Gardening 'Oscars' - Get a winner!

If you're in films you win an Oscar, be a radio personality and you win a Sony, be an investigative journalist and you can win a Pullitzer, However what about the 'stars' of the plant world? What about the plants who put on a great performance, what can they win? They do have a prestigious award too, you'll be glad to hear.

It's full name is the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. A mighty mouthful indeed, so its always abbreviated to a more manageable "AGM".  

When you look through catalogues and websites pondering what to grow, you will see AGM written after the names of plants. When you do, you know it's the equivalent of an 'Oscar' winner and the Royal Horticultural Society, no-less, have chosen it for their most esteemed award. So how exactly do they choose who is worthy and who is not?

There are five criteria which have to be met and I'll let you into the process.

1. The plant must be "EXCELLENT for ordinary use in appropriate conditions". The contender must outperform others, perhaps producing more flowers, flower for longer, have better scent, colour or form in the correct conditions for this plant. (ie a Rhododendron will not perform on alkaline soil whether it has a prize or not).

2. It must be available for gardeners to buy.

3. The plant must be 'Of good constitution", which simply means it should be known to be generally healthy.

4.  The plant must be "Essentially stable in form and colour". This means it should perform according to description and not regress genetically.

5. The plant must display "Reasonably resistant to pests and diseases". The plant should have no pests and diseases which would affect growth and performance.

All plants put forward can be either awarded the prize by the RHS Plant Committee if they have proved worthy over time, or they can be put through formal trials.

Some years there may be twenty winners, some years there may be none. It's a quality test, not a quantative test.

We at Hayloft have over 80 plants with an AGM on our website. Perhaps you too want a simple way to have a garden full of award winners, then here's the secret way to find them - Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit plants

Speak to you soon.

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