Bedding plants - trip to the proving grounds
Publish Date: 01/08/2014 15:42[please note - you can click on all images for larger size] We had a brilliant day out to the 'proving grounds' this week - where the existing, new and even experimental spring, summer and autumn bedding plant varieties are tested; and growers, garden centres and other groups come to make buying choices for the next year. Even the entrance was awash with colour - the large beds of Zinnia and Phlox looked brilliant. Zinnia Phlox Everything is planted in beds stretching far and wide, with a change in variety in every row. They are watered just once, and then left to grow in whatever conditions the UK chooses to throw at them that season. It gives a very good indication of how they will cope with our climate - important as many of the experimental varieties are developed abroad in places such as Spain and the US west coast where conditions are ideal and just a little better than ours. The verbenas were amazing - masses of colours to choose from, including some eye-catching hybrids. These two were favourites: Verbena (experimental) Verbena Quartz Redeye There were also rows of Salvias and an amazing mix of Zinnia as you can see below. Salvia beds at the proving grounds Mixed Zinnia We found plenty of new varieties which will be available at Longacres next year (both instore and online, in our bedding plant section), along with some new hanging basket examples. At the proving grounds they also included an interesting 'invisible' water feature in one of their show sections, and areas displaying the all of the plants in a variety of ways - beds, pots, hanging baskets, vertical walls and more. The 'magic tap' water feature Close-up photography Petunia Hybrid We had a great time - many thanks to Royden, Mel and Wendy at Perfect Choice. This was my first trip up there, but I'm hoping I can make it every year from now on.