Les’s Plot column

Les Foden.
Les Foden.

The following are vegetables taken from the best buys list published after trials.

Cauliflowers, Gypsy or Mayflower; calabrese, Green Magic or Marathon; brussels sprout, Maximum or Bosworth; broccoli sprouting, Claret or Red Arrow; broad beans, De Monica or Karmazyn.

Carrots, Early Nantes or Primo; celery, Victoria; courgette, Defender or Parthenon; parsnips, Gladiator or Javelin; marrow, Bush Baby or Tiger Cross; parsley, Champion Moss Curled or Green Pearl; sweetcorn, Swift or Incredible; swede, Marian or Invitation; leeks, Apollo or Bandit; lettuce, Hollywood or Match; onions, Centurion or Turbo; radish, Jolly or Vienna.

Around 400 gardeners from all over the country take part in the trials and are given new varieties to grow against the ones they usually grow, and the best new varieties are added to the published best buys list.

Although you may think that the usual varieties are good enough, these varieties have proved to be as good if not better than the older established varieties.

The allotments at the college were used as part of the trials which made the growing more interesting for the students.

Taking a look at some of the new flowers for the garden this year – one of the nicest sights in the summer garden is the Cosmos, the way that it waves around in the breeze, and new varieties are coming out all the time.

A few years ago the variety was okay but was too tall so didn’t stand the wind and rain but now shorter varieties are available. The one you must try is Cosimo Red-White, lower growing and also three weeks earlier to bloom that other varieties.

Its flowers are just above the feathery foliage.

Daydream, Double Click Cranberries and Dwarf Sonata Mixed are all great varieties of Cosmos to grow.

Coreopsis Sundrops is another good addition to the garden, a very tough plant even in the worst of weather which will continue to perform well into October.

A new Phlox is Popstars: this one really turned heads with its dazzling star-shaped flowers of carmine and white, very long flowering.

A couple of Zinnias which I have found performed very well are Lilac Rose which is a low spreading and dense plant which formed a carpet-like show in pink single flowers from July to September; and White Wedding with large semi-double flowers which grew a little taller than other varieties and looked brilliant in the border.