Buying on sight still appeals most

Plug plants on sale at Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre.Plug plants on sale at Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre.
Plug plants on sale at Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre.
Fruit sections exist in main catalogues. Some firms also publish separate brochures, but I still like to have Ken Muir's and Pomona Fruits to hand.

The spring issue of the latter is offering asparagus crowns, four of which grow in this garden. Guelph Millennium is good for the North, Gijnlim is first to emerge, Pacific 2000 has a good flavour and Stewarts Purple melts in your mouth. If 12 crowns for £18.50 appears expensive just think of it as an investment in 20 or so years of delicious harvesting.

The same applies to a thornless blackberry Loch Ness we have grown. It is easily propagated by layering any tips near ground level, weighing them down and letting nature take its course. Such regeneration nullifies cost so Black Butte, with its giant fruits and priced at £15.50 from the Pomona catalogue, seems a no-brainer.

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Specialist catalogues are useful at certain times of year and this is one. I’m thumbing through the Woolmans 2017 issue in search of chrysanthemums to perform as well as last year’s, even though there are stem cuttings in the propagator. Although it does dahlias and other ornamentals, this is its speciality.

My favourite source of highly-scented garden pinks is Allwoods, and the cheerful ladies who run Hayloft Plants present herbaceous perennials so well.

The search for quality garden equipment begins by browsing Two Wests and Elliott and Harrod Horticultural.

None of this obviates a visit to your garden centre, where the quality of plants and prices can be compared. Buying on sight and taking home immediately has more appeal than awaiting mail order.

The role of catalogues is to keep you informed and able to make decisions when face to face with the real thing.

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