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Busy lizzies to return

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Busy lizzies (Impatiens walleriana) are this week returning to B&Q’s retail shelves after a six-year hiatus. Those plants hitting the stores have been grown by two nurseries in the UK – namely East Yorkshire-based Coletta and Tyson and Preston-based Arden Lee nursery. Retailing from £2.50, they have produced in six different colours and are being marketed using a variety of different packs, pots and planted container formats.

The return of this popular plant is expected to be greatly welcomed by consumers as B&Q has not sold busy lizzies since 2012. Then, the home improvement retailer took the decision to remove them from the shelves because the damaging fungus, Impatiens downy mildew, had spread across the UK and Europe. But over the past few years B&Q has been working exclusively with Syngenta Flowers to develop a breed of busy lizzies that is resilient to the disease. In fact, the new ‘Imara Bizzie Lizzie’ has been extensively trialled by both the breeders and independent experts for five years to ensure its consistency and uniformity in addition to its resilience to Impatiens downy mildew. Fittingly, the name Imara means “strong and resilient” in Swahili – a language which has been chosen in tribute to the region in East Africa where the original busy lizzies are from.

Steve Guy, market director for outdoor at B&Q, said: “We are extremely proud to be bringing back the busy lizzie and to be launching the new ‘Imara Bizzie Lizzie’. There has been a pent-up demand for the plants within the gardening community, and a genuine love among customers. This has driven our perseverance to address this need in the market by developing a resilient and beautiful plant with great garden performance. We’re confident our customers will recognise and love the ‘Imara Bizzie Lizzie’ just as much as before.”

Joost Kos, head of research and development at Syngenta Flowers, said: “Syngenta