This is London calling…

LONDON, UK: The politics in Westminster this Summer may have been somewhat disappointing, but the SunPatiens® have certainly been outstanding!

Occupying much of the central area of Greater London, the City of Westminster stretches over 8 square miles and is world renowned for its theatres and entertainment, as well as national landmarks and districts which include Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Marble Arch, Mayfair, Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus, Soho and Trafalgar Square.

So with over 1 million people setting foot in Westminster every day and serving over 65 open spaces and gardens, for David Creese, Westminster City Parks Manager, there can be no compromise when it comes to garden performance in his planting schemes.

Working in partnership with Ball Colegrave and Sakata Seed Corporation, David for the first time introduced SunPatiens® as the dominant variety in four of his most prestigious gardens; Whitehall Gardens, Marble Arch, Leicester Square and Soho Square. With each location providing a different environmental challenge, this was real test of endurance for any bedding plant. Whitehall Gardens are formal tree lined gardens on the Thames Embankment receiving a mix of full sun and dappled shade throughout the day. Marble Arch sits on one of the busiest roundabouts in London, hot, dry and constantly busy with passing road traffic. Leicester Square and Soho Square are in the heart of London’s entertainment area and with a high level of pedestrians, the flower beds here take a lot of wear and tear from passing visitors and party goers.

The results were outstanding! In each of the areas, the plants established fast and provided unstoppable colour from June right through September. David comments; “The SunPatiens® have proved an outstanding success, delivering all the qualities I am looking for in a bedding plant and providing the public who visit our Parks with a stunning display. SunPatiens® has an outstanding colour range, a long and continuous flowering season right up to November when we changeover to the Autumn bedding, exceptional soil coverage in the flower beds which assists our Contractor in reducing the maintenance work, the ability to withstand a drier climate, great disease resistance and good value for money, all qualities which amateur gardeners also require.”

The plants grown by Fresh Acres were planted at the end of May and were maintained by contractors Continental.

Steve Mills, Contract Manager at Continental Landscapes comments; “The SunPatiens® performed extremely well in the hot dry summer. The plants were quick to establish and within no time had joined together to form an uninterrupted mass of colour. An added advantage of the spreading habit that it soon smothered any weed that tried to grow, reducing the cost of weeding the flower beds during the summer. Marble Arch is a very hot and sunny site and the SunPatiens® coped with the harsh conditions. They did not require excessive watering and never wilted in the mid-day sun, unlike normal Impatiens. Some of the other gardens where they were planted have a dense canopy of plane tree leaves, resulting in dry shady conditions. Once again, the SunPatiens® performed well much to the delight of the public.”

“We too have been delighted with the results, although not surprised” says Stuart Lowen of Ball Colegrave. “The thicker petals and tough foliage of SunPatiens® are less prone to disease, and their strong sturdy stems tolerate high heat and humidity, rain and adverse weather conditions. These attributes make SunPatiens® a perfect choice for municipal planting schemes”.

Breeder of SunPatiens®, Sakata Seed Corporation, has been giving back to nature since the 2000’s when it reached an agreement with the Indonesian Government (IAARD) in relation to the botanical species of Impatiens from which SunPatiens® is partly derived. SunPatiens® is a unique hybrid Impatiens which, in contrast to standard New Guinea Impatiens thrive in full sun and keep flowering three seasons long! The plants are resistant to downy mildew – a common enemy of Impatiens – and also easy-care, all they need is water to create a wonderful flowering show!

The agreement that was reached between Sakata and Indonesia was a forerunner of the current Nagoya Protocol. This protocol determines rights and obligations for the countries that signed it. This means that for every SunPatiens® plant that is sold, a contribution is made to Indonesia for local research into the maintenance of the biodiversity in that country. When you buy SunPatiens®, you give back to nature.

SunPatiens® are available as plugs from Ball Colegrave in 12 distinct colours across two ranges; Vigorous and Compact habit. All 12 colours were used in the Westminster Parks planting scheme.

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