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Graham Rice on Trials

Updates on trials and awards from the Royal Horticultural Society by Graham Rice

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New trials blog

Posted by admin on 27 Jan 2009 at 12:07 PM

Wisley Trials in June. Image: Ali Cundy, RHS Trials OfficeThe current RHS Plant Finder lists over 70,000 different plants and there are vegetables and many more that never find their way into the book. But how do you know which are the best? Well, the RHS tests many of them at its garden at Wisley and gives the prestigious Award of Garden Merit to those few that outshine the others. And that's what this new blog is all about - the best plants, as proved at the RHS trials.

Assessing the Wisley carrot trial. Image: Ali Cundy, RHS Trials OfficeI'll be bringing you news of the latest awards, highlighting the trials looking their best and noting the growing techniques which prove successful. The Wisley botanists sort out muddles in the names of the plants on trial, pest and disease problems are revealed, there are events at which you can meet the judges, bulletins and other publications appear during the season; I'll be posting about all that and more here. Sometimes AGM plants even have their awards taken away - I'll bring you that news too - as well as comments from the judges themselves.

And I'll be covering perennials, vegetables, shrubs, container plants, bulbs, fruit, annuals - everything that's on trial at Wisley and at other RHS gardens around the country.

Verbena trial at Wisley. Image: Ali Cundy, RHS Trials Office
Even in the depths of winter there are trials to see and come the spring and summer the Portsmouth Field, where most of the trials are on view, will be packed with colour and with food crops. What's more, visitors to Wisley now get to vote for their favourites in some of the trials - it will be interesting to see if the judges agree with your verdict.

So click one of the little striped orange buttons at the top of this post to subscribe to the feed and check back here regularly. My RHS New Plants blog continues as usual.



Graham Rice said:

Digger got in touch to say: "This is going to be good, I looked at the pictures prior to the blog being posted, how do the RHS decide which cultivars of what plant to trial?"

Unfortunately, due to a little teething problem on this new blog, his comment didn't appear but here's my reply:

Anyone can enter plants for trial, digger. An announcement appears in The Garden every September and will also now appear here, inviting people to enter plants. Specialist committees then review the entries and make the final decision about which varieties are trialled.

In the case of groups where the total number number of varieties is manageable, like the current bergenia trial, we will try to grow every variety there is. With much larger groups, like dahlias, only recent introductions may be trialled.

on 29 Jan 2009 at 05:15 PM