Posts Tagged ‘Sea spring seeds’

Indigo Rose tomatoesI’ve been watching this tomato for a while now (Indigo Rose seeds available from Plant World Seeds), and many neighbours and passersby have been commenting on these alluring fruits too. They seemed resolutely black and rock ‘ard up until a day or two ago, but now things are changing. Michelle at Veg Plotting luckily wrote about how to tell when this black tomato is ripe, so I’ve been patiently waiting for any sign of red.

Indigo Rose tomatoes closeAnd here it is. The green underside has slowly but surely started to redden up. What a gorgeous thing!

On eating, this, sadly, isn’t the most tasty tomato I’ve ever tried. Rather bland and with a mushy, watery texture. My favourite tomato ever is Ananas Noir (freshly plucked last summer when holidaying in the Loire) and it’s a hard act to follow, but I may well grow this variety again, just for its amazing good looks alone.

yellow tomatotesMeanwhile, I’ve been tucking into these delicious ‘Golden Crown’ cherry tomatoes, supplied by Sea Spring Seeds for lunches and dinners and these fruits have been remarkably sweet and full of flavour. A definite for next year.

Black cherry‘Black Cherry’ (more of a muddy red), also from Sea Spring Seeds has also been a little disappointing in taste, so the search continues for a truly delicious ‘black’ variety that will sweeten-up well when grown outdoors in our northern clime.

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Rubus ulmifolius bellidiflorus

I may have mentioned in earlier posts that I’ve developed a bit of a thing for the Rubus genus. I already grow raspberries (R. idaeus), Blackberries (R. fruiticosus) and Japanese wine berries (R. pheonicolasius) and in 2011 I spotted this rather gorgeous ornamental Rubus ulmifolius bellidiflorus in the Plant Heritage marquee at Hampton Court. The pink pom poms sitting atop such a wild habit truly spoke to me, but alas, the plants were just for looking at, with none to buy. However, not entirely forgotten, its image has been lurking somewhere deep in the back of my mind.

 Rubus oderatus
Roll on two years and Barry Clarke is back again with choice specimens from his national collection (of 170 species and 30 hybrids), this time with cuttings aplenty. Not only did he have pom poms, but also small plants of  Rubus x fraseri, very similar in habit (and flower) to this gorgeous R.oderatus above. It does produce small quantities of edible fruits, so I’ll look forward to tasting these whenever they appear.  Although determined to leave the show empty-handed this year (there’s no room left in the garden), I departed from the Plant Heritage marquee with my two plants in hand and my heart full of joy! Thanks Barry!
Matthew Childs' Ecover Garden
I loved Matthew Childs’ ‘A light at the end of the tunnel’ garden last year which was about recovery and hope after he was injured in the July 7th bombings. His planting this year on the Ecover sponsored garden was positively exuberant and deservedly won a gold medal and best in show. Flowing planting, winding paths and three interlocking ponds expertly illustrated the ‘Water is life’ message and with their supersized products, Ecover was none too shy in pointing out their role in sustainable use of plastics for their products!
Four corners garden
Water and wildlife friendly planting seem to feature in many gardens this year and I really liked how Peter Reader used rills to divide his garden into distinct areas in his Four Corners garden.
Four corners garden 2
Peter has just finished retraining from doctor to garden designer, and won the Provender Nurseries 2012 Student Design and Build Award to create his first show garden at Hampton Court. Impressive!
The hot stuff garden
And lastly (for this post), I loved the “less hard landscaping and more plants” ethos in The Hot Stuff Garden, designed by Victoria Truman, Liz Rentzsch and Marcus Foster.
The hot stuff garden 2
Taking inspiration from the planting in the Exotic Garden at Great Dixter, this simple but lush garden was, for me, equally best in show.
Hampton Court Flower Show continues today and tomorrow (13 and 14th July 2013).
More gardens and fab comments can be seen and read at Weeding the Web, Vegplotting , Alternative Eden and Through the Garden Gate.

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I must have known somewhere at the back of my mind that the RHS had sold off one of their two halls in London, and because of this, I have to admit to being a tad underwhelmed with their latest show in Victoria. Having marvelled at the size of the competition leeks, and gazed at perfectly formed raspberries, there were only a few stalls left to visit.

One of these was the wonderful Sea Spring Seeds, who did offer a marvellous display of Chillis with seeds to match, and I did buy a couple of garlic cloves from the Garlic Farm stall, so all was not lost. But I’d have been a bit miffed if I’d travelled for hours to arrive at this lightly populated show.

However, there was an apple tasting stand, packed full of apples from RHS Wisley, and this was the unexpected gem of the show for me. With the help of a very friendly RHS gardening team, I tasted a few of the most delicious apples I’ve ever come across.

Lord Lambourne, a variety dating back to 1907, had it all. Crispish texture, but with the sweetest of flavours and a beautiful warm russet-red, fading-into-yellow colouring, and a wonderfully fresh aroma (plus it’s a good storer).  I brought a few varieties of apples back for a client to taste, and we’re now planning on planting a few Lord Lambourne apple trees as cordons, which will look very decorative in her front garden. This variety, although never seen in the supermarkets, was easy to buy and I’ve plumped for an M26 semi-dwarfing rootstock which should keep the cordon small-ish, but have enough vigour to produce plenty of fruit.

Another supremely sweet apple was ‘Sharon’. However, this is predominantly an American cultivar, so not readily available in the UK. I did discuss with Rebecca Bevan (Fruit manager at RHS Wisley) the possibility of grafting a ‘Sharon’ from RHS stocks, and also started discussing the possibility of apple tree grafting courses at the RHS and creating ‘family’ trees with more than one variety on the same tree. Could I graft a Lord Lambourne, a Sharon,

and a Limelight (another favourite) onto the same tree? Intriguing, and something I’ll have to explore further.

I’m also wondering how a Lord Lambourne would fair trained as a Quincunx and where in the garden could I grow it!

So despite my initial disappointment, the show was an eye opener for me in terms of apples, but I’ll be more vigilant from now on as to the listings of the shows. Next week is the RHS London Shades of Autumn Show, with a big caption under the first image warning that it’ll be held in only one hall. However, offering 20 specialist nurseries this time round, I’ll be tempted once again to make the journey to Victoria.

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