The most colourful trial at the RHS garden at Wisley this year is the trial of multiflora petunias. Well, let me re-phrase that: ...sometimes the most colourful trial...
The first time I looked at the trial was following an absolute deluge… and out of 202 entries to the trial only a very few were looking good – the low, spreading, ground-hugging types in the Opera Supreme and Shock Wave series. The rest were just battered by the rain and had not recovered – the very worst affected were probably those with white edges to the petals.
Two weeks later, the trial was transformed – a sparkling vision of colour - even though there’d been a shower the day before which had left the flowers of many entries spotted. The veined types, by the way, seemed to resist spotting most effectively. Again the Opera Supreme and Shock Wave series were outstanding.
Over the two visits these were the most colourful varieties, the most uniform, and came back after rain or resisted the rain most effectively; ‘Opera Supreme Purple’ stood out above them all for resisting the deluge and coming back well and for not spotting after the shower, other exceptional ones were: ‘Celebrity Pink’, ‘Celebrity Mid Blue’, ‘Hurrah Salmon’, ‘Hurrah Coral Fire’, ‘Frenzy Pink Morn’, ‘Frenzy Light Blue’, ‘Prime Time Pink’, ‘Prime Time Lavender’, ‘Horizon Bright Rose’, ‘Horizon Lavender’, ‘Baby Duck’, ‘Pink Lady’ plus, in the Opera Supreme Series, Pink Morn, Lilac Ice, and Blue, as well as ‘Shock Wave Pink Vein’ and ‘Shock Wave Purple’.
The summer still has a lot to throw at them – heat, as well as rain, I expect – but already this trial proves that there are some varieties that deal with the worst weather outstandingly well.