I got home to find a catalogue waiting for me, from a popular plant supplier. The cover, which was something pretending to be a dozen pink roses on a single stem (Geranium Appleblossom Rosebud as it turned out) was promising - hinting that this might be the catalogue with some strange new varieties in it. Over pizza and wine, I picked out some favourites, here presented with the reasons why I can't possibly get them, as provided by my grumpy garden sounding board, Tim Science:
Dahlia Dandy Mixed - Bee-friendly semi-singles with an extra collar of frilled, flounced and shredded petals in poppy bright colours. TS: Dahlias in our garden start to look dead the moment they've flowered. He's right of course, and I would be growing them from seed, which I suspect is something of a commitment (if achievable at all without a heated misting bench).
Carnation Blackjack - Deep black petals with red/pink flashes edged in bright white with a good scent. They make me think of tiny volcanic islands ringed by white shell beaches. Much drama! TS: We have these already. Hmf. We may have something similar. But not the same!
Gallardia Snappy - Perennial gallardia with a solid two-tone bloom that looks irresistible to my beloved bees (almost like it has landing lights on, it's that bright). TS: Oh yes, those look good. Alas, they need full sun, and that is only available in a thin strip of my garden, already quite populated.
Carnation Crimson Rim - Frilly white puffs with a thin purple edge, as if each petal had been outlined carefully with felt-tippy pens. TS: They look like frilly pants. Why do you want more frilly pants plants? The catalogue claims, darkly, that it will produce "so many stems you won't know what to do with them" which does sound like about the right vigour level for my dark box of a garden with its heavy clay soil...
Petunia Damson Ripple - Petunias, petunias. I do not like petunias. Except for this one, with its hi-viz disco dazzle patterns. This one I like. TS: only gave this one a cursory glance before pronouncing it "OK".
Bidens Hawaiian Flare Orange Drop - Another one that looks like it's scribbled in felt tip pens, a tiny five-petal flower in screaming two-tone orange, also available in a pretty lemon and sunshine combination. I've not grown Bidens before so I'm tempted. TS: Glazing over by this stage.
There was also a total stranger to me, Dregea Sinensis. I've been persistently failing to get a climbing hydrangea started on my back fence, maybe this would work better?