The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has just announced the Plant Trials it will be running during 2012 and 2013 for its Award of Garden Merit (AGM). This year there will be a total of 28 trials of which 13 will be new. In 2013 the charity will be running 38 trials of which 20 will be new.
Trials in both years will cover a wide range from fruiting plants including blackberries and hybrid berries to flowering plants such as Penstemon, Digitalis (foxgloves) and Clematis. Some favourite vegetables will also be assessed including sprouting broccoli and runner beans.
Some of the new trials in 2012 include basil, cos and gem lettuce, tall bearded Iris and Mexican salvias. New trials in 2013 will include coleus (Solenostemon), Astrantia, alpine Dianthus and large, late-flowering Clematis.
“The RHS is focused on helping all gardeners make informed decisions about their plants, and the RHS Plant Trials are an important tool towards this aim,” says Jim Gardiner, RHS Director of Horticulture. “Our trials programme over the next two years is really exciting and extensive, and includes plants that are increasing in popularity such as hybrid berries. We can only manage to cover such a wide range of plants thanks to the support of our volunteer Trials Assessment Panels. Panel members are dedicated enthusiasts and experts who give their time and bring their extensive knowledge to plant assessment.
“We are very pleased to welcome a number of new panel members to support our trials programme,” says Jim. “These include: Andrea Brunsendorf, Head Gardener of the Inner Temple Gardens; Toby Buckland, plantsman and presenter; Kevin Hobbs, of Hiller Nurseries; and Rachel Prior, keen gardener and garden designer.”
The Award of Garden Merit (AGM) is reserved only for plants of outstanding garden-worthiness. By choosing an AGM plant gardeners can be sure that it is:
• excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions;
• readily available;
• of good constitution;
• essentially stable in colour and form; and
• reasonably resistant to pests and diseases.
Gardeners are advised to look out for the AGM logo on plant labels Further information on which plants have been awarded an AGM can be found on RHS Online (www.rhs.org.uk/agmplants ). The charity also highlights some of the best AGM plants in its magazine, The Garden.
“If you are thinking of trying a different cultivar but are unsure what to choose, then picking a plant with an AGM is the best thing to do,” says Jim Gardiner. “These are plants we know perform well.”