EVERY now and again a plant comes along that seems ideal for a certain spot...

And so it was with the red, white and blue Verbena Quartz Mixed F1 Hybrid collection kindly supplied by Thompson & Morgan for the Pondwell community containers at Bullen Cross.

Scroll through our gallery of pictures above to see more pictures of new varieties...

But, while I may have liked the idea of the patriotic dress rehearsal for the queen’s platinum jubilee next year, the slugs and snails loved it even more and munched their way through all the plug plants almost overnight — in spite of chemical precautions.

Isle of Wight County Press:

The Sanvitalia mini sunflower.

So, time to think again, and seed catalogues — especially new introductions in them like Sanvitalia Mini Sunflower from T&M — are always exciting as we enter that time of year for browsing and planning.

Sanvitalia Mini Sunflower seems perfect for those who love sunflowers but have less outdoor space for their typically large blooms.

Despite this genus dating back to the 18th Century, named after Professor Federica Sanvitali, it is uncommon in summer gardens.

Before re-branding it was known as the Mexican creeping zinnia, a species introduced into horticulture as groundcover or hanging basket plant.

At a maximum of 12in, Sanvitalia Mini Sunflower is taller than some varieties, but like all of them this annual does not like transplanting, so it is best grown from seed in-situ.

Creeping zinnia gets its common name from its leaves, which resemble those of zinnia. Its natural habitat includes rocky, dry hills, so it should suit the — on occasion — bone dry Pondwell Hill planters.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Dwarf French Beans Climbing Mix by Suttons.

Some will say it will clash remarkably with the resident geraniums in the containers but freely-translated Sanvitalia means ‘lust for life’ and very hopefully that will be the case. unlike the verbena slug food...

Another new plant on the Western block is the jolly Marigold Kushi Mix named after the Hindi word for ‘Joy’.

Again from T&M this is advertised as the first Indian Marigold available for purchase in the UK.

A beautiful colour mix of yellow and orange blooms is inspired by the gorgeous garlands of marigold flower heads created for Indian weddings and special occasions.

The sunshine blooms will brighten both summer borders and patio pots from July through to September and be perfect to make marigold flower garlands to dress outside spaces for summer gatherings here in the UK.

Turning to new veg, New Dwarf Bean Colour Mix can also be grown in containers as well as open ground because the plants, blooms and ultimately the beans, look great.

The mix combines three delicious fine bean varieties, Compass, Adoration and Mistik — green, yellow and purple bean pods.

If you keep picking them when small you can expect high yields over a long cropping period, the plants reaching no more that 18 inches tall.

Another new patio treat is Tomato Veranda Red F1. I have not yet tried this but its description as a dwarf tomato with big, delicately sweet, flavour sounds lovely.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Tomato Veranda Red F1.

Even outdoors, these tomatoes will be ripe from mid-July through to October.

This bush variety — no pinching-out necessary — is said to produce large crops of smallish tasty toms on plants which will grow, unchecked, to 7ft tall.

British bred, Veranda Red F1 took 15 years to perfect and is very versatile, with some resistance to late blight — which seems essential these days.


  • Raise pots off the ground for the winter, with bricks or pot feet, to prevent waterlogging.
  • Check stored onions and garlic and remove any rotting bulbs immediately. Use onion bags to improve air flow if you haven’t bothered with traditional stringing.
  • Check stored potatoes and remove any that are rotting. Hessian storage sacks allow the spuds to breathe, reduce humidity and with that the risk of rot.
  • Give evergreen hedges a final trim before the bad weather sets in so they look neat and tidy for the winter when they won’t put on much extra growth.
  • Now is a good time to lift and relocate plants once they are dormant.
  • Re-use spent compost from annual container displays and growing bags as a mulch for the garden.
  • Create compost bins for collecting fallen leaves, dead plant material and kitchen veg waste.
  • Collect leaves for making leaf mould as a soil conditioner. Oak, alder and hornbeam will rot down in a year, but beech, sycamore, horse and sweet chestnut take twice as long.

Are you an Isle of Wight gardener with a question for Richard? You can email him on richryde@tiscali.co.uk.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Marigold Kushi Mix in its native land.