This winter’s weather has delayed flowering of the Crocus trial down on the Portsmouth Field. The first two visits by the assessment panel were cancelled because after all that snow there were so few in flower.
However, the display was good two weeks ago and, weather permitting, the assessors will be looking over the plants again tomorrow. So this looks to be a good time to take a stroll along the double herbaceous border, up and over past the Henry Moore sculpture and down to the Portsmouth Field to pick out your favourites.
In the visitor voting last year ‘Jeanne d’Arc’ (“A beautiful strong-looking white. Lovely!”) and ‘Margot’ ("Lovely double colours") came out top of the poll.
In the assessment a couple of weeks ago some old favourites were noted as reaching Award of Garden Merit (AGM) quality. The panel said of ‘Snow Bunting’ (above) “Increases well… Attractive and floriferous…. Has proven its worth over many years.” With its orange throat and discreet feathering on the outside of its white petals it’s a lovely thing, and, as can be seen in the picture, vigorous enough to grow in grass.
‘Bowles White’, “excellent garden plant”, was also seen as one of the best while C. x luteus ‘Golden Yellow’ also looked excellent. All three look likely to have their AGMs, awarded in 1993, re-confirmed.
Others that looked of AGM standard were the golden ‘Goldilocks’, which has increased well, C. x luteus ‘Stellaris’, gold with bold streaks on the outside, the soft yellow ‘Midas Touch’, which is not yet available and C. flavus.
There are a number of named forms of the prolific and attractive yellow C. flavus but as they self seed and produce offspring in slightly varied colours the species was considered as a whole.
It’s also worth noting that the purple and white ‘Ladykiller’, another which had received an AGM in 1993, had vanished and the panel was aware that stock offered by most nurseries was infected with virus. A useful warning. 'Ladykiller' may lose its 1993 AGM.