This summer will be the third year that Head Gardener, Tom Brown and his team have carried out planting trials at Parham to find the best varieties of cut flowers and plants for the borders.
Tom worked previously at RHS Wisley where he managed the Trials Field, he has continued his interest with plant trialling at Parham. Sunflowers, tulips, alliums and sweet peas have been displayed and trialled previously and this year it is gladioli, zinnias and dahlias.
To celebrate the year of the zinnia, 50 cut flower types from the UK and America are being trialled to find the right variety that best complements the fresh flower displays used throughout the House, a tradition since the 1920s which is still maintained today.
Fifty different Dahlias have been planted in association with Witypitts Dahlias (who supply cut flowers to Covent Garden) along the outer border of the Walled Garden. The garden team will experiment with the traditional method of dis-budding the plants to see whether this produces the best cut flower. It is important to the team to grow and promote a diversity of cultivars old and new to ensure we maintain a healthy range of types for our gardens and domestic gardens in the future.
We are trialling 80 types of gladioli this year, with 100 bulbs of each type in a 1sq/m plot. Favourites will be selected to grow in the garden in the future.
In August all three main trials of dahlia, zinnia and gladioli will be providing the garden with an unrivalled spectacle which will result in a celebration in the form of opulent flower displays throughout the House in late summer.
There will be an informal talk about the trials as part of our Garden Weekend event on Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th July. The Garden Weekend is our flagship event, showcasing high-quality specialist nurseries. It is also one of the best garden weekends in the South East of England for viewing and buying really top quality plants.