• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

A brief lull between assessments

Winter in the Trials Office... feet up on the desk, coffee, cake and long chats...?

Some people seem to think that once the summer is over, there is no real work taking place in the Trials Office at RHS Garden Wisley. However, the truth is somewhat different.

sprouts on trialAssessments of our trials continued until the end of October when the Vegetable Forum met to judge the leek and Brussels sprout trials. Afterwards they tasted those sprouts which already hold the AGM or are likely to receive it at the end of the trial (currently 11 in total).

Unfortunately it was one of those days when all the meeting rooms were booked. So we had to squeeze into Weatherhill Cottage where the cooking facilities are somewhat limited, so I could only cook two varieties at a time. One existing AGM may well be rescinded if the comments on the sprouts’ taste are any guide!

Ongoing work

I’m still spending time on the Trials Field recording. Some clematis are still flowering, some agapanthus are sending up new flower stems, the occasional leek is bolting and the heights of all the Brussels sprouts need measuring. I have been measuring the leeks as they were lifted, but all the data needs putting into a spreadsheet and I have numerous photographs to label. I’m also sourcing a few more agapanthus entries to fill the empty space at the end of the trial at Wisley and also Pelargonium (more commonly known as bedding geranium) for the trial next summer.

Reports and Reviews

I’ve been involved with two trials review meetings in November. All the woody trials currently in the ground at Wisley and at off-site gardens were reviewed at the first meeting and the forum’s final AGM recommendations were agreed, sometimes after much debate, for the Ribes sanguineum (flowering currant) and late, large-flowered clematis trials. Once I’ve compiled them into a summary report, these recommendations are then put forward to the main Woody Plant Committee for ratification at the next meeting in February. If approved, the results can be released and the final reports written. The second part of the meeting was spent discussing the forum’s wish-list for future trials with the first assessments scheduled for 2019 and 2020.

Hamamelis trial groundThe second review meeting was with the Vegetable Forum. The results of the autumn-headed cauliflower trial we held in Spalding were discussed and the final AGM recommendations were agreed. The forum discussed the detail of the plans for next year’s vegetable trials although these will be taken on by one of the other trials officers.

New Year

The scary thought is that in six weeks’ time, I have my next assessment, the first of 2016, when the Hamamelis Forum meets at Witch Hazel Nursery in Kent. Then the following week, the Vegetable Forum comes to Wisley to assess the leeks and Brussels sprouts again. Another year of trials begins!

Useful links

Award of Garden Merit
Plant trials

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