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Michael Perry's Gardening Blog

Surprising plants, May 2012


New, different and unusual plants is my favourite plant subject!

Ever since I was young I’ve always been fascinated by plants with a difference - the tallest, the smallest, the biggest flowered..! It’s almost like a dream come true that finding those plants is now my full-time job!

The plant world is so vast and varied that I don’t we’ll ever run out of new plants, and that’s with all-natural methods, no GM and such like. Plants that were pipe dreams years ago are now becoming more of a reality; black tulips are getting darker every year, the blue rose is moving away from lilac and more to royal blue and zonal geraniums are getting better, deeper yellows too.

Verbascum 'Blue Lagoon'

Here at Thompson & Morgan we experienced our own blue breakthrough just last year with Verbascum ‘Blue Lagoon’. Oddly enough our breeder was trying to get a good red colour, but a delightful blue popped up! It’s the best blue I’ve seen of any flower in the plant kingdom.

Pea Shiraz

We love playing with colour, have you seen our purple carrots for example? Especially Purple Haze, this vegetable is richer in antioxidants and Vitamin A when eaten raw. And with our purple Pea ‘Shiraz’, it’s a similar story, steam them lightly for the best flavour and maximum health benefits. And they look utterly fab in the garden too. I’ll be dropping seed in all around my flower borders!

Different shapes keep things interesting too; the sparkling Foxglove ‘Primrose Carousel’ was found in one of our customer’s gardens and has the unique effect of flowers all around the stem. Most usual foxgloves only have blooms on one side, much like a gladioli. And different habits can be of interest too. Have you heard of the ground cover Sweet Pea ‘Snoopea’? The plants don’t climb, but create sprawling bushes, which quickly cover bare patches of ground with fragrance and almost every colour of the rainbow!

And, lastly if you want to use your garden as playground, then why not try some Physostegia - the Obedient Plant - where you can actually move the blooms to where you want on the stem. It’s true! Try it for yourself!

Bye for now,

Michael Perry, New Product Development Manager, Thompson & Morgan