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Friday, June 2, 2023

Why are we breeding such ugly flowers?

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Gaudy blooms in jarring colours… a clear case of gilding the lily

There are a few cultural conundrums out there in gardening which I wonder if I will ever get to the bottom of. As someone who has recently gotten into dabbling in a little home-breeding with rare begonia species, here is one that perpetually fascinates me, even if merely mentioning is likely to get me cancelled: why are so many new plant cultivars so hideous?

If you have flicked through any major gardening catalogue recently, you will know what I mean, especially when it comes to bedding plants. Cultivars with ever-more fluorescent hues, often with jarring colour breaks, where highlighter-pink juts up against Day-Glo acid green. Breeders will often layer up these mutations, too, with ruffled petals, dramatically variegated leaves and flowers so huge the poor plants can barely hold them up. Short of spraying them in glitter and dunking them in gold paint, there is very little else you could do to a plant to make it more dazzling.

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Read more here Home And Garden | The Guardian

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