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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am new to gardening and I have planted lily China girl in my garden and they are growing nicely. In winter, shall I dig the bulb out of the garden and store them in a pot indoors or will they survive the winter in Eastbourne?
I read that our birds are suffering because we are going for the exotic rather than native plants which have the insects and grubs necessary for their young. What plants do you have that fulfil this need?
there’s still a balance between both through our product range.. see our new wildflower collection, for example 🙂
Sounds like some great ideas here-I will give them a go!
V. interesting, will definitely try the gerberas. thanks
Gerbera and cosmos look fab! Will be trying new varieties of tomatoes this year, but will be keeping the faithful marigolds as companion plants, perusing the catalogues during these cold bleak days