Last week, Ade and I were invited to visit Thompson & Morgan’s Floral Fantasia garden at RHS Hyde Hall. Having never been to Hyde Hall, we were only too happy to sneak off for a mid-week jolly, and spend the day exploring the beautiful gardens in the sunshine. And if you haven’t been to Hyde Hall recently, now is definitely the time to go, as hidden deep in the grounds and launched only last month is Thompson & Morgan’s Floral Fantasia exhibition, a dazzling display of their summer bedding plant range.
Crammed with over 14,000 plants, from old favourites such as dahlias and digitalis, to some brand new showstoppers, including the aptly-named, Sunbelievable™ ‘Brown Eyed Girl’, an award-winning sunflower which flowers continuously until late November, the garden really is a sensory feast.
There are pots, beds, planters and hanging baskets in every direction, all stuffed with colourful blooms and fragrant blossoms. There are some new and novel variations of traditional favourites, including a hydrangea that caught my eye, and I’m not even a fan of hydrangeas! Cascading a profusion of white, delicate flowers, Hydrangea Runaway Bride ‘Snow White’ won Plant of the Year at the Chelsea Flower Show 2018, and it really is something else.
But breath-taking blooms aside, Ade and I were particularly keen to catch up with Colin, Thompson & Morgan’s veg expert, who told us all about their new range of edibles. I was intrigued to hear about Cabbage Collards Champion, a robust leaf which can be used as crispy seaweed in Chinese recipes (yum!), and Herb Parsley Hamburg Arat, an eat-all root that looks rather like a parsnip and can be added to salads.
But Beet Morello is the veg that got our vote, an eat-all variety of beetroot that is ready to harvest within twelve weeks and produces delicious greens, and tender, sweet roots. Apparently, Morello aren’t prone to the woodiness of other beetroot varieties, and they’re small enough to be grown in containers. We can’t wait to try them.
Having sussed out next year’s veg options, we took a final turn around the floral displays and enjoyed a spot of lunch, before heading home.
So, if you love flowers, scent and colour, or are after a psychedelic experience without the laudanum, Thompson & Morgan’s Floral Fantasia is definitely the place to be, and it runs at RHS Hyde Hall until 30th September.