The Blackberry Garden Plant of the Year Award 2016

It's time for the fourth annual Plant of the Year Award and it feels like four years in the garden has now accepted this award and started to compete for it.  There has been so much competition that I have been forced to make notes as the year has progressed so that I do not forget any of the contenders.  As ever, it has been a difficult choice.

Roses always feature in my garden and I do have some varieties I am very fond of.  I have to be strict with myself on this and not just show you ones I really like but give the place to the one that has performed best.  So, with this in mind I have to give a special mention to Rosa Blythe Spirit.
This rose has flowered its little socks off for most of the year.  It is a rose I bought purely because of name as it is a play/film I totally adore and it has the wonderful history that it was written whilst Noel Coward was staying at Portmeirion.  This rose has worked hard to make it a rose I would wish to grow irrespective of its name.  I did not know I wanted a soft yellow rose in the garden, it turns out I wanted three.  It has matured into a great performer and truly worthy of its mention for the award.

Though just when I thought this was settled another rose made a play to be a late contender:
Sir Clough is still flowering even though it is December.  Sir Clough has an unfair advantage in this competition which has to be declared in the interests of transparency.  Sir Clough is probably my favourite rose.  I have three bushes and this year it has done very well.  It is Clough as in Williams Ellis and so also has the Portmeirion connection and as I have oft commented, it just needs a touch more scent to be the perfect rose.  It deserves a special mention this year and so it has crept in at the last moment.

Next on the list is Dianthus superbus
This dianthus has a wafty-floatiness about it that makes it weave through its neighbours in a very attractive manner.  I did not know how much I would like this plant when I sowed it but it has proved to be very useful this year.  I shall definitely be wanting more.

Next up:  the spikies.
I have been having a bit of a love-in with spikies this year, well a careful one anyway.   A little group of agaves has appeared and whilst they need attention over the winter they are great additions to my potted collection in the garden.

Next up is Verbena bampton, the cool cousin of V. bananarama (bonariensis).
It has fantastic dark foliage and stems and little pale flowers that do not look like they will add much to the garden, but get them working with their neighbours and they are fantastic.  This plant very nearly won this year I have been that enamored of it.

But nearly is not good enough in this competition.  The winner has been in constant flower since Spring.  It is a tender plant but bringing it into the conservatory every winter is no great hardship.
It unfurls its petals with a grace and style that few can hope to achieve and the scent draws you into the trumpet flowers.  It is just divine.
It is the Brugmansia, bought a couple of years ago from Kiftsgate House. It is now a large plant and even as I write this in December it still has buds on it.  What a great plant and a truly deserving winner.


  1. Congratulations to the Brugmansia. My vote goes to Verbena bampton - must get that myself!

    1. VB is very easy to grow from seed - it's a great plant- it did nearly win.

  2. Dianthus superbus certainly has an ephemeral appeal... Can see why you chose Brugmansia as the winner though..a thorough charmer...


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