New for the garden this Spring

Where I pore over catalogues and dream of gardens to come.

I have been searching the seed and growers’ catalogues to find out what’s new and hot this year. There is a lovely petunia called . . . well, it doesn’t matter what it’s called, because the growers will all have their own names for what is essentially the same plant. But watch for this pretty flower with a yellow base merging to a flush of pink and with pink margins on its petals.

What to do with tangerine.

It may not be the star of the show, though. Growers will be offering very intense colours this year, with blacks and dark, dark blues which they are showing contrasted with orange and tangerine. Tangerine has been named colour of the year by the Pantone people.

Now orange or tangerine is one of those colours you either love or despise. In spite of market manipulation, gardeners tend to have their own ideas and many of us are unhappy when we can’t find our favourite varieties because the Colour Council, or some other self-appointed arbiter of our taste, has decreed otherwise.

In spite of this, there is a lot to choose from. The breeders have been doubling everything in sight and, even though cosmos is probably the most perfect single flower in the world, it has now been doubled and re-doubled and I have to admit that the result is pretty alluring.

What else has been doubled? Osteospermum, for heavens sake!  The result is a plant with a fluffy centre replacing the stunning blue centres that were their main claim to fame in the past. Helenium, gaillardia and poppies are on the doubles list. I am sure there is more.

At the Essen Plant show in Germany, I am told they were featuring fluorescently coloured cacti in eye-blinding pinks, yellows and aquas. Succulents of all kinds are very much in vogue. The idea of living walls, both indoors and out, has captured imaginations and they are everywhere, sometimes utilizing a single variety such as ivy or mixing it up with a variety of tropicals or herbs.

But here at home, my garden has its own mind about fashion and somehow it never quite comes off the way it does on the garden fashion pages – but I am content just the same.

(Photos: Osteospermum; Hellenium; Cosmos; Poppy – Peony)