Early September is a great time for a quick retrospective on the hits and misses of the 2012 growing season. Given the sodden weeks of early summer and the slug and snail apocalypse, it's a wonder anything has grown, but there were a few bright spots here and there.
I got sent two sets of plug plants by Unwins to try - Campanula 'Iridescent Bells' from Unwins - I can't show you a picture because all three plug plants got munched by slugs despite my best efforts, and the plant is no longer on their website. I had more success with Agastache 'Blue Fortune': one of the three plugs didn't survive the slug onslaught, but the other two made it through to flowering (pictured left). These are definitely a keeper: the pollinating insects love the blooms, and the leaves are edible, too: they taste like licorice in leaf form, and I am now addicted to munching them at every opportunity. I am not sure whether to keep them in a container or plant them out in the border, but I think I'll keep one in a container as an insurance policy against pests.
Other sacrifices to the slugs were my Zinnia 'Queen Red Lime' seedlings, from seeds provided by Thompson & Morgan, and Tithonia 'Fiesta Del Sol' from Higgledy Garden. I had a bit more success with T&M's Nasturtium 'Troika': I liked the variegated leaves and it made good ground cover but didn't really do what I want it to - climb up this willow obelisk with the mangetout pea 'Shiraz' also from T&M. Most of the 'Shiraz' got munched by slugs (notice a theme developing here?) and the 'Troika' didn't seem to want to climb but the plain-leaved climbing nasturtiums grown from seed from Lidl did a bit better. Oh, and my Mina lobata seedlings grown from seeds from Higgledy Garden got smashed by hailstones, and replacement plug plants from Sarah Raven never got past a few inches tall. All in all, I just wished I'd put sweet peas up the obelisks as I'd done the previous year with great success.
I was very restrained in my selection of tomato varieties to sow this year, sowing just two: the yellow cherry 'Sungold' and the bush tomato 'Bajaja', both from T&M. 'Sungold' lived up to its reputation as a sweet little performer, and 'Bajaja' was shaping up nicely into a big (80cm across) plant until a couple got hit by blight: the 'Sungold' wasn't affected. A couple of plants of 'Bajaja' weren't too badly affected but the big disappointment was that the little red tomatoes just didn't taste very nice: especially when compared with 'Sungold', which were little balls of sweetness that exploded in your mouth. I've just been sent some organic 'Sweetie' tomato seeds by Unwins who have recently teamed up with Garden Organic on a new range of organic seeds. They're definitely on the list for next spring, but can they beat 'Sungold'? I'll let you know this time next year!