Every spring, literally hundreds of new plants are launched on the garden market. As you'd expect, some are better than others! One of the ways that we decide which plants to introduce to QVC is to visit the growing trials where the plants are put through their paces.
Yesterday I visited the display grounds at Delamores in Wissbech where they show some of the more promising potential new introductions. You've probably not heard of this company but they are the UK's biggest grower of young plants.
They grow a staggering 50 million a year, which are then sold through mail order companies like Thompson & Morgan and Hayloft, as well as commercial growers and high street retailers.
It was fascinating looking at the new varieties of lavender (to be named after characters from the Dad's Army TV series), some fine forms of large flowered begonia semperflorens, stunning dark-leaved dahlias and the hanging basket form of orange begonia 'Elserto' (pictured above).
In the evening, I was honoured to be part of a group of 100 representatives from the gardening industry who joined Delamores in celebrating their 50th anniversary. During this time, this dynamic company has grown to become one of the leading horticultural companies in the country.
What struck me during the evening was how happy and highly motivated all the Delamores team seemed to be. With companies like this at the fore, the future of UK gardening is in excellent hands.
Back home today, I've cut my first dahlias, the beautiful black-stemmed, black-flowered 'Karma Choc'. It's mouth-watering and apparently it's one of the longest-lasting dahlias as a cut flower. I'll let you know!