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Graham Rice on Trials

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

Trials at East Ruston in Norfolk

Posted by Graham Rice on 06 Aug 2009 at 03:45 PM

Pinks in the RHS trial at East Ruston in Norfolk. Image: ©RHS TrialsThe trials at the RHS garden at Wisley in Surrey, just off the M25, are the most impressive trials of garden plants in the country, probably in the world. But the RHS also has a secondary trials site in Norfolk at the gardens at The Old Vicarage at East Ruston.

Thanks to the continuing generosity of  owners Alan Gray and Graham Robeson, a range of trials is again planted at the garden for visitors to enjoy.

The trial of garden pinks is still in bloom and, in fact, the extent to which these plants are still blooming a couple of months after their June peak will play a significant part in which are awarded AGMs and which are not. Varieties with a long flowering season have quite an advantage.

Ipomoea 'Star of Yelta'. Image: ©GardenPhotos.comThe trial of annual climbers, which is such a fascinating feature at Wisley, is replicated at East Ruston and the ipomoeas - look out for the sumptuous colouring of ‘Star of Yelta' (left) - should be at their peak through this month along with Eccremocarpus and many others.

It's only the first summer of the perennial Phlox trial and, as at Wisley, their peak will be next year and the year after but it will be interesting to see if the kniphofias raised from seed - about which I was so rude here recently - are just as bad at East Ruston as they are at Wisley!

Amongst vegetables, there are two intriguing trials at East Ruston which will be worth seeing this month. The melons and watermelons will be at their peak, and this trial is restricted to the small-fruited, one-person varieties which have such wide appeal.

There's also a trial of sweet corn which will be well worth a look, it focuses in particular on the super sweet types which really do have the best flavour.

Next month check which pinks are still going, many annual climbers will still show plenty of colour, the trial of June-sown calabrese will be at its peak as will the trial of cabbage, including red cabbage, for autumn cropping.

The garden at East Ruston is always worth a visit and the chance to check out some of the RHS trials - without negotiating the M25 - makes a visit all the more worthwhile.



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