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Some new British winners of the Award of Garden Merit; and now there may be organically-grown vegetable transplants coming available
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale


Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at

May 22, 2016

Above, Tim Kerley showing his PowerDaisy (Calendula x hybrid) in the family greenhouses; and Petunia tumbelina ‘Anna’ both are new this year in the U.K. Below two shots of the 20-year-old Petunia ‘Priscilla’, the first new plant introduced by Tim Kerley’s parents when they started their home business.





PowerDaisy (Calendula x hybrida) is a new class of vegetatively-propagated inter-specific perennials flowering from March-December.

The plant, bred over 10 years of trials by Tim Kerley, was entered for Chelsea plant of the year. He said the plant was robust and had been described as "bombproof" by Alton Garden Centre director Andy Bunker.

PowerDaisy is hardy to -10C, drought tolerant and designed for early and late season sales. Channel Island Plants and Kientzler are among growers and Thompson & Morgan is listing PowerDaisy among retail mail order sellers.

The plant is long-listed among 40 new varieties for Chelsea's plant of the year, to be judged on May 23.

Garden personality Peter Seabrook will also include PowerDaisy in his 40 new plants featured in an industry-backed Sun Flower Square Chelsea exhibit.

The Kerleys said the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) could consider splitting the plant of the year awards into trees, shrubs and bedding to make plants easier to judge.

Petunia Tumbelina 'Anna', a pink double with rose rim (another major winner of an RHS Award of Garden Merit this year), will be available from Ball Colegrave in 2016 (in the UK) and will also be introduced at Chelsea this year on the Peter Seabrook/HTA exhibit.

Tim Kerley’s parents some 20 years ago introduced the famous Petunia ‘Priscilla’. The world's first trailing double flowered petunia, 'Priscilla', enters its 20th season on the market in spring 2016 with a new Award of Garden Merit (AGM) from the RHS.

The British-bred plant has distribution in more than 20 countries.

The Royal Horticultural Society has bestowed its Award of Garden Merit on Tumbelina ‘Priscil-la’ in time for the anniversary year, in recognition that ‘Priscilla’ "performs reliably in the garden".

The petunia was developed by husband and wife team David and Priscilla Kerley in a back garden greenhouse. ‘Priscilla’ launched their Cambridgeshire-based family business and led to further colours being developed in the Tumbelina collection. A total of 21 different colours and colour combinations will be sold across the globe in 2016.

It has pastel mauve scented flowers, veined with violet and cascades across the whole of the plant, not just the ends of the lateral shoots.

According to the criteria for the RHS Award of Merit, ‘Priscilla’ is an excellent plant for "ordinary use".

* * *

According to Matthew Appleby writing in the May 13th on-line edition of Horticulture Week magazine, “Dutch garden centre chain Intratuin is planning to sell organic plants. Research by the chain found 38 per cent of Dutch households want to buy organically grown bulbs while consumers want ornamental plants, fruit and vegetables, bedding plants and perennials, so it has launched the Intratuin BIO-concept.

“Chief executive officer Peter Paul Kleinbussink said: ‘Everything we do starts with greenery and in it we weigh constantly whether it can be different—more efficient, less stressful and healthier. Therefore, it is really obvious that we come up with a biological plant line. On top of our broad green range, we now offer our customers the choice between sustainable cultivated plants and biological plants. The organic green product range will be further expanded in the coming year.’

“Plants for Europe owner Graham Spencer said: ‘I wonder if British retailers might follow suit. It would need support throughout the supply chain. Offshore propagators and EU young plant companies would have to have chemical-free production in place, not just plant finishers.’

“Soil Association horticulture head Ben Raskin added: ‘When I was at the Welsh College of Horticulture 12 years ago we started growing some organic plants but there was not a market at that stage. We were struggling with the right compost but there is now a better range and a couple of nurseries do it, mostly on a small scale, Caves Folly being one. Delfland mostly grows plugs. There isn't the supply at the moment and I don' know if there's the appetite in English garden centres to do it. It's tough enough getting them to go peat-free.

“‘In cut flowers there's been a massive increase in organic production and that could flow over to ornamentals. With food there's the health aspect—people are going organic because they're worried about health. They are less concerned with plants in their gardens, though there is the wider wildlife aspect.’

“Delfland Nurseries' Gill Vaughan said it sells organic vegetable plants online and in its own shop but does not supply garden centres. EU regulations may mean organic ornamentals can only be marketed as ‘grown to organic standards’, she added.

“Vaughan suggested that there could be a future market for organic plants sold by retailers. ‘I think people are getting more twitchy about pesticides,’ she said. ‘The RHS Perfect for Pollinators scheme describes plants that insects like to visit but are not guaranteed free of insecticides. The website says you shouldn't spray plants in flower because of pollinators but some neonicotinoids are quite persistent so there is a question mark over systemic insecticides in flowers. If that becomes a public issue through TV garden presenter Monty Don banging on about it there will be a demand.’

“Caves Folly said it supplies the National Trust retail arm with peat-free and organic plants along with some small craft shops as well as the royal household.”


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