The Rose of the Year Competition is a prestigious annual rose competition that sees new roses trialled for two years prior to their release.  The roses competing for the coveted title of the Rose of the Year are grown alongside each other in a diverse range of locations, from Aberdeen, Hampshire, Northern Ireland, and East Anglia; each location offers differing soil, climate, growing conditions and challenges. 

‘Sweet Crunch’ is an F1 hybrid and a predominantly female cucumber variety that produces half-sized to three-quarter sized cucumbers.  In my Cucumber Trials, I’ve found ‘Sweet Crunch’ is a fast grower that rapidly produces a harvest.  ‘Sweet Crunch’ cucumbers are crunchy and lovely to eat; they have thin, smooth and glossy skins that are devoid of any spines.  These cucumbers have a great flavour and this variety has many good qualities.

Cucumber ‘Mini Munch’ is an F1 hybrid.  This all-female cucumber produces petit-sized cucumbers that will grow up to a maximum of half the size of a standard cucumber when the fruit are fully grown and developed.

This is a fantastic, smooth-skinned cucumber with lovely thin skins and no spines whatsoever.  ‘Mini Munch’ cucumbers taste delicious at every stage – from when they’re the size of the tiniest sized pickled gherkin. 

Lathyrus odoratus ‘Kingfisher’ was introduced in 1993 by Peter Grayson.  This Grandiflora sweet pea produces attractive, pastel violet-blue coloured flowers.

In the UK, we can sow Lathyrus odoratus ‘Kingfisher’ seeds from September through until April, which gives us plenty of opportunities to grow these wonderful plants!  Lathyrus odoratus ‘Kingfisher’ is a tall climbing plant that requires a wigwam or support frame to grow up.

‘Moonlight’ is a lovely white-flowered runner bean that was bred by Tozer Seeds, in the UK.  This is a tall, climbing runner bean.

Runner bean ‘Moonlight’ seeds are widely available.  Very occasionally ‘Moonlight’ runner beans are available to purchase as plants – try your local garden centre, or search for online retailers and mail order suppliers.  Plants tend to be significantly more expensive than seeds. 

Runner bean ‘Snowstorm’ is a tell climbing runner bean variety that was bred in the UK by Tozer Seeds.  ‘Snowstorm’ is an easy to grow, productive variety with pretty white flowers.  This variety has been created by crossing French beans with runner beans to create a runner bean cultivar that is is pollinated more readily and more reliable at cropping.  Tozer have bred a number of runner bean cultivars with French bean genetics in their family tree as part of their extensive breeding programme, that has ran for more than twenty years. 

Runner bean ‘Benchmaster’ is a runner bean with handsome red flowers and long runner beans.  This is a good variety to grow if you’re thinking of entering your runner beans into your local flower show.

Runner bean ‘Benchmaster’ is a tall, climbing runner bean that will grow up to a minimum of 2m (6.5ft) tall, and taller!  If you’re growing ‘Benchmaster’, it’s vital to provide your runner bean plants with a sturdy support frame that will be strong enough to hold the full height and weight of your mature runner bean plants, together with a hefty harvest of runner beans, and will be robust enough to withstand high winds and storms. 

‘Polestar’ is a tall climbing runner bean that will grow to at least 2m (6.5ft) tall and like other climbing runner beans, will happily grow taller!  Runner bean ‘Polestar’ plants have red flowers and produce runner beans with a good flavour.  ‘Polestar’ was the first stringless runner bean bred by Tozer Seeds.

Runner beans are available to purchase as seeds, or occasionally as plants – try your local garden centre or search for online retailers and mail order suppliers. 

Runner bean ‘St George’ is a very ornamental runner bean cultivar that produces striking red and white bi-coloured flowers.  This is an ideal choice of runner bean if you’re looking to grow decorative, yet flavourful, edible plants.

‘St George’ is a climbing runner bean that will grow up to a minimum of 2m (6.5ft) tall.  All tall climbing runner bean plants require substantial support frames that are strong enough to hold full-sized runner bean plants, along with the weight of their beans, but are also robust enough to hold the beans and plants whilst withstanding high winds and storms. 

