Tomato winners and losers in the Award of Garden Merit

Rosella, a distinctive dark rose with green shoulders.Rosella, a distinctive dark rose with green shoulders.
Rosella, a distinctive dark rose with green shoulders.

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I've been blowing Rosella's trumpet for a long time, so it's good to see the variety has been awarded the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in recent trials.

It has a very distinct, delicious, fruity, almost smoky flavour, with a good sweetness and acidity balance and it’s packed with antioxidants.

Rosella has good looks – dark rose-brown with green shoulders, and fewer seeds than many other cherry tomatoes.

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Enjoy Rosella's unusual flavour.Enjoy Rosella's unusual flavour.
Enjoy Rosella's unusual flavour.

A stunning tomato to eat raw in salads, I like it lightly grilled with feta cheese, which really brings out the flavour.

The one downside is that it has a tendency to split if it is left too long on the plant, so pick it regularly, although this didn’t put off the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) forum.

The seeds are also reasonable for tomatoes, as they’re not an F1 variety, retailing at about £2.99 for 12 seeds, and they are widely available.

The RHS cherry tomato trial also awarded the AGM to Sweet Aperitif and Bite Size. Another was awarded to Riesling, subject to availability.

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Gardener's Delight  lost its AGM status.Gardener's Delight  lost its AGM status.
Gardener's Delight  lost its AGM status.

Of the varieties that already held the AGM, Cherrola and Sweet Million were reconfirmed.

Apero and Suncherry Premium retained theirs too, although the status wasn’t reconfirmed due to the number of votes cast against them. If that makes no sense to you, then you’re not alone, as I don’t understand it either.

However, bad news for that old favourite Gardener’s Delight, which lost its AGM status.

The forum felt it wasn’t a cherry tomato as it was too big and as it has been grown for so long, there are many different strains, leading to variable results.

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So what will you be growing next year? Rosella will still be in my propagator come March.


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Vegetables to sow now include lettuces, spinach, land cress, purslane, beetroot, radishes, coriander, spring onions, calabrese, spring greens, turnips for their green tops, Swiss chard, winter spinach and hardy Japanese onions.

Earwigs can make Dahlia blooms ragged. Catch them in upturned pots crammed with newspaper or straw on canes among the flowers.

Keep harvesting courgettes before they become marrows.

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Take cuttings of herbs such as rosemary, sage or mint now to bulk up supplies. Put cuttings in moist, well-drained potting compost (one part grit to one part compost) and place in a cold frame.

Established clumps of chives can be divided now.

Hebes and lavenders can be given a light prune after flowering.

Give hedges a final trim over now. They will only grow a little before cold weather stops growth.

Plant out strawberry runners and pot some up to bring into the greenhouse in winter for early fruits.

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