Once again we have peered into the inner workings of our website to fish out the data which tells us how people arrived on www.paddockplants.co.uk and from that established the year’s top 10 plants which led them there from Google or their alternative search engine of choice (it is admittedly nearly always Google!). In so doing we were interested to note that website visitors had gone up from 25 000 in 2013 to 45 000 in 2014: there has been a significant surge since the website update took place in the late autumn, so we suspect a lot of that is due to search bots taking an interest in the ongoing changes. Anyway, to the list: here it is, and it’s as random as last year’s, with – remarkably – only one plant common to both lists.
1. Echium Russicum
2. Anemone Andrea Atkinson
3. Epilobium Angustifolium Album
4. Inula Orientalis
5. Anisodontea El Royo
6. Sphaeralcea Childerley
7. Deutzia Strawberry Fields
8. Geum Tequila Sunrise
9. Drimys Lanceolata
10. Anchusa Loddon Royalist
The plant with staying power, albeit dropping 5 places, is the Drimys Lanceolata (or Tasmannia, as we believe we should now be calling it) which does it great credit, as it is a fabulous evergreen shrub. The meteoric rise of Echium Russicum to number one demonstrates the influence of the Chelsea Flower Show, as Alan Titchmarsh included some in his show garden. We are not sure if the same applies to the next two plants on the list, but certainly whites and natural drift planting have been among the trends of the year. Andrea Atkinson is certainly the finest white Japanese anemone that we have experience of, and Epilobium Album, although a bit of a spreader, is a beauty if you’ve got the space. Why the surge in interest in good old-fashioned Inula Orientalis, we have no idea, though we are pleased to see it, but we do know that the legendary plantsman Bob Brown named Anisodontea El Royo as his favourite shrub in an article in Gardening Which, and we were named as suppliers. We didn’t know this in advance, so the subsequent spike in orders rather took us by surprise!
Sphaeralcea Childerley is a real little charmer with its masses of saucer-shaped flowers the colour of ripe peaches, and Deutzia Strawberry Fields (aka Magicien) is another splendid flowering shrub, so perhaps it’s not a huge surprise to see them in this list. Geums are a plant in vogue right now, so much that we keep wondering if they are the next big thing, and Tequila Sunrise is a delight despite sharing a varietal name with seemingly every other plant with a similar colouration. Our specimen in a big pot was in bloom for much of 2014. Although it brings up last place in the year’s top ten, Anchusa Loddon Royalist was a big seller in 2014, and once again this was down to the Chelsea factor, as it featured in at least one show garden. It was probably the most sought-after plant at the plant fairs we attended last year.
And there it is, 2014’s top ten most searched-for plants. Which of them will still feature in 12 months’ time, who can tell. But it will be fun finding out. As a strange footnote, we can reveal that on a par with the Anchusa in terms of searches leading people to our website was Ixia, a South African bulbous plant that we haven’t grown in years. Try as we might, we can’t replicate reaching our website through a search for it. The mysterious world of the search engine! Happy new year, everyone.
Rob & Joanna – January 2015