The Zinnia forum of the Royal Horticultural Society in the U.K. has attributed an Award of Garden Merit to 20 Zinnia varieties planted at RHS’ flagship garden Wisley within the framework of the Fleuroselect ‘2017, Year of the Zinnia’ marketing campaign. No less than 146 varieties were entered for this trial by Fleuroselect member companies. These varieties were also on display at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. Visitors to both gardens could admire a wealth of Zinnia varieties all summer long.
On 31st July and 12th September, the forum held two meetings to assess the Zinnias on the trial field. The following varieties are awarded: Bright Pink, Golden Yellow, Salmon Rose and Giant Scarlet from the Giant series (Benary); Queeny Lime Red (Dittmar/Floragran); Purple Prince, Desert Sun and Old Mexico as well as Burgundy Bicolour, Orange and Red Bicolour from the Aztec series (Thompson & Morgan); Zinderella Peach and Soleado (Van Hemert & Co); Zowie! Yellow Flame (Syngenta Flowers); Solmar Red (Floranova); Fire and Salmon Rose from the Double Zahara series as well as Cherry Improved and Coral Rose from the Zahara series (PanAmerican Seed), Envy (Mr Fothergills/Johnsons). Furthermore, the forum reconfirmed the Award of Garden Merit to Yellow and Scarlet from the Dreamland F1 series (Takii). It should be noted that it was considered unfair by the collective forum to judge on the Zinnia Profusion range as the planting bed had suffered from Sclerotinia. This series will be retested next year by a new display.
The Zinnia forum is made up by field experts from the RHS Ornamental Tender Committee and Herbaceous committee, head gardeners from public and private gardens, staff from RHS and Kew gardens, bedding plant specialists from the industry, horticulture journalists and nursery experts.
The jury stated: “This season has been unusual, we have experienced early warmth and very dry conditions sending soil temperatures up. This made for a very successful start for the Zinnia display. Zinnias prefer warmer nights when they are transferred outside for greatest success hence our need to bring the initial assessment date forward. The second half of the summer was wet and cool which led to quite a number of plants succumbing to fungal infections. The unusual weather conditions made a good test for the Zinnias as to how well they coped with changeable conditions.”
2018: over 150 marigold varieties on display in the UK, Germany and France
Within the framework of the international ‘2018, Year of the Marigold’ promotion campaign, an extensive Marigold trial will be planted at the RHS’ flagship garden Wisley (UK), Jardin des Plantes in Paris (FR) and Ega Park in Erfurt (DE) in the summer of 2018. Currently, over 150 varieties have been entered by Fleuroselect member companies including Ameriseeds, Benary, Burpee, Floranova, Hem Genetics, HM.Clause, Thompson&Morgan, Mr Fothergills, PanAmerican Seed, Sakata Ornamentals, Suttons and Syngenta Flowers. The marigolds will be on show the entire summer to inspire the international trade public and flower lovers in general.