New plants for 2009

by Adam Pasco

Ptilotus exaltatus 'Joey' is an exciting new plant that I first saw at the Four Oaks Trade Show I visited in the autumn. Let's just call it 'Joey'.

Ptilotus exalatus 'Joey'These cold, dark winter evenings are costing me a small fortune. Not in heating costs for my greenhouse, or for electricity to light up the front of the house with decorations bright enough to be seen from the International Space Station.

No, it's these long evening spent leisurely flicking through seed and plant catalogues that are costing me dearly. After a first run-through, the list of 'must have' plants is far too long, so I have to go through again in more detail. This is meant to be a ruthless culling—an opportunity to thin out the extensive order form—but strangely enough (and I don't know if this happens to other people) the list actually gets longer. The catalogues are as irresistible as ever.

I won't sacrifice any of those 'regulars' that form part of my garden every year, such as coriander, salad leaves, dwarf sunflowers and 'Gardeners' Delight' tomatoes. I can't cut back on any of these, but then there are new varieties to try, as they all look so much better than my tried and tested favourites. How much is each packet? How many seeds am I getting? Which ones offer the best value for money?

Ptilotus exaltatus 'Joey' is an exciting new plant that I first saw at the Four Oaks Trade Show I visited in the autumn. Let's just call it 'Joey'. This is a half-hardy annual from central Australia, and is heat and drought tolerant, as you'd expect of plants from this part of the world. 'Joey' grows to about 30-35cm tall and produces glorious feathery, silvery-pink plumes. I've never grown anything like it before; the closest comparison I can make is with celosia, but 'Joey' is much more delicate in both form and colour.

It looks and feels soft to the touch, and would be stunning planted in a block in patio pots. I've found it listed by Plants of Distinction, but think others might be selling this new variety, too.

'Joey' is one of many new seed varieties I've fallen in love with from catalogue descriptions alone, from panicum to petunia, cosmos to hollyhock. I don't know how I'll find space for them all, but I suppose there are worse problems to have...

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Gardeners' World Web User 19/12/2008 at 15:06

Roy, I've found seed available in the Plants of Distinction catalogue, so do send off for a copy. Searching online I've found plants being offered by both Suttons Seeds and Dobies Seeds, but there may be others.

Gardeners' World Web User 01/01/2009 at 15:11

Hi there, l have two African Violets and they seem to have got too big for their pots. As l have never had african violets that have lasted this long l am not sure what to do next.Can l repot them carefully into bigger pots and how safe is it to subdivide the plants as there seem to be two plants in each pot.

Gardeners' World Web User 01/01/2009 at 15:44

Why is it that in anything relating to growing plants from seeds, it rarely says how long it will take to flower. For instance, I've grown cercis silaquestrum from seed (5 years ago) and am told I will probably have to wait another 10 years before it flowers, yet halesia flowered 4 years from seed. Is there a book that might advise, does anyone know please?

Gardeners' World Web User 01/01/2009 at 17:10

Adam, I know exactly what you mean, I was trying to get an orchard into a courtyard with the T&M fruit catalogue, I've not even started the main seed one yet! Luckily I have a friend who is as bad as me in buying loads of seeds and so we have regular swap sessions to try out new seeds and swap seedlings and plants too... good luck with the editing!

Gardeners' World Web User 01/01/2009 at 22:19

Is it possible to grow mistletoe from the berries on my bought spray? If so, can you give me any advice on how to do it?

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