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Graham Rice on Trials

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

Buddlejas in bloom

Posted by Graham Rice on 20 Jul 2009 at 01:19 PM

Buddleia trial at the RHS Garden at Wisley. Image: ©GardenPhotos.comThe trial of buddlejas at Wisley is located about as far from most of the other trials as it's possible to be. While almost all the other trials are on the trials field, beyond the double herbaceous border and Battleston Hill, the buddlejas and some other shrubs are through the Pinetum at the opposite end of the garden. But it's well worth the walk.

I took a look just a few days ago and the colour and the scent and the bee buzzing were overpowering. Some varieties were in full flower, some were just getting going while only a few were still to open their first buds.

There are over one hundred and twenty buddlejas in the trial and the ones that struck me as especially impressive were: ‘Blue Horizon' and ‘Darenth Valley' (white), both with a very upright habit so neighbouring plants are not smothered; ‘Dart's Papillon Blue' in a lovely cool blue shade; and the vivid hybrid ‘Miss Ruby'.

It was especially interesting to see the very short varieties. The grey-leaved ‘White Ball' was just knee high and covered with white flowers while Peacock (‘Peakeep') with its large cones of vivid purple flowers was the same height.

Buddleia Peacock ('Peakeep') and 'Pink Delight' at the RHS Garden at Wisley. Image: ©GardenPhotos.comPeacock (‘Peakeep') is one of the British-bred English Butterfly Series, from East Malling in Kent. These are supposed to be noticeably shorter than other buddlejas but while Peacock (‘Peakeep') was about 60cm/2ft high and one of the best on show, Marbled White (‘Markeep'), friom the same series, was more than twice the height and reached 1.68m/56in.

The other significant dwarf entry in the trial is Lo and BeholdTM 'Blue Chip', a new multi-species hybrid from the USA, which came second in the visitors' favourites vote last year. The odd thing was that while so many other entries were looking spectacular and most of the rest showing plenty of colour - on Lo and BeholdTM 'Blue Chip' there was not a single flower open and only the very first signs of buds.

Unfortunately, the two new dwarf buddlejas from Thompson & Morgan are too new to be included in the trial and with this being the trial's last season there's no chance for them to be added.

But right through the summer this trial will be worth a look. And with coloured foliage weigelas growing alongside, and some lovely specimen trees and summer heathers to appreciate on the way, be sure to take a right turn out of the restaurant and enjoy the stroll.



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