Caroline Broome has been busy growing dahlias, petunias, fuchsias and many other plants as part of our customer trial panel. Read on for her latest update.

In an email to Thompson & Morgan’s customer trials co-ordinator, she wrote “I know I keep on about the dahlias from 2012 but they have been even better this year, and commented on by visitors to our NGS Open Day last Sunday. The only ones that need staking are the lemon yellow and the ‘Trebbiano’.

Spring-summer customer trials update - Caroline Broome

Dahlias with planting pouches in the background

The fuchsia ‘Twist and Shout’ is adorable and having just come into flower has plenty of buds on it.

Spring-summer customer trials update - Caroline Broome

Fuchsia ‘Twist and Shout’

Petunia ‘Balcon Mixed’ have shown remarkable resilience in the baking heat and heavy showers, albeit they are protected by the part shade of the pergola. As with all petunias they are sticky but using the T&M snips to deadhead avoids contact. Lovely fragrance at dusk as well.

Spring-summer customer trials update - Caroline Broome

Balcon petunias

Foxglove ‘Illumination’ have been planted out into the borders, and although still quite small are holding up well to the extreme temperatures. I tried half with tomato collars and half without, and the results speak for themselves: not a single hole in the protected ones and nibbles on all the others. All six are now collared and I have bought another 6 collars so that I can try echinacea and lobelias next year with confidence. I had given up trying to grow them as they were eaten away over successive years by slugs and snails.

Apple Bramley Seedling is romping away in its pot on the patio. It is now sending out side branches. Great to be able to grow apples if you only have a balcony or patio garden.

Clematis Flammula, the nasturtium comparison seed trial, blueberry Pink Lemonade and anemone ‘Queen Charlotte’ are putting on a spurt and photos should be forthcoming soon. Even the two rainbow orchid ‘Epipactis Sabine’ bare roots are growing now!

Peppers, grasses and tomatoes still sulking but fingers crossed they will catch up.”

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