Runner bean ‘Firestorm’ (also known by the botanical name, Phaseolus coccineus ‘Firestorm’) is a climbing runner bean variety that was bred in the UK by Tozer Seeds.  ‘Firestorm’ is an easy to grow, productive variety with handsome red flowers and delicious runner beans.

‘Firestorm’ has been available for a few years now – this particular runner bean has a truly excellent flavour and texture. 

Cucumber ‘Party Time’ is a new all-female, parthenocarpic cucumber that was bred by Henk van der Velde from Burpee Europe and launched in 2020. This variety produces half-sized to three-quarter-sized cucumbers without any spines, just lovely smooth skin.  The flavour is lovely and refreshing, just as cucumbers should be!  ‘Party Time’ cucumbers are nice and crunchy, too!

In the UK, the time to sow ‘Party Time’ cucumber seeds is from the beginning of March through until June (early spring to late spring). 

Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica is a fabulous plant to have in your garden during January, February, and March, when this clematis produces these lovely cream-coloured, pendent flowers that are so beautifully freckled in maroon.  This is an evergreen clematis with handsome, ferny foliage that nicely compliments Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica flowers.  The flowers transform into sumptuously silky, fluffy seed heads as they fade.

Runner Bean ‘Little Runners’ is a full size, climbing runner bean cultivar that produces smaller sized runner beans.  ‘Little Runners’ beans tend to grow as wide as regular sized runner beans but these beans are quite a bit shorter in length.  However, ‘Little Runners’ have the same taste and texture as regular runner beans, and they have a nice flavour, too.

I absolutely adore Clematis ‘Kaiu’; this plant’s pretty bell-shaped flowers look as if they were created for a flower fairy!  These gorgeous blooms are white in colour, they’re enhanced by a dusting of mauve from above, which only serves to heighten this plant’s beauty.  This is such a pretty climber with so much going for it, as Clematis ‘Kaiu’ is blessed with a long flowering season. 

Lonicera periclymenum is a gorgeous plant.  This is an easy-going climber that’s very eager to grow.  Plants confidently cover fences and archways, weaving their magic as they stitch hedgerows together.  Lonicera periclymenum is a wild plant of many European countries.  With so many people feeling connected to this lovely plant there are likely to be a multitude of common names for Lonicera periclymenum; in the UK it’s often known as Honeysuckle. 

Although watermelons can be grown very successfully outdoors in the UK (once all risk of frost has passed); I must tell you straight away that watermelon seeds need to be started off inside a glasshouse, polytunnel, or consevatory.  ‘Little Darling’ plants need to grow within the confines of a warm and protected environment until all risk of frost has passed (which is usually from late May to the middle of June, depending on where you garden – in the UK).

Pea ‘Rosakrone’ (Pisum sativum ‘Rosakrone’) is super pea variety that produces these dainty, rose-pink and ivory coloured flowers.  Plants produce small to medium sized green pea pods that can be eaten young (as mangetout), or allowed to develop into deliciously sweet green peas.  This is a decorative and reliable vegetable that will succeed in a sunny and open site, in almost any moist, but well-drained soil.

Watermelons are great fun to grow!  If you’re wondering whether we can grow these delicious fruits in the UK, the answer is yes we can grow watermelons!  However, these plants will need to be started off in the protection and warmth of a glasshouse, polytunnel, or conservatory, and in the north of the country, (and in exposed positions) it may be preferable for watermelons to spend their entire lives indoors.

Grapevines (also known by their botanical name Vitis vinifera) are decorative climbing plants that produce delicious grapes and handsome leaves.  These wonderful plants can be very productive.  Grapevines are versatile plants; a range of varieties are available, you’ll find grapevines that are suited to growing outdoors in gardens and allotments, or types that favour the improved growing conditions found inside conservatories, porches, glasshouses, and polytunnels.

French beans (known by their botanical name, Phaseolus vulgaris) are such lovely vegetables to grow.  These plants are both productive and decorative, with attractive flowers.  French beans are super plants that will truly enhance your garden; the beans they produce taste delicious, too!

Firstly, take care to select the type of French bean you want to grow.  There are two types of French beans: tall climbing French beans (often called ‘Pole Beans’) that grow up to 8ft (2.5m) tall (and taller!)