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Garden Press Event: new plants

Tomato Heinz 1370. Picture; Dobies
Tomato Heinz 1370. Picture; Dobies

What gardeners will be buying this year…

Super food... tiger nuts. Picture; Dobies
Superfood… tiger nuts. Picture; Dobies

The Garden Press Event is the go-to occasion of the year for the horticultural media and for good reason – all the major firms have a stand, showcasing their new products – plants and sundries you’ll be buying this season.

Here’s the first in a series of posts highlighting stuff that’s going to be on everyone’s wish list  – some unusual flowers, fruit, and veg.

From Dobies comes the tiger nut, cultivated for more than 4,000 years and popular in post-war Britain as a treat for children, bought at the sweet shop.

They’re not nuts at all, but the tubers of a grass called Yellow Nutsedge or Cyperus esculentus found across most of the Western Hemisphere, West Africa, and India.

Plants will tolerate adverse soil conditions, including drought and flooding and will survive soil temperatures around ?5°C (23°F). They are best contained in a tub due to a very vigorous habit. The rhizomes produce sweet tubers that are bigger than peanuts, and taste of almonds and coconut.

Heralded as a superfood, tiger nuts are a natural source of pre-biotics, fibre, Vitamins C and E, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, and magnesium. They also contain low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, a type of starch which resists digestion.

This keeps us feeling fuller for longer, and reduces the number of calories we absorb. Tiger nuts are low in calories and fats and are gluten and nut free.

Part of the Rob Smith Heritage Range, 12 garden-ready plugs cost £12.99.

Tomato Heinz 1370, of ketchup fame, is available as grafted plants for stronger disease resistance. This compact 90-120cm (3-4’) semi-bush plant bears fruit weighing around 170g (6oz) each. Can be grown indoors, or outside in a sunny spot. Three grafted tomato plants cost £9.99.

It’s the year of the Zinnia and Rob Smith’s Cut Flowers Thrillers series has Queen Red Lime, £2.50 per seed packet, or £9.99 for 15 garden-ready plugs.

Also new is raspberry Yummy, a dwarf variety (height 45cm) that produces fruit in the first year. It’s thornless and ideal for containers and requires no difficult pruning. Supplied in a 12cm pot, plant size 15-20cm, £9.99, for all the above visit www.dobies.co.uk.

Suttons has a world exclusive dwarf mulberry bush, Charlotte Russe, which only reaches a height of approximately 1.5m (compared to normal mulberries that can reach up to 8m). It’s self-pollinating, fully hardy and fruits on both old and new wood produce berries from May-September. Supplied in a 9cm pot, plant size 15cm, £17.99.

Quad tomatoes were a big hit, with four fruiting stems of the same variety of either Quad Plum (Minerva), Quad Standard (Maxima) and Quad Cherry (Magni), 3x12cm grafted plants, £19.99 or £8.99 each.

Tombergine, another new and exclusive product, produces a dual crop of tomatoes and aubergines all from a grafted single plant, £9.99 for one, £19.99 for three.

Long-stemmed clematis Trio – Amazing®™ – Oslo, London, and Rome – are perfect for flower arranging and exclusive to Suttons, 3x7cm potted plants £19.99 or £9.99 each, www.suttons.co.uk.

At Thompson & Morgan, the gardening trends from customers are all about saving time and maximising impact in smaller spaces.

The new Garden-Ready range, well-established plants delivered at just the right time for planting out and improved Easy-Fill baskets, are also in demand.

Gardeners looking for ‘instant garden gratification’ are buying larger plants which will produce
results faster with minimum maintenance. The 3-in-1 concept plants are ideal for this – try
Buddleja Buzz® 3-in-1 Pot and the new Fuchsia 3-in-1 Pot and Hebe 3-in-1 Pot. Prices start from £14.99 for a 9cm pot.

Having a small garden or no garden is not an obstacle with container planting – Raspberry Ruby Falls® is a hanging basket variety (£12.99-£23.97), or Petunia Amore Queen of Hearts (10 Postiplugs £9.99).

Time-saving products such as T&M’s new self-watering incredipots™ with their ingenious design and unique waterwicks™ really take the chore out of watering.

All the above are available from www.thompson-morgan.com.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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