Their trials team had done a superb job and the grounds looked amazing. Thompson & Morgan are the biggest company in the mail order market so they tend to have the biggest number of new varieties each year.
We were shown lots of new varieties, some to be sold as seeds, others as young plants. I particularly liked Californian poppy 'Peach Sorbet', the hardy gerbera Forever series and Tomato Tumbling Tiger. I'm back there next week when I hope to see, and smell, the exciting new scented form of begonia 'Apricot Shades' and a few others that Thompson & Morgan are keeping up their sleeves for QVC (and didn't want the gardening press to see!)
Will Sibley was there too, telling us about new advances in fruit. I was particularly interested in Apple Garden Sun Red, a relatively new dwarf columnar apple tree that only grows 6 feet in height, doesn't need pruning and produces normal sized, good flavoured fruit. Michael Perry, pictured above (thanks to Michael Warren for this pic), showed us some very interesting new plants including Petunia Mini-me, a lovely double dwarf miniature flowered petunia for hanging baskets.
A number of gardeners, including my Aunt Ella, have had problems with their busy lizzies this summer. They've been hit by downy mildew disease and sadly there doesn't appear to be a cure. Thompson & Morgan's famous wall of busy lizzies was also suffering, I was sorry to see. The problem has been more acute this season, but it has been getting worse year by year. I just hope the plant breeders find a solution fast.