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Hall of fame celebrates this paradise for plants.

WHAT a hectic week this week with Gardeners' World Live in its sixth and, what I believe, its most successful year yet.

Birmingham and the NEC may come after Chelsea, but I reckon that there were more than 40 plants launched since the show opened on Wednesday.

It's a great time of year for a show and perfect for purchasing plants to pop in the garden after having half our monthly rainfall a week last Tuesday.

The ground is both damp and warm and I'm finding that every day this week I've come away from the Halls laden down with plants.

I've found plants from as far afield as New Zealand, such as the new Lavender Dentata Ploughman's Blue with luxuriant foliage.

Alongside it was the free flowering Lavendula Stoechas St Brelade, never seen outside of Japan before.

Then there was the irresistible Linda Ligon from the USA with its variegated creamy yellow foliage. If you want to plant Lavenders now, choose the hottest site in your garden and make sure that the ground is well drained.

Amongst the most popular questions this week were queries about the two beautiful Acer Palmatums on the Dandf stand. Many people have complained that Acers in this group simply get smaller each year, rather than actually growing.

This is often due to either die back following spring frosts which allows in secondary killing fungi, or their inability to put up with poor soil conditions. For some time I have been wary of recommending these otherwise excellent plants for anybodyothe r than those with the perfect site. All of that could be due to change thanks to our friends at Norfields Nursery who have found two new Acers, both cultivars of Acer Shirasawanum.

These could become popular substitutes for Acer Palmatum as they come into leaf quite late, normally missing our spring frosts. They are also much more tolerant of drought and easier to grow.

Chatting with the nursery owners, I found out that they are so new they hadn't even been named yet. Amongst the many plants in Hall 5 on display in the Hall of Fame were three plants grown here in the Midlands.

Wholesale Nurseries, Blakedowns of Kidderminster showed Ceanothus Diamond Heights which is a low growing Ceanothus with pale yellow foliage splashed with deep green and covered in light blue flowers.

Phlox Scented Pillow is a very hardy perennial forming large mats of scented blue flowers in late spring and of course they had the Gaura Siskyou Pink.

I can let you into a secret, not on display but being secretly propagated, is a new Buddleia with variegated foliage and crimson flowers, named B. Santana. They also have a new red flowering Verbena called Edith Eddleman.
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jun 14, 1998
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