New Plants Reviews

English Musk Hybrid
Rich apricot blooms with a lovely
fresh tea fragrance
We are delighted to name this rose after one of Britain’s
most beloved stars of stage and screen,
‘Dame Judi Dench’.
A beautiful rose; the blooms are a par ticularly rich shade
of apricot, paling prettily towards the edges, lending a
cer tain radiance. Beginning as striking, red-tipped buds
they gradually open to reveal large informal rosettes, each
with ruffled petals and a button eye. Maintaining their
beauty throughout their time in flower, they are very
resistant to rain damage and the petals drop neatly. There
is a lovely, medium-strong fragrance, which combines
classic tea with a fresh note of cucumber and a hint of kiwi.
‘Dame Judi Dench’ is a par ticularly tough, reliable and
healthy variety. A vigorous grower, it produces strong,
arching stems which, over time, form an attractive mound
of blooms. The arching stems encourage many side
shoots, which quickly produce a generous second crop
of blooms. To encourage further repeat-flowering and
to stop the production of hips, we recommend dead-
heading the spent blooms. 4 x 4ft.



English Musk Hybrid
Large clusters of very free-flowering,
soft yellow blooms
‘Vanessa Bell’ is a rose of delicate beauty with an alluring
freshness and grace.
Rounded, pink-tinged buds open to reveal deep, medium-
sized cups held in large, open clusters. Soft lemon-yellow,
paling to white at the edges, the delicate texture of the
outer petals is such that the light runs through them
creating a pleasing, almost luminous effect. The inner
petals frame a rich yellow eye deep in the centre of each
bloom. It is very free-flowering, producing blooms almost
continuously throughout the summer months. There is a
lovely medium-strong fragrance, which is best described
as green tea with aspects of lemon and, at times, honey.
It forms a shor t, bushy and upright shrub, which
complements both formal and informal plantings. Being
extremely floriferous, it also makes a wonderful hedge.
4 x 2½ft.
Named for the ar tist, designer and founder member of
the Bloomsbury Group, Vanessa Bell - sister of the writer,
Virginia Woolf. 10% from the sale of each rose will be
donated to The Charleston Trust. Charleston, the home
of Vanessa Bell, is managed and conserved by the charity
for the benefit of the public.
English Old Rose Hybrid
Large blooms of deepest cerise pink
with a delicious fruity scent
‘James L. Austin’ is not only an exceptionally healthy and
reliable rose, it is also a great beauty.
The blooms are of deepest cerise pink, with numerous
petals forming perfect large rosettes, each with a central
button eye. It flowers prolifically from early summer
until the first frosts and the blooms are not affected by
bad weather. The medium-strong fragrance is delicious,
resembling a mixture of dark fruits: blackcurrant,
blackberry, raspberry and cherry with hints of lemon zest
and almond.
Neat and tidy with a bushy, upright habit, ‘James L. Austin’
is a very versatile shrub. Wor thy of a place in a formal
rose border; it is equally at home in a large pot, with
other flowers in a cottage garden style planting or grown as
a beautiful, fragrant hedge. 3½ x 2ft.
Named for the son of David Austin Senior and brother of
David Austin Junior. 10% from the sale of each rose will
be donated to two Parkinson’s charities, 5% to Parkinson’s
UK and 5% to Cure Parkinson’s Trust.
Parent Category: Our Blogs
Category: New Plants Reviews
Last Updated: 01 March 2017
Hits: 284


It may have been developed nearly a century ago, but the framberry is only just coming to the attention of many of the UK's gardeners thanks to its revival by mail order kitchen garden specialist  D. T. Brown, the company is offering plants of the fascinating hybrid in its new Fruit and Vegetable Grower's Seed and Plant Catalogue 2017.

A cross between the beach strawberry (Fragaria chilonesis) and the scarlet strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), the hardy perennial framberry produces raspberry-sized fruits with a unique flavour balanced between that of a strawberry and a raspberry. The name derives from framboise, the French for 'raspberry'.

The plants have a similar height and habit to those of modern strawberries, the foliage is an attractive deep green, and the delicious berries are bright red with the seeds set deep into the fruits.

D. T. Brown's Tim Jeffries says It is best to plant framberries next to strawberries to aid pollination and help to maintain their special flavour. Fruit is usually ready for careful picking from mid June to mid July, with each plant capable of yielding up to 150gm.

One framberry in a 9cm pot costs £7.95, but three may be bought for £15.90, a saving of £7.95. Despatch is scheduled from mid April 2017.

