The Blackberry Garden Plant of the Year Award 2023

Now in its tenth year, it is time for the Blackberry Garden 'Plant of the Year' 2023 award. As ever this competition has been hotly contested by plants who had no idea they were being judged and could not care less when the results were announced.

Anyone would think the only person taking this award seriously is me!  Anyhoo, let us begin with the shortlist....... and the category is 'most inspiring pinks'.  

Actually there are no categories, but it turns out that I seem to have a lot of pink in the garden these days.
Salix Mount Aso has had a good year.  It did the fluffy pink thing when it was meant to.  This is my second attempt at growing this shrub and I have kept this one in a container to see if it would fare better.  It has, so to reward it for continuing to live I have now planted it into the garden.  This might have been a mistake..... time will tell.
I have this pink Tree Peony for several years now (name lost).  It flowers well every year and this year was particularly good.  A worthy runner up.
This pink winter flowering cherry, (name also lost) was an early planting in the garden.  Every December it starts to flower and brings a real moment of joy.  There is something about its reliability that makes it so special.
Moving on into the not quite so but almost pink: the crocus Thomasina have been brilliant this year.  So brilliant, they really shone.  I planted in the first autumn I lived here as I was lured in by the promise that they would naturalise in the garden.  They have clumped up well and the odd one pops up now where I know I did not plant it.  Best of all though, the bees love them.
Talking of popping up, well ok, this is not a self-seeded peony, I clearly bought this peony and planted it.  I think I have a vague memory of this and yet..... I first noticed it properly a year or so ago but it did not flower.  This year it has been worth the wait because look how beautiful she is?  Do I know her name - no of course not, I don't remember buying her!  But she is wonderful and clearly a good purchase.
In the Smell me and Dye garden the marigolds have worked really hard.  They have been fantastic.  A worthy mention in this Award.
Similarly these annual chrystanthemum carinatum have been rays of sunshine in the garden.  

Ok, its time for the runners up - and this was very hard to decide so lets start with 'most determind to grow'
I have a thing about passionflowers but they do not have a thing about me.  I try to grow them every now and again but rarely to great success.  This white one however has been really good this year.  Bought as a pack of three they are now overwintering in the greenhouse and I am really hoping I can get them through the winter.

Next up: 'darling I waited'
This is the Stewartia pseudocamellia I bought several years ago.  This is a tree I have tried to grow a few times and this one I kept in a container in the Courtyard Garden for its several years where it grew well and had fabulous autumn colour.  It did not flower though and this made me a little sad.  Last year (Autumn 2022) I planted it into the very early stages of the Smell Me and Dye Garden.  I was delighted this Spring to see buds forming and lo and behold it flowered.  Well worth the wait and almost, really almost the winner of the award.

Second prize goes to 'gosh you are beyond expectations'
Pelagonium Antik Pink is a climbing pelagonium and has reached about 2/3 feet tall.
I bought her as three plugs last year and she grew well. I overwintered her in the conservatory where she kept growing and kept flowering all winter.  She has gone on to flower all year whilst summering outside and is now flowering away in the conservatory again.  This is just the most amazing plant and she has blown me away.  She should have won, why has she not won??


a favourite stepped in and snatched the crown.  A favourite returning to past glories and making this her best flowering for many years.

Dear reader I present to you the Blackberry Garden Plant of the Year.......
Dahlia Waltzing Mathilda is my favourite dahlia.  I did not choose her, she chose me.  Many years ago I ordered Bishop of Llandaff but when it flowered it was Waltzing Mathilda.  I had to look through the catalogue to work out what this plant was.  At first I was unsure but she has become an absolute favourite.  Every year I grow her, every year I love her.  Sometimes I grow her in pots, sometimes in the border.
This year I grew her in the Smell Me and Dye Garden and she loved it.  She thrived and she flowered and flowered.  If she was not already my favourite then she would have become my favourite.

Congratulations Waltzing Mathilda - Queen of Dahlias and Queen of my garden this year.  

As ever the bar is set high - the competition commences for 2024: who will win? time will tell.....

Previous winners can be found here

Take care and be kind.

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