When it comes to plants and plant breeding, I like to spend most of my time in the kitchen. I’m the same at parties, to be honest!
But, what I mean is, I like to spend time where they develop new forms of bedding and patio plants, but while I’m there I do like to get behind the scenes and see what they’re cooking up..
Whilst I was with Danziger in Israel, I got to do just that! I was on the same site that many of top new plants are dreamt up, and created! You may recognise Danziger’s most famous Petunia, the gorgeous ‘Queen of Hearts’ variety! Indeed that’s the whole reason I was invited to “Novemberfest“- as Shiry at Danziger spotted this post on my instagram!
Funny story though, this heart-shaped variety was never planned. It just took a keen eye within the marketing team to recognise the heart outline in each individual petal! Plant breeding is all about being observant, so that’s why I had licence to be as nosey as I liked! OH YES! Here are my 10 picks!
1. Shrubby Portulaca
When I walked up to this plant, my jaw dropped. I couldn’t fathom what it was at first, I was seeing almost every colour of the rainbow, and in particularly high resolution too!
Portulaca aren’t often grown in Northern Europe, as they need hot, sunny weather, however this one could be worth a shot. The worst that happens when it’s cloudy is that the flowers close..
With increased interest in XERISCAPING, this shrubby Portulaca could be an interesting subject for gardeners in increasingly changing climates. The succulent foliage holds onto every drip of water, meaning it’s super drought tolerant. Finally, a plant you don’t need to water, go tell that to your friends!
2. Hearts Series of Petunia
These days, Danziger look at Petunias with fresh eyes. What once were normal patterns are now envisioned as hearts, seashells and more! Such exciting plants actually open up the biggest market of all, which is amateurs.
The pure sight of the bloody awesome ‘Queen of Hearts’ Petunia in an Instagram post causes people to rush out and find it in the garden centre, or hunt it down online. That’s universal appeal right there!
3. Seashell Petunia
So that brings me onto the amazingness that is the ‘Seashell Petunia’. I’ve nicknamed it that, even though it’s officially called ‘Hippy Chick’. Total wow factor though, with a wavy pink stripe to every petal. A billowing basket beauty, I think this might just achieve the same cult status of ‘Queen of Hearts’ too.
4. Trailing Achillea
Another plant that stopped me in my tracks! This is a plant I remember from my childhood, but as an upright border specimen. How was I suddenly seeing it dripping from a hanging basket? This brand new selection is short enough to flop around in a raised container during it’s first year. Those little white buttons are irresistible too!
5. Pygmy Impatiens
Another shock moment for me in the greenhouse- there was a Busy Lizzie in miniature! This was absolutely kawaii (that’s cute in Japanese, by the way!), and made me reminisce about a variety called ‘Firefly’ which we released at Thompson & Morgan many years ago! I am wondering if this has a good mildew tolerance for our cooler Northern European conditions? Let’s hope so!
6. Supersized Lavender
We all love to supersize everything, but how about Lavender?? I was enthralled with this chunky headed specimen, with blooms almost the size of my hand. Lavender is an English favourite, and represents a big market thanks to it’s resilience and drought busting capabilities. Watch this space for the Big Daddy!
7. Alyssum vs Lobularia
Don’t let looks deceive you! This is not Alyssum as we know it, but a strong strain raised by cuttings. It’s a long way from the seed-raised Alyssum I used to grow as a child, which cost 99p per packet and germinated like cress. The difference with a cutting raised Alyssum (Lobularia is the grown up name…!) is that the flowers cannot produce seed. This means they are ‘sterile’. This effectively means they flower MUCH longer, as they aren’t wasting their lives producing seed. It also means they can ONLY be reproduced by cuttings, as the seed simply doesn’t exist!
8. Perfumed Nemesia
Patio plants you can smell before you see them, I’ll take that purleeease! New marbled flowered, perfumed Nemesia, tightly shaped and with excellent flower power!
9. Bushy Angelonia
Very excited that Angelonia made it into gardens and onto patios, who can resist any plant that throws up spires of flowers a la Delphiniums and Lupins? The medley of pastel colours is sumptuous and loved by the bees too!
10. Petunia Splashdance
It will be a total MARMITE plant, this one! In the same vein as super popular ‘Night Sky’, consumers are loving the glittering blooms of the spotty Petunias! Strong, sexy garden presence too!
I hope you love everything I recommended from the Danziger trials, but remember they’re mostly super new and not available to the public yet. But, I’ll let you know as soon as they are! If you’re involved in the trade and want to visit Novemberfest, a yearly event, find more information here!
Read up more about my trip to Israel here.