Two fine Physocarpus (Ninebarks to American readers)
Just look out of the window

Two great new annuals

NicotianaWhisper There are literally hundreds of new annuals launching for the coming season, but they include two which are noticeable steps forward in breeding in two groups which have already developed a lot in recent decades. And both are from British plant breeders rather than the big American and Japanese breeders.

From the plant breeding company Floranova, comes a completely new type of Nicotiana (flowering tobacco). Although smaller than the big Japanese and American breeders, Floranova has consistently created innovative new types of annuals and has led the world in creating new salvias, new geraniums (pelargonium), new pansies and violas, and even a range of patio vegetables.

Having created the best traditional nicotianas in the world, in recent years Nick Bellfield-Smith at Floranova they’ve brought blood in from less familiar Nicotiana species like N. langsdorfii to create ‘Tinkerbell’ and now from the lovely N. mutabilis to create ‘Whisper’ (above, click to enlarge).

‘Whisper’ has two special features. Like N. mutabilis, the flowers open white then become pink tintedNicotianaWhisperCloseUp eventually maturing to rich pink. That makes a very pretty picture. Its other special feature is that it seems resistant to tobacco blue mold (Peronospora tabacina), a fungal disease which has been devastating nicotianas around the world and which wiped out the trial of nicotianas at the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Wisley a few years ago.

‘Whisper’ is actually a mix of deep pink, rose shades, and appleblossom – which is the one that fades so delightfully. Well worth growing. 

You can find out more about Nicotiana 'Whisper' over on my RHS New Plants blog.

ViolaAllspiceT&M Also from Britain, Charles Valin at Thompson & Morgan has been mentioned here before. He works on a wide range of species – you can read about his work in The Plantsman magazine from the Royal Horticultural Society. For the coming season he has a new viola mixture – in five colours – each colour with a different fragrance. How about that – a few years ago there were more or less no scented pansies and now we have different scents matched to different colours.

You can find out more about Viola 'Allspice' over on my RHS New Plants blog.

Unfortunately this season it seems to be available just about all over the world - except the USA and Canada. Come on T&M, what’s holding you back?

You can order Nicotiana ‘Whisper Mix’ in North America from Michells.

You can order seed of Nicotiana ‘Whisper’ in Britain from Mr Fothergill and Plants of Distinction.

You can order young plants of Nicotiana ‘Whisper’ in Britain from Dobies.

You can order Viola ‘Allspice’ seed in Britain from Thompson & Morgan

You can order young plants of Viola ‘Allspice’ seed in Britain from Thompson & Morgan

You can order seed of Viola 'Allspice' in the rest of the world except North America, from Thompson & Morgan Worldwide.

(Floranova do not sell seed to home gardeners.)