Wednesday 30 June 2010

New plants - old plants - best plants

I've just been to the HTA's first ever National Plant Show. It's a trade show aimed at garden centres looking at which suppliers to use for their plants, who's doing what in the industry and showcasing new plants being launched to the trade. There was a real buzz at the show, lots going on and lots of new plants to tempt us to buy and plant in our gardens.

New Plant Awardsd were handed out for the best new introductions. The results are:

Best in Show
Begonia 'Glowing Embers'

Category winners
Best Annual Begonia 'Glowing Embers'
Best Shrub Coprosma ‘Tequila Sunrise’
Best Climber Clematis 'Guiding Promise'

Begonia 'Glowing Embers'
Coprosma ‘Tequila Sunrise’
Clematis 'Guiding Promise'
Nemesia Maritana ‘Bleuberry Ripple’
Nemesia 'Framboise'

Gazania ‘Apache’
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bombshell’
Hydrangea macrophylla Endless Summer 'Twist-n-Shout'
Leucanthemum 'Real Galaxy'
Nemesia Maritana ‘Vanilla Lady’
Rosa 'Joie de Vivre' - Rose of the Year 2010 

Coprosma repens 'Pacific Sunset'
Gazania Garvinea
Geum 'Totally Tangerine'
Nemesia 'Mirabell'
Nemesia ‘Sugar Frosted’
Salvia eigii ‘Christopher Fairweather’
Sambucus nigra ‘Black Tower’

I saw Begonia 'Glowing Embers' earlier this summer at Frosts Garden centres and fell in love with it at first sight - a great new introduction.

Some of the plants are excellent new introduction, most of which I liked. But a few are just a slight improvement on what's already existing in the plants market place or part of the never-ending strive for something 'new'.

This got me thinking. I know it's important to have new plants to excite and interest gardeners, but are there too many? Plants may be seen as 'old' to the gardening trade and people like me who have a handle on what's available, but to people new to gardening an old plant may still be 'new' to them, since they don't know the difference between old and new, having just been bitten by the gardening bug. Some plants have been around and grown in our gardens for hundreds of years and they're still as good now as they were then. So maybe, rather than always getting excited about new plants, we should get excited about good garden plants.