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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Recent Comments

Glorious British-bred “surfinias”

Posted by Graham Rice on 25 Jan 2009 at 11:18 AM

Petunia Appleblossom. Image:©Graham Rice/GardenPhotos.comA few days ago I was telling you about the excellent new additions to the British-bred Tumbelina double-flowered petunias. Today, from the same British breeders, David and Priscilla Kerley, the single-flowered Fanfare Series - think of them as British-bred versions of the Japanese Surfinias. They've been available in North America for a few years, but now they're appearing here for the first time.

The Fanfare Series features large single flowers, which are noticeably well flared to show off their colours and patterns, and comes in a grand total of thirteen colours although the most comprehensive collection available to home gardeners so far includes just ten. They trail impressively but they're still more compact and bushy than many of the Surfinias so you should still be able to walk under your baskets instead of round them!

Petunia Fanfare Cherryblossom. Image:©Graham Rice/GardenPhotos.comI especially liked the soft pastel pink Fanfare Appleblossom (top) and the brighter, more vibrant Fanfare Cherryblossom (left) contrasting pale eye. The colours are just gorgeous - and the plants are so prolific.

Don't make the mistake of thinking the different varieties of trailing petunias are all the same - they're not. And don't confuse this Fanfare Series with ‘Fanfare Double Mixed', which is occasionally seen, and which is a double-flowered seed-raised petunia with large but less weather-tolerant flowers.

You can order three different Fanfare petunia collections from Thompson & Morgan. Fanfare petunias are also available from Van Meuwen.



Dermot said:

These look lovely, but what about the strange blue one from Suttons it's in some sort of competition. And there a stripey one called Raspberry Blast as well - they any good?

on 25 Jan 2009 at 12:37 PM

JohnnyM said:

You don't mention scent - a terrific characteristic of many petunias.  How do these compare?

on 26 Jan 2009 at 09:43 AM

Graham Rice said:

Plants in the Fanfare Series don't have an especially good scent. However, the double-flowered Tumbelina Series ( is well-scented especially the varieties 'Priscilla', 'Melissa' and 'Katrina'. Look for Tumbelina Perfume Mixed from Mr Fothergill.

on 26 Jan 2009 at 12:29 PM

Graham Rice said:

Dermot, you've prompted me to do an extra petunia post on those two varieties. Look out for it in the next week or two.

on 26 Jan 2009 at 12:30 PM