Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Viewing top-quality plants, both growing and on sale, always gives me pleasure.

It is not just the vigour, uniformity and healthy appearance that raises my spirits, but the knowledge of what has been provided in horticultural skill, experience and attention to detail in their cultivation.

A tray of 96 Lavendula ‘Hidcote’ plug plants boxed up by Volmary (Delamore) is a good example — like peas in a pod, every small plant was very well rooted and neatly branched. Any client receiving that high quality should be delighted.

The same day, driving around some of Wharton’s 65-acre rose fields after very heavy rain the night before, you could sense the new growth lapping up much needed moisture. Modern introductions including richly fragrant Rose Charisma are now so free-flowering, with both disease and weather resistance. Every bush down the row at Harleston was three- and four-branch quality, even in early July and before the full effect of summer rain.

Next to RHS Garden Hyde Hall for the opening ceremony for the new Global Growth Vegetable Garden. Whoever is looking after the grass there deserves heartiest congratulations. The lawns are truly magnificent and make the most perfect green carpet running down to the new vegetable and fruit garden.

Quality does not stop with the verdant turf. Matthew Oliver is cultivating wonderful crops of vegetables in this new plot, with runner beans, sweet corn, brassicas and carrots, along with all manner of unusual edibles growing to a very high standard.

During my visit, the roadway to four student plots of cut flowers and vegetables on an adjacent area was not ready for opening. I hope they get it open very soon. These plots are a true model of their kind and on the strength of what I saw those students are going to have no difficulty finding jobs.

Indeed every horticultural college principal should be bussed down immediately to see what new entrants to our industry, given the right support and instruction, can achieve.

There is more good news. I hear negotiations are in hand for Thompson & Morgan trials to be relocated onto what was the old vegetable garden at Hyde Hall. What a valuable addition all that lovely summer colour would make, plus valuable experience for whoever tends them.

My years working on seed company trials have proved immensely valuable, as they have I believe to Thomson & Morgan director Paul Hansord, who is now driving a Bentley — and good luck to him. He has certainly earned it over the years.

Peter Seabrook is a gardening writer and broadcaster


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