A most valuable recent innovation at the Wisley trials has been the opportunity for visitors to vote for their favourites. I reported on the results of the buddleja voting back in December, now let's take a look at the voting for Amaranthus, Celosia and Dahlia.
First off, I have to say that while placing the voting slips in the Pavilion at the bottom of the trials field (and not alongside the trials themselves) may have protected them from the weather, it noticeably reduced the number of votes cast. Nevertheless, the opinions of Wisley visitors are always valuable - and here they are.
The visitors' favourite amongst the Amaranthus was not one of the familiar, cottage garden, Love-lies-bleeding types but A. tricolor ‘Early Splendor' (above). This variety sports dramatic cerise-scarlet foliage in the growing tips which darkens to bronze-purple later. "Vivid colour. Will stand out in a border" said one visitor, while another liked it because it was the "only one without alien tentacles"!
In Celosias, ‘Smart Look Red' (right) came out top. "Good bright colour. Many flower heads on compact plant. Good dark colour leaves" said one visitor who summed up its qualities well. I also liked the fact that it generated plenty of side shoots after the main dramatic flush and the combination of flower and foliage colour was certainly effective.
In Dahlias, three shared first place. I discussed ‘Twyning's Revel' in my recent post on dark-leaved dahlias. ‘Will's Carousel' is a startling Collarette with petals in purple, scarlet and white surrounding a ring of smaller white petals. ‘Pooh - Swan island' (left) also features an unusual colour combination and it's noticeable that none of these three remotely resemble traditional dahlias.
Be sure to look out for more visitor voting opportunities in the coming season - and this year the voting slips will be placed alongside individual trials. I'll let you know which trials you can vote on when it‘s been decided.