Just as everyone was plummed-out and all the talk about a bumper harvest was over, what should pop up on the front page of Thompson & Morgan’s catalogue but the stunning new oriental poppy Plum Pudding.
It is different in several ways, the most striking being that it is available as seed that reproduces true to type.
We grow three cultivars, including the well-established Patty’s Plum, which, in keeping with all papaver orientale types, is easily raised from root cuttings. Leave a small piece in the ground while digging-up and repositioning an established plant – you’ll find that it regenerates quickly.
Try saving the seeds of Patty’s Plum and, disappointingly, they do not all reproduce the original colour.
However, after years of research, Plum Pudding does!
The other disappointing aspect of oriental poppies is their relatively short flowering period. But if the spent blooms are removed quickly to prevent seed capsules forming, we are promised that this new introduction will flower again in August.
On the back page of T&M’s 2014 seed catalogue, there is a new rainbow beetroot (250 seeds for £1.99). This is a mixture of five varieties comprising; Subeto, Boldor, Chioggia, Albina veraduna and Bulls’ Blood Scarletta.
The contrasting shades of leaf, stem and root colours makes them visually attractive when growing in a row, but the flesh, when cut, is stunning.
The young roots washed and peeled can be chopped or grated for salads.
Stems and leaves can be ingredients in the same dish or steamed and eaten like spinach.
Such potential in a packet of seed costing less than £2!
This is one I can recommend, having just grown it under the trial name EXP 7 and wondered what title T&M would choose to launch it in next year’s catalogue.
If only we had the growing space to try every plant on an ever-increasing wish list!