Nursery walks and workshops form part of Norfolk grower's buyers' days

Almost 100 industry professionals travelled from as far as Belfast, Edinburgh and Glasgow for two buyers' days hosted by Darby Nursery Stock in Methwold, Norfolk, last week.

Nursery walks were made through container trees, conifers and shrubs on the airfield sand beds and Methwold Hythe glasshouses. Visitors saw that Darby's hardy nursery stock has withstood recent severe frosts well.

Darby co-owner Jane Darby led workshops on the firm's new plant introductions and Temptations promotions for 2009. Guest speaker Patrick Fairweather gave talks on the theme From Breeder to Gardener, explaining the trials and assessment procedures for all of his introductions.

Buyers who were involved in sales trials last year spoke enthusiastically about Cordyline 'Pink Passion', which is standing up to low temperatures well so far, French lavender 'Night of Passion', rosemary 'Roman Beauty' (bred by the late Chris Fairweather, Patrick Fairweather's father), dwarf Aquilegia 'Atlantis' and A. 'Calimero'.

There was debate over Verbena 'Edith Edelman', bred in New York State. Some garden centres sold out of trial batches quickly, while others were less sure about the deep red colour which pales to pink with age.

Hardy verbenas are being used increasingly as perennial bedding in containers and need no more than a trim back in their second spring, the audience reported.

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