I had no idea I was about to unearth such a monster. "Plant of the Month" is an obvious subject for any nursery or plant-based organisation but I was unprepared for the variety when I went looking for recommendations. And it can only increase as the growing season gets going. Here's a round-up for March.
The Horticultural Trades Association has morphed its Plant of the Month into Plant of the Moment (no, I don't think there is, either). Each month, they'll be promoting a plant (chosen in consultation with garden writer Adam Pasco) which is "guaranteed to perform well in almost any garden". This time round in participating garden centres, you'll find the emphasis on primulas. They particularly mention Japanese Candelabra (Primula japonica), Bulley's Candelabra (Primula bulleyana)...
...and Chinese Candelabra (Primula beesiana)...
...to be planted now so that they establish well to bloom this summer.
I was expecting the RHS to have a centralised Plant of the Month, and pleased to find there's a different one suggested by each garden (which makes sense, as they're spread around the country). At Wisley, they enthuse about Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox). at Rosemoor Rhododendron praecox, still rather leafless but one of the earliest rhodos to flower; at Hyde Hall in Chelmsford, Euphorbia rigida; and at Harlow Carr, horticulturalist Russell Watkins has chosen one of my favourites: Pulmonaria.
The Hardy Plant Society sings the praises of Scilla bithynica, to the extent that I really must find some. It provides a blue carpet earlier than bluebells and enjoys damp semi-shade. Fergus Garrett gives it his stamp of approval, which is enough for a lot of us.
And in Norfolk, Bakker Spalding's Gareth Richards has his eye on what will surely be one of the biggest trends this summer, edible fuchsias with the new Fuchsia Censation 'Juice Berry'. A recipe is also provided.
Finally, with a slightly different approach, Kew offers a Plant of the Month tour every Tuesday (I'd give you the link but bizarrely, whichever I choose, Kew page URLs inserted here changes into an affiliate link). This month's focuses on Narcissus. Is it just me who thinks £5 for a tour is a tad steep on top of the astronomical price of entry?