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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

  • Photinia Pink Marble: New from Gardening Express

    Graham Rice on 30 Oct 2009 at 03:09 PM

    Photinia x fraseri Pink Marble ('Cassini') - new from Gardening Express. Image: ©Gardening ExpressIn recent years we've all got used to those photinias with their bright red young growth. They're evergreen, vigorous, easy to grow, and colourful, and when their clusters of hawthorn-like flowers appear, followed by red berries, it's an added treat. Now we have a new variegated form.

    Discovered in Oregon as long ago as 1991, Photinia x fraseri Pink Marble (‘Cassini') is a relatively upright, evergreen shrub whose foliage opens reddish green with irregular deep pink margins then as the foliage matures it becomes a rich green with white edges and with splashes of white on the green part of the leaf. With leaves in all colour stages on the plant at the same time the effect is dramatic.

    Photinia x fraseri Pink Marble ('Cassini') - new from Gardening Express. Image: ©ProvarPink Marble is less vigorous than other photinias, which is not bad thing, and so will not only make a more accommodating garden plant but is suitable for large containers. It can also be grown as a low hedge and each trim will be followed by a new flush of pink-edged red leaves.

    Pink Marble was found as a sport on a plant of P. x fraseri at a wholesale nursery in Salem, Oregon. I would guess the parent would probably have been ‘Red Robin' but this is not confirmed.

    You can order Photinia x fraseri Pink Marble (‘Cassini') from Gardening Express.

     
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  • Dahlia ‘Karma Choc’: New this year from five nurseries

    Graham Rice on 27 Oct 2009 at 12:37 PM

    Dahlia 'Karma Choc' - new this year. Image: ©Verwer DahliasDahlias are enjoying a new resurgence and rich dark colours are also becoming increasingly popular. Bring the two together and you have a sumptuous new dahlia - ‘Karma Choc'.

    The Karma Series of dahlias, developed by the same Dutch breeder that created the popular Happy Single series of garden varieties, has been bred as a cut-flower dahlia but its special features make it a great garden dahlia too.

    So Karma dahlias are not only prolific, and with flowers carried on strong straight stems, but each bloom lasts up to twelve days in water. And of course the flower form is excellent and the colours are tempting.

    The latest to be introduced is ‘Karma Choc'. Reaching about 90cm/3ft high, everything about the plant is dark: the foliage is rich purple-bronze in colour, the stems are reddish-black and the elegant 5in/12.5cm water lily flowers open deep a Bourneville chocolate colour and mature to deep black-tinted crimson.

    ‘Karma Choc' was raised in The Netherlands by Aad Verwer and was selected in 2002 from seedlings resulting from the pollination of an unnamed dahlia seedling by the rich red ‘Karma Naomi'.

    You can order Dahlia ‘Karma Choc' from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries and from Mr Fothergill's.

     

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  • Get Trials and Awards blog updates on Twitter

    Graham Rice on 26 Oct 2009 at 12:43 PM

    You can now follow me on the micro-blogging service Twitter at http://twitter.com/Graham_Rice !

    This will help me let you know when new posts go up here at my RHS Trials and Awards blog as well as at my RHS New Plants blog and my Transatlantic Plantsman blog. And I’ll occasionally bring you other news - such as when I have an article in the RHS magazines The Garden or The Plantsman.

    But, you may ask, how do you follow me on Twitter? Well, there’s a page of ideas on the Twitter website. And for real newbies there’s a handy video on the Twitter help pages.

    Twitter is just another way of keeping in touch and passing on the news. First there were drawings on the walls of caves, now there's Twitter!
     

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  • Buddleja 'Blue Chip': New from Gardening Express

    Graham Rice on 24 Oct 2009 at 01:48 PM

    Earlier this year I mentioned the excellent new dwarf hybrid buddleja from America both over on my RHS Trials and Awards blog, and also on my Transatlantic Plantsman blog. It's also bveen a big hit at the RHS Buddleja trial. It's not been available in Britain till now but as of yesterday you can order it from Gardening Express.

    Buddleja 'Blue Chip' (Lo and Behold™ Series). Image: ©Proven WinnersBuddleja 'Blue Chip' (Lo and BeholdTM Series) has a number of good things going for it

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  • Get New Plants updates on Twitter

    Graham Rice on 22 Oct 2009 at 10:29 PM

    You can now follow me on the micro-blogging service Twitter at http://twitter.com/Graham_Rice !

    This will help me let you know when new posts go up here at my RHS New Plants blog as well as at my RHS Trials and Awards blog and also at my Transatlantic Plantsman blog. And I’ll occasionally bring you other news - such as when I have an article in the RHS magazines The Garden or The Plantsman.

