It’s not everyday you get the opportunity to go and have a look behind the scenes at one of the UK’s largest plant retailers, so when I received an invitation from Michael to go and have a behind the scenes tour of the trials grounds of Thompson & Morgan, I jumped at the chance.
Upon arrival we were greeted by what I can only describe as the horticultural equivalent of Blackpool illuminations! One of the most amazing displays of colour I have seen in a ‘garden’ in a long time.
After having taken part in some crazy events with Michael over the last year, it was great to see him in his element – this dude is so passionate about what he does. He even created a new word to help describe the flower power of the new plant selections “flourifishness”.
We were told about these great half hardy hybrid Digitalis.
If my memory recalls correctly, crossed with Isoplexis. To produce a plant that does not set seed, giving a longer flowering period.
(I’m sure I will be corrected if I got that wrong? 😀)
Some very eye catching colours!
Strangely I found myself drawn to this Alstroemeria as my favourite plant of the day! It reminds me of Rosa ‘rhapsody in blue’
In complete contrast to the vivid purple. There was this little ‘beaut’ a yellow Pelargonium ‘Custard Cream’
The prize for the most eye catching plant of the day has to go this Gazania ‘Giant Red Bronze’
Just awesome colours – check out the Neon blue streaks on the petals!
The most tactile plant of the day, which In my mind should be called ‘Touch Me’ was this little bad boy!!
Ricinus ‘Carmenicita’ the seed pods have very cool rubber like spikes on them, almost impossible to walk past without touching them, not to mention the lucid pink colour!
Like a bunch of sea urchins hanging out on a stick 😀
I am going to try a few of these in our Orangery
We were also treated to a tour of the vegetable trials. Being a chilli head, the standout plant for me was a little chilli called ‘Loco’
The fruits turn from a very vivid purple, through to bright red as the fruits mature.
It packs a bit of a kick. I can vouch for this as I ate two of them 😀
We then ventured into the trials fields.
Row upon row of flowers and vegetables, standing their ground against the elements.
It’s fair to say that plants are not given an easy time in these exposed fields.
I can only imagine the pride a breeder must feel, seeing their plants out in the trials field for the first time.
The culmination of what in some cases can be more than 10 years work to get to that point.
You have to admire the passion and dedication of these guys’ quest for plant perfection.
I have to say. I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon & came away buzzing with ideas and a very cool goody bag!
Cheers for reading.