The Blackberry Garden Plant of the Year Award 2019

Now in its seventh year, it is time for the Blackberry Garden Plant of the Year 2019 Award.  This award, which at first was mocked in the garden by those who did not win it, is now fiercely contested and totally derided by those who do not win.  This year in particular there have been representations from plants that have felt overlooked or, indeed, damned for their general 'being a good doer' and so nothing special is thought of them when they do good.  This representation has been taken seriously and noted in that file 'don't forget'.

This year, dear readers, it has been a hard choice.  I start as ever with the runners up and even this has been difficult to reduce to a reasonable number:

First runner up...
Hosta June, yes, I know, I have chosen a hosta and I am on record as not liking hostas.  Hosta June was given to me by a friend.  I was given a large chunk of it so I divided it into the border and into a pot.  It remained slug-free with no help from me and it grew well.  I looked at it often and admired it.  It is a good hosta and deserves its runner up status.
No, not the coleus though it was a good coleus, the runner up is the blue lobelia.  Whilst it has a vigor that made me think it was on some sort of occupation strategy, it is a very good plant.  Not only did it grow very well and flowered for months, the pollinators loved it and I am now looking to buy more again for this year.  An excellent, excellent plant.
The Tree Peony in the front garden also has to be a runner up.  It gets there by finally flowering and by testing my patience to the limit by making me wait so long.  I tip my hat to you Ms Peony, you deserve this runner up position though I could have easily used the same rationale to refuse to consider you.

This is the last of the runners up.  I could have included so many.  This is the Hamamelis 'Arnold Promise'.  It was an early introduction into the garden and was a mere twig when planted.  Every year it flowers quite early and this year is no exception.  It is, very definitely, a good doer and needs recognition for year on year making me stop and smile.  It is a superb shrub: early (or are they late) flowers, scent and excellent autumn colour.  Even as I write this I wonder if it should have won....

but no, not this year.  This year an unexpected contender proved itself worthy of the £2 I spent on it and thought I was being extravagant in doing so.


This year's Blackberry Garden Plant of the Year Award goes to the Sweet Pea Lathyrus odoratus 'Beth Chatto'.
I bought this Beth Chatto sweet pea plant in April this year.  I virtually never buy sweet peas as plants as I tell myself they are so easy to grow it is foolish to buy them, nay, spendthrift behaviour.  Yet there I was at a nursery wandering the plant benches and there was Beth waving at me.  The plant was very robust and growing so well and I decided it was money well spent.  I had just sown some other sweetpeas and they were germinating but this plant was way ahead of the game.  Yes, yes I know they can be sown in autumn or indeed now at the turn of the year; for me though spring sowing always works best and I am wedded to that routine.
By May Beth was flowering.  I loved her colouring and how delicate the flower was.  It also has nice scent (for what is the point of a sweet pea with no fragrance?).
This sweet pea kept flowering until September.  It was the first and almost the last to be flowering in my garden.  I looked back on my list of plants to consider for the award (oh yes, these days I keep a year-long list of possibles) and knew that this sweet pea had won without doubt.

Congratulations to Lathyrus odoratus 'Beth Chatto' you take your place alongside the previous winners with pride.

I wonder who will win in 2020.......

Previous winners can be found here.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. That's good selection of runner up plants there, I went without any sweet peas this year due to a poor germination/cheap purchase incident. I intend to sow some for 2020 as I missed the lovely scent this year.

    That's a lovely Hosta btw. Happy New Year.


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