Yes, it’s time for our annual review of our best selling plants, and this year we thought we would make it a little more interesting by compiling two top tens, one based on number of plants sold and one for sales based on total revenue, just to see how different those lists might be. So, without further ado, here’s the first top ten for 2017 (quantity sold):
1 Summerina (Echibeckia) Orange
2 Thalictrum Black Stockings
3 Penstemon Dark Towers
4 Heuchera Midnight Rose
5 Kniphofia Orange Vanilla Popsicle
6 Heuchera Black Taffeta
7 Heuchera Cherry Cola
8 Corydalis Blue Heron
9 Heuchera Blondie
10 Heucherella Solar Eclipse
So that’s six new entries and one non-mover as Summerina (aka Echibeckia) Orange hangs on to its position at number one and the ever popular Thalictrum Black Stockings and a brace of Heucheras, the hot pink spotted Midnight Rose and the darkly brooding Black Taffeta, move up the charts a bit. This list is indeed something of an affirmation of the continuing vogue for heucheras (and their close relations x Heucherella), as they occupy half of the top ten positions! So it’s quite nice to see the gorgeous Corydalis Blue Heron slip quietly in amongst them at number 8. It’s some plant is Blue Heron, with attractively fine bluish foliage, reddish stems and intense china blue flowers for much of the year, given a nice spot with a bit of shade and a soil that doesn’t dry out too much.
So how different will the top ten based on actual revenue look? Well, lets find out as here it is.
1 Abutilon Red Tiger
2 Summerina (Echibeckia) Orange
3 Cordyline Charlie Boy
4 Thalictrum Black Stockings
5 Brunnera Silver Heart
6 Parahebe Snow Clouds
7 Penstemon Dark Towers
8 Araucaria Araucana
9 Podophyllum Spotty Dotty
10 Eryngium x Zabelii Big Blue
Interestingly there are only three plants that appear in both top tens, our old friends Summerina Orange and Thalictrum Black Stockings, and then there’s the tall and elegant Penstemon Dark Towers, a plant with presence if ever there was one, as well as being possessed of a good name. It has the power of television to thank for its successful 2017, as a mention of it on the Gardeners’ World preview of the RHS Hampton Court Show triggered an immediate and significant upsurge in demand for it. Rob was sitting comfortably in his armchair watching the programme and, within minutes of the featured exhibitor saying that Penstemon Dark Towers was the most remarked on plant on her display, his phone started vibrating every 30 seconds or so as the orders came flooding in. Thank you BBC.
An interesting appearance on the list is that of Araucaria Araucana – the monkey puzzle tree to its friends – which proved a popular thing, especially at shows, and demand certainly outstripped supply as the season wore on. Luckily we will have more ready in 2018. Two other plants that we could have sold more of, had we grown them in bigger quantities, were the invader from outer space (or possibly from prehistory) Podophyllum Spotty Dotty and the irrepressibly splendid Eryngium Big Blue, which always sells well right from the start of the season.
But it’s not a huge surprise to discover what’s nestling on top of the tree: it’s the magnificent Abutilon Red Tiger, so rarely seen on this side of the Atlantic (we were delighted to see one in the conservatory at West Woodhay in June), and one of those plants that pretty much sells on sight. Again we had to call a halt to sales despite continuing demand, to ensure that we will maintain availability into the new season. Will it retain its pole position then? Only time will tell. Report back here in twelve months’ time and we will reveal all.
Rob and Joanna – January 2018