To request a copy of the new Fruit and Vegetable Grower's Seed and Plant Catalogue 2017, write to D. T. Brown Seeds, Bury Road, Newmarket CB8 7PQ, telephone 0845 371 05 32, or go online

Registered in England No. 1710774. Registered Address: D.T.Brown & Co, Bury Road, Newmarket, CB8 7PQ


Parent Category: Our Blogs
Category: New Plants Reviews
Last Updated: 23 February 2017
Hits: 394

An odd-looking tuber vegetable is proving to be a surprise best-seller for mail order horticultural firm, Thompson & Morgan. 


Oca is a knobbly root vegetable that looks a bit like an artichoke. Don’t worry though; they don’t have the same windy after effect! The tubers have a tangy lemon taste which becomes deliciously nuttier when cooked. The red-skinned variety available from T&M have a crisp pale orange or creamy-coloured flesh – fans of ‘eating raw’ can simply wash and slice their oca tubers into salads or crunch them as a tasty and wholesome snack. Oca becomes more starchy when cooked and can be enjoyed similarly to potatoes – boiled, baked, mashed and fried – whilst the shoots and the attractive shamrock-shaped leaves can be added to salads for a tasty citrusy tang.

 Oca leaves

‘We think that people are buying oca in response to more information being available about it’, commented Paul Hansord, T&M’s commercial director. ‘Oca is easy-to-grow and nutritious and, thanks to some good press recently, it seems to be increasingly appealing to health-conscious gardeners and foodies alike’.

Oca – aka New Zealand yam (it is grown commercially in New Zealand, hence its alternative moniker) – is cultivated extensively in the Andes where it is second only to the potato in terms of the most widely-grown root vegetable.  T&M’s trials showed that the perennial oca plant performed well in the UK climate and did not suffer from blight or any noticeable pests. Oca is known to tolerate poor soils and different climatic conditions, which makes it ideal for any British kitchen garden. Plants are attractive too, so gardeners can also cultivate their oca in containers on the patio or decking area.

The nutritional and health-promoting benefits of oca make it well worth growing. It boasts a wide range of micro and macro nutrients including Vitamin C, iron, zinc, calcium, flavonoids, B vitamins and fibre. It is an excellent source of carbohydrates and phosphorus, as well as essential amino acids that promote the health and proper function of muscles, organs, nails, hair, skin and more. Oca is also notably low in calories.

Oca tubers

Oca or New Zealand yam is available from Thompson & Morgan’s website . Due to the popularity of this nutritious, knobbly tuber and as T&M is only despatching oca until the end of March, customers are being offered 5 tubers for £4.50 and 10 tubers for £6.50 – half their original price. Gardeners will find full growing details for oca on the T&M website

Recipe idea

Rosemary roasted oca: Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Wash and then cut any larger oca into chunks so that they’re all roughly the same size. Toss in just enough olive or sunflower oil to coat and then sprinkle with fresh rosemary leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes for very small ones, 20-25 minutes or so for larger oca. They’re ready when they feel tender when pierced with a knife.

Parent Category: Our Blogs
Category: New Plants Reviews
Last Updated: 01 March 2017
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The 2017 'Best New Bedding Plant' Award goes to...



Petunia 'NightSky'



Petunia NightSky® 

Novelty won the day at the ‘2017 Grower Of The Year Awards’ in London last week with the  extra-ordinary colour breakthrough of Petunia ‘Night Sky®taking the award for ‘Best New Bedding or Pot Plant’.

This exciting new flower form with its robust plant habit proved to be the ‘must have’ plant in 2016 for retail patio programmes and all indications are that demand in 2017 is looking to be much the same with home gardeners asking after this variety by name!

NightSky®had already received International worldwide acclaim since its industry launch, obtaining the 2016 Fleurostar Award. In 2016 saw its global introduction to the Home Gardener, including a shortlisting at the prestigious RHS Chelsea ‘Plant of the Year’ competition in May.

But this variety was first seen in the UK by the trade at the Ball Colegrave 2015 Summer Showcase as one of their new variety introductions for the 2016 season. It soon became the talking point of the showcase and a firm favourite of our visitors. However, at the 2016 Summer Showcase (which attracted over 3,000 Growers, Retailers, Parks, Landscapers, Garden Writers, Plant Breeders, Trades Associations, Students and Home Gardeners), it was evident Petunia NightSky® had indeed been a huge success, stealing the top slot as the visitors No.1 favourite variety. Not bad going with over 1300 catalogue varieties, 300 new varieties and 700 experimental products on display for visitors to choose from as their favourite!

Parent Category: Our Blogs
Category: New Plants Reviews
Last Updated: 01 March 2017
Hits: 305