Annuals A - Z: All About Annual Flowers & Plants, by Graham Rice

Discovering Annuals, by Graham Rice

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Trial at the RHS garden at Wisley, 1993

From Garden News

This summer's antirrhinum trial at Wisley was one of three spectacular trials of half hardy annuals and comparing the three one thing was obvious. By the middle of August the antirrhinums were finished, while the salvias and especially the begonias were still going strong at the end of September.

The antirrhinum trial was divided into four sections. There were F1 hybrids in mixtures and separate colours, and the much cheaper, traditional non-hybrids in both mixtures and separate colours

Few of the non-hybrid varieties were as good as the F1s, although amongst the mixtures 'New Dwarf' was very good with an excellent colour balance and a very even habit.

In the single colours the old 'Monarch' varieties in various colours were poor and none of the single colours came anywhere near the F1 hybrids in quality. But there were some unique shades like the crimson 'Black Prince' and the white-throated crimson, 'Night and Day'.


In the dwarf F1s the 'Kim' series of colours stood out. This is a long established series of colours, and although they were not as early as some varieties for general impact they were outstanding. A few individual colours in the 'Chimes' and 'Bells' series were good but for me one of the best of all was 'Floral Showers Lavender'. In soft lavender with a yellow lip it was early and exquisite in colour.

The single colours in the 'Sonnet' series were outstanding amongst the taller F1s, noticeably better than the apparently similar 'Liberty' series which is often easier to find in catalogues. In F1 mixtures, 'Sonnet Mixed' was outstanding in the taller types and the hard to find 'Kim Mixed' in the dwarf ones.

But perhaps the most significant thing to come out of the whole trial is this: there are no rust resistant antirrhinums. The trial was left unsprayed specifically to assess rust resistance and rust attacked every single variety. So take no notice of catalogues which claim rust resistance for their varieties. And if you grow antirrhinums, spray regularly with an appropriate fungicide.

First published in Garden News, 2.11.94

Antirrhinum A-Z


©copyright 1998 Graham Rice. All Rights Reserved. All Images Digitally Watermarked.

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