I was super lucky to have a sneak behind the scenes at Thompson and Morgan this week. For many years, they’ve been enjoying a bounty of new varieties created by their own in-house breeding team. With a focus on easy to grow annuals, here’s my pick of a few that are coming on. They won’t be available until next spring though, so you’ll need to be patient!
1. Calendula Crown Prince
The much loved English Marigold, with a twist! These blooms are bright and vibrant, and particularly distinctive with the unusual cresting. They are a doddle to grow, and can be sown almost anywhere, giving you blooms within just 10 weeks.
2. New style Cosmos
I was very lucky to be able to look at the full set of selections for Cosmos, and managed to pick up a few different shapes! Rather than having five petals, these unique Cosmos have just one, which creates a very unusual cup! An excellent border plant, great for cutting, and long-lasting!
3. Antirrhinum Cherry Cola
I have loved snapdragons ever since I was a kid, however these are open-bloomed, almost orchid-like, varieties. The lovely shade of pink is offset by the deep ruby red foliage too. Easy to go, great for beginners, and often bouncing back in year two.
4. Pink Blush Zantedeschia
The Calla Lily always looks so majestic, but here’s one with a bit of a twist, thanks to a unique pink blush through the centre. A buxom border plant for a moist soil, or wide patio pot.
5. French Marigold Daisy Wheel
This fantastic French Marigold is very unique; each of the petals are smaller than usual, giving a really cool daisywheel effect. A familiar plant, simple to grow, and performs in any conditions.
6. Apricot Cosmos
Cosmos are incredibly popular right now, and with good reason. They are frothy, border filling plants, with blooms in so many interesting shades and shapes. This selection has taken a lot of years to create, and has a very special apricot glow – check out the darker backs to each petal too! Beaut!
7. Frilly Double Hollyhocks
Achingly flamboyant, this is the double-flowered form of the common Hollyhock. The presence of hundreds of petals gives a pom-pom effect, and the apricot warmth is divine! This is an excellent perennial plant, with that typical cottage garden vibe.
Find out more about Thompson and Morgan‘s current varieties, by visiting their website.
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.