneymaker’
Tomato Moneymaker is a well-known variety, grown since the 1960s by home gardeners.
But, as UK summers become ever more unpredictable, this older variety just isn’t coming up to scratch. Plants often get destroyed by blight, an airborne fungal disease, which can ruin crops within days.
‘Ferline’ is a sensible alternative, as it is one of the most blight tolerant varieties in the marketplace. The answer to tomato fans’ prayers! Good-sized, tasty fruits, some say even better flavoured than ‘Moneymaker’ too.