Thursday, 13 August 2015

Last week I visited Jimmy's Farm near Ipswich, where Thompson and Morgan have their new trial garden for a Press Day that they were organising for bloggers and tweeters. Michael Perry, Thompson and Morgan's New Product Development Manager had invited me and a group of other bloggers and so we set off from Bristol to the other side of the country to explore the new trial garden and talk with the product team about the plants that were being trialled in the garden. I'm well aware that I'm known more for vegetables these days but having been in the ornamental sector for a long time in my career, it's always interesting to see what's new in the ornamental world, and I knew there would be some vegetables too.
The gardens re-ignited something that I have often been heard to say and that is that bedding done well is a really effective way of filling in spaces in a garden, keeping the garden full of colour at times when other plants have either gone over or aren't quite at their best yet. For someone like me, a total plantholic as well as a hoticulturist, I cannot help but be impressed by the way the garden was set out, creating what actually could be a real garden whilst showing off new plants and different ways of growing.
So here are some photos of the plants.....
 A quite exceptional Amaranths, called Molten Lava, is definitely something I shall grow next year!
 Dianthus Tropical Butterfly, not just a great garden plant but also a fabulous cut flower with a long vase life.
 Petunia Starry Night is a beautiful plant that is still undegoing some trial work to ensure that the markings on it are stable but one to look out for in the future as it is quite extraordinary and would be fabulous in hanging baskets or pots on a patio.
 I am a huge fan of Zinnias and love them both as a garden plant and as a cut flower. This strain is really a garden variety as I'm not sure the blooms are big enough to be cut, but it looked spectacular in a huge swathe in one of the trial beds.
                                                Who can resisit a bee on a scabious plant?
 This photo shows the trial vegetable beds which unfortunately I didn't have the time to reaaly investigate as there was a wedding going on! But they looked amaxing in the distance.....
I'm well known for my love of marigolds both as a companion plant and in their own rights as very beautiful flowers. This is Jester-what's not to love?

If you're in the area I'd strongly suggest a visit to the gardens as they are open for all to visit. I think the best thing about this trial garden is that it is at an attraction that isn't at all linked to horticulture so for both Thompson and Morgan and the industry in general, it opens up the possibility of people visiting this garden and being inspired who generally aren't gardeners. There were also a fair few children and young people walking around the beds and to see these youngsters engaging with the garden was wonderful.

We left with a huge amount of goodies that included a massive bag of seeds, plants, biscuits and Thompson and Morgan's new feeds. There will be more on these in blog posts to come!!

Finally thank you to all at Thompson and Morgan for a great day.

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