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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

The Garlic Farm: New at Hampton Court ‘09

Posted by Graham Rice on 10 Jul 2009 at 10:25 AM

The variety of new plants that are to be found at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is amazing. On the way to see the Venus Fly Traps I spotted the three new double echinaceas outside the Tudor Rose Festival marquee and then heading back to the Press Tent for coffee I was able to chat to Colin Boswell of The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight about his two new varieties of garlic!

Garlic 'Picardy Wight'. Image: GardenPhotos.comColin searches the world, wherever garlic is grown, to find local types which have been grown for generations. He then grows them on his farm to assess their suitability for British conditions and only introduces those which prove good for British gardeners. His two new introductions this year, on display in the Growing Tastes Marquee, are both from relatively close to home.

Garlic ‘Picardy Wight' (above) is a softneck garlic that Colin found in the Pas de Calais in northern France. "It makes a fairly small bulb," Colin told me, "but its special features are that it can be planted in late March to harvest at the end of July or early August and that it's the longest keeper - it keeps till April. In France it's often used for smoking."

With a very strong flavour, ‘Picardy Wight' will grow anywhere in Britain even in areas where garlic normally struggles.

Garlic 'Provence Wight'. Image: GardenPhotos.com‘Provence Wight' is a classic softneck garlic from the Drôme valley in northern Provence which can produce bulbs as large as Elephant Garlic. Many Mediterranean garlic types are not successful in Britain, but ‘Provence Wight' is the exception. Plant in September, harvest at the end of June the bulbs will keep till January.

You can buy garlic bulbs online from The Garlic Farm website.

 

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