    But, you may ask, how do you follow me on Twitter? Well, there’s a page of ideas on the Twitter website. And for real newbies there’s a handy video on the Twitter help pages.
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  • Nicotiana ‘Whisper’: New, and disease resistant, for 2010

    Graham Rice on 20 Oct 2009 at 08:34 PM

    Nicotiana 'Whisper' - new for 2010. Image: ©FloranovaThe Norfolk-based plant breeding company Floranova has been a pioneer in the creation of new annuals and container plants for the last thirty years. Many of the best annuals that we grow have been developed by them and this years see another breatkthrough - a new type of Nicotiana (flowering tobacco).

    In recent years nicotiana have been plagued by a highly destructive disease, tobacco blue mould. It wiped out the last nicotiana trial at Wisley and, especially for parks but for home gardeners too, there's always a risk that the nicotiana season will be cut short.

    Nicotiana 'Whisper' - new for 2010. Image: ©Floranova‘Whisper' is a completely new type with two unique qualities. Firstly, its flowers change colour as they age - they open pure white, then blush and turn pink then deep pink. With all shades on the plant together the effect is delightful. Plus - it's disease resistant.

    Nick Bellfield-Smith, the Floranova plant breeder responsible for creating ‘Whisper', told me: "It's derived from a cross between the rarely seen N. mutabilis and the familiar type, N. x sanderae. It's been about five years in development. We were looking for different routes to disease tolerance/resistance as well as the characteristic of the N. mutabilis flower starting white and turning to pink.

    "In our trials this year ‘Whisper' has done extremely well remaining healthy and showing plenty of colour well into September. And at 80-100cm/32-40in it gives height and elegance to the back of the border. In contrast the standard bedding types became infected at the beginning of August and were dead sticks within three weeks!"

    You can order seed of Nicotiana ‘Whisper' from Mr Fothergill's Seeds and from Plants of Distinction or order plants from Dobies.

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  • Grafted vegetables: New from Dobies and Suttons

    Graham Rice on 10 Oct 2009 at 02:12 PM

    At the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this summer, Suttons showed their expanding range of grafted vegetable plants. Now you can order them.

    Tomato 'Zebrino' - grafted plants new from Suttons. Image: ©Suttons SeedsGrafting tomatoes is not a new idea, far from it, but this whole new generation of grafted vegetables will transform your veg growing. There are tomatoes of course, but also a wide range of other vegetables available as grafted plants.

    The idea is that heavy cropping and full flavoured varieties are grafted on to rootstocks specially developed to resist soil pests and diseases, bring extra vigour, be happy in cooler greenhouse conditions (or even outside) and fruit over a longer period. They cost more than seedling plants - but the extra heavy p&d-free crop more than makes up for it.

    Both Suttons and their sister company Dobies - whose list features one plant with two different tomato varieties grafted on to it! - have these grafted vegetables available to order now.

    To order, just click the variety name to go direct to the page on the website.

    Dobies
    Chilli pepper ‘Fireflame' Delicious and hot (but not too hot), 17cm/7in red chillies.
    Chilli pepper ‘Sunflame' Yellow sister of ‘Fireflame', with 15cm/6in chillies.
    Cucumber ‘Pacto' Prolific 20cm/8in cues with mildew resistance.
    Melon ‘Sienne' Sweet and aromatic orange-fleshed melon with attractive striped skin.
    Pepper ‘Magno' Virus-resistant green pepper maturing to orange, and unusually easy to grow.
    Tomato ‘Twins' Two plum-fruited varieties - ‘Dasher' (red) and ‘Sunorange' (orange') - on each plant

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  • Zinnia ‘Frazzy Jazzy’: New from Mr Fothergill’s Seeds

    Graham Rice on 07 Oct 2009 at 11:17 AM

    Zinnia 'Frazzy Jazzy' - New from Mr Fothergill's Seeds. Image: ©Mr Fothergill's SeedsZinnias have developed into one of our easiest and most colourful of summer annuals - as long as you sow the seed direct into the soil. And it's not so much the large flowered types that remind us of show chrysanths that are so successful, it's the bushier, more prolific, smaller flowered varieties.

    New in this style is ‘Frazzy Jazzy'. Each fully double flower has petals which are dark at the base and pale at the tips, creating dazzling colour combinations: crimson and cream, scarlet and orange, purple and white... The result is a continuing sparkling display of delightful double flowers which can be enjoyed in any sunny place in the garden and also cut for posies for the house.

    But they dislike being sown in pots or trays and then pricked out for planting later. Better to sow them very thinly, direct into the soil, in May or June, thin them if necessary and them just let them get on with it. I always find that the best technique is to make your drills with the corner of the rake or the point of a cane, then soak the drills thoroughly, sow the seed on the wet soil and cover them with dry soil. That will give them a flying start.

    You can order seeds of Zinnia ‘Frazzy Jazzy' from Mr Fothergill's Seeds.

     

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