We grow thousands of Busy Lizzies each year and they are a popular choice for many gardeners. This year, in response to a worldwide outbreak of a fungal disease called Downy Mildew, we have have made the decision not to grow or sell Busy Lizzies at Perrywood.
Downy Mildew is a fungal disease which is currently resistant to all fungicides. It can stay in the soil for up to 12 months, meaning that if your plants were infected last year they are likely to be infected again. All plants infected with the disease will die.
Alan Bourne, Owner of Perrywood Garden Centre, says “In 2011 we took all recommended actions to reduce the risk of infection. Unfortunately because of the nature of how the disease spreads it is almost certain that there will be another serious outbreak of Downy Mildew across the UK in 2012, and therefore we will not be selling them. As growers we have a lot of expertise of dealing with pests and diseases, and have thought long and hard before taking this decision. We can no longer be confident that Busy Lizzies will grow and thrive but instead we will be offering our customers a range of fresh, healthy alternatives.”
The RHS and TV Gardener Alan Titchmarsh have both advised against planting Busy Lizzies this year, and many growers and garden centres in the UK are protecting their customers from future disappointment by not selling them. The industry is hoping that a break from the crop will halt the spread of the disease and give scientists an opportunity to develop new fungicides and resistant varieties. This will enable nurseries to grow healthy crops in the future.
Perrywood recommends the following alternatives…
For your beds and borders:
- Non-stop Begonias
- Upright Geraniums
For your hanging baskets and containers
- Trailing and non-stop begonias
- Trailing and upright Geraniums
- Trailing Petunias
Why not try a red, white and blue mix of bedding plants this year, for the forthcoming Diamond Jubilee and London 2012? You can support your Queen and country with colourful hanging baskets, tubs and flower beds.