Posts Tagged ‘petunia’

Crazy new double petunia

March 8th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Petunia 'Tumbelina Crazy Ripple'

When double flowered petunias first arrived on the scene a hundred years ago hardly anyone grew them. They looked wonderful but were so easily damaged by rain and storms that they had to be grown in conservatories. Not only that, but they were tall and straggly and often fell over, pot and all. Not any more.

Now, new double-flowered petunias are being developed in many places around the world but it’s in a little village outside Cambridge that the finest double petunias are created. This year sees the launch of the latest, and it’s one that’s especially dramatic.

‘Tumbelina Crazy Ripple’ has all the great features of the many other colours in the Tumbelina Series. These include neat, semi-trailing growth with none of those long straggly trails that get in the way as you pass by; a long and prolific season of flowers, right up till the frosts; neat, weather resistant fully double flowers. And then there’s the colour.

The unique colouring is pale lime green splashed with burgundy purple and although no two flowers are quite the same, they all come in this same dramatic blend of colours.

The best way to use ‘Tumbelina Crazy Ripple’ is as a specimen in a hanging basket. You’ll enjoy it all summer. You can also use it in a basket mingled with calibrachoas or bacopas and as a mixer in large tubs around ‘Sonnet’ antirrhinums or the amazingly prolific Grandaisy marguerites. And don’t forget you can also order a collection of fragrant pastel double Tumbelina petunias.

RHS Award Winner: Best Behaved Convolvulus

February 2nd, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 1 Comment

Convolvulus 'Blue Ensign'

I’ve often wondered why so few plant breeders have worked on improving the annual convolvulus, the dwarf morning glory. The wild species, Convolvulus tricolor, grows around the Mediterranean, especially on the African side, as well as in the Balearic Islands and it’s impressively colourful even in its natural wild form.

With blue edges to the bold trumpets, there’s a white ring and a yellow eye and in the spectacular ‘Blue Ensign’, included in the new Mr F range of seeds that have received the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit, the blue is a deep and shining shade.

‘Blue Ensign’ has the neat and restrained growth habit of a semi-trailing petunia with a combination of flower colours never seen in a petunia – and it’s a hardy annual. It’s related to bindweed, yes, but the whole plant dies after flowering.

And here’s the thing. The ‘Flagship’ mixture gives us a glimpse of the potential: so many other colours. Most of the colours have that starry yellow eye with a white zone round it but as well as flowers with deep blue edges there’s red, pink and pale blue edges as well as simpler pale blue and yellow and pale pink and yellow. They’re very pretty.

AGM winning ‘Blue Ensign’ is prolific and good in baskets and the front of sunny borders. ‘Flagship’(not an award-winner) is a little more variable in habit and flower-power, sometimes rather straggly, but I’m sure that with a little work neat and prolific plants could be developed in some lovely colour combinations.

In the meantime,‘Blue Ensign’ is easy to raise from seed sown outside and a packet of a hundred seeds costs only £2.05. I haven’t grown it for years but it’s on the list for this year. I’m going to plant it on the corners of my 1.2m raised veg beds – to hide my less than expert carpentry where the boards join!

  • Please take a look at my article on RHS award-winning lobelia for containers and borders in this week’s Amateur Gardening magazine – print edition only.