Posts Tagged ‘gold medal’

Gold medal winners old and new

January 24th, 2020 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Fleuroselect Gold Medal winners Lavatera 'Silver Cup' and Zinnia ‘Queeny Lime Orange’

Fleuroselect is the Europe-wide organisation that trials new annuals and gives awards to the very best. The idea is to highlight the finest new plants so that home gardeners can choose varieties we can depend on.

Trial grounds where the assessments are made are scattered all across Europe and, in the organisation’s fiftieth anniversary year, a new trials site has been added to the roster – the Mr F trials in Suffolk!

Every year new varieties are grown, unidentified, under code numbers – to eliminate any chance of bias – and voted on by experienced and knowledgeable growers. The very best performers are awarded a coveted Gold Medal.

Now you may wonder what relevance the results from trials sites in Italy or Russia have to us in Britain. Well, if a variety does well enough across Europe to be awarded a Gold Medal then it’s likely to do well in different situations here in Britain.

One of the best early winners was Lavatera ‘Silver Cup’, gaining its Gold Medal in 1979 and still going strong as is Alyssum ‘Snow Crystals’ (1989). The pick of recent Gold medal winners is last year’s Zinnia ‘Queeny Lime Orange’, an entirely new colour in zinnias. Mr F will soon be highlighting the Gold Medal winners in the print catalogue and online.

Of course, many older Gold Medal winners have also been superseded by newer introductions, development is rapid and competition to create improved varieties is intense. But even those winners from long ago are still good plants and worth growing.