Published: 12:00, 24 April 2017
The 2017 garden season is all about quick and easy gardening, saving time and maximising space with a fun focus on edibles that can be grown in pots.
There can’t be anything more exciting and tasty than the new raspberry Malling Happy, bred by Lubera in partnership with East Malling Research station, at East Malling, near Maidstone.
It’s robust and begins to bear huge, aromatic fruit at the beginning of August. The fruits are in a beautiful conical shape and, better still, the canes are thornless from top to bottom.
Malling Passion is another new raspberry breakthrough, a cross between the black American raspberry and the garden raspberry. The dark purple fruit also has a strong aroma and a delicious flavor. This one fruit at the beginning of October so gardeners can extend their season. Price £4.40 in 1.3 litre pot, visitlubera.co.uk
Edible flowers are the ‘in thing’ and I will be trying Thomson & Morgan’s nasturtiums Cream Troika – nasturtiums are easy to grow and these can go in hanging baskets. A new ornamental pepper Sweet Boneta is also on my trial list and a packet of seeds can be bought for 99p.
Thomson & Morgan has also introduced new tomatoes and I’ll be trying two types;Tiger Red- a premium variety with green striping that promises to be rich in taste and Sweet Aperitifwith small fruits and lots of sweetness.
For more summer dishes I have also chosen a new pepper, Sweet Boneta, which has a strong but mild taste, while for windowsill, I have high expectations of the new Wasabi wild rocket.
At £1.99 a packet it should give me summer-long, distinctive tasting salad leaves.
For cottage garden borders I have my eye on the new scabious kudosthat’s a favourite for bees and butterflies; the plants come in white and purple with five Postiplugs for £9.99.
'Dahlias are back in vogue and you don’t have to have a big garden to grow Ice and Fire, a dwarf plant for patio containers'
The new Petunia Amore Queen of Hearts looks fun for those who like a dash of colour in their containers and this red and yellow plant has five hearts on each bloom!
Dahlias are back in vogue and you don’t have to have a big garden to grow Ice and Fire, a dwarf plant for patio containers. There is no need for staking so enjoy the late summer show of red and white blooms.
I’m also growing a new fuchsia, Icing Sugar, which arrived as healthy Postiplugs and again I put them keep them in pots on the patio so I can enjoy the frosted purple and cerise blooms. Visit Thompson-morgan.com
With so much aimed at container gardening you’ll need something to put them in that is also practical and decorative.
Dutch firm Elho creates streamline pots and planters in fresh colour combinations and designs for balconies, gardens and indoors.
The funky U-shaped Corsica doorstopper £14.99is a unique planter that fits at the edge of a back door to stop it slamming in the wind. The 10-litre container is on wheels so nice and easy to move – I’ve filled mine with freesia bulbs from Van Meeuwan nurseries and hope for some lovely scent. Visit vanmeuwen.com
Elho’s planter for herbs, tomatoes or flowers is ideal for people who find difficulty bending or it’s perfect for introducing children to gardening. Price £40,visitelho.com
Small, compact and lightweight is the theme with many new tools to suit modern living. Not everyone has the space for garden sheds to store them or the strength to wield them.
My favouritetools for the season includeWilkinson Sword’s Ultra lightweight bypass loppers; they weigh only 450gm, that’s 50% lighter than a standard pair of loppers. The aluminium handles are strong with soft comfortable grips and a 25mm cutting capacity. They make light work of cutting hydrangea heads and bigger shrubs. Price from £29.99, visitwilkinsonsword-tools.co.uk.
Fiskars also continues to lead with imaginative tools and its new light spade has a well-designed pointed cutting edge for easier digging. At 1,110grammes it is ideal for light w in normal and soft garden soil (not rocky or heavy clay). Price from £30, visitfiskars.co.uk
As well as funky Sophie Conran garden accessories in gorgeous blue and green prints, Burgon& Ball has introduced fluorescent hand tools for those of us who tend to forget where they have left them in the garden, including gloves and secateurs (guilty as charged) and they even have a Hip-trugthat frees your hands for deadheading and harvesting.
It comes in two sizes £9.99 and £12.99 from all good garden centres or visit burgonandball.com
For walking in and out of the garden, I’ve invested in a pair of slip-on backdoor shoes. They are light and durable and I’m not sure how I managed before I got them.
They come in a range of colourful patterns and although mine are decorated with bluebells they also come in plain shades. Ladies sizes from UK 3-8 and Men’s UK 8-14 from £25. More at Visitbackdoorshoes.co.uk