Big blue poppy goes on trial

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has begun trials of the large blue poppy Meconopsis at its Garden Harlow Carr attraction near Harrogate.

Experts from the RHS Rock Garden Plant Trial Assessment Panel, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and the Alpine Garden Society will perform a series of tests on the plant over the next few years.

By 2013, they should have decided which of the 23 cultivars, if any, deserve an Award of Garden Merit and recommendation for sale to the general public.

Two of the aims of the trials are to compare the different hybrids and work out whether there is any truth in the belief that the plants cannot flourish in certain regions.

As such, there are also specimens growing at a number of other RHS sites, including the Devon-based Lady Annes Garden at Garden Rosemoor and Garden Wisley in Surrey.

In other news, the RHS has recommended that garden and greenhouse enthusiasts protect their plants against late frosts, which could cause problems right into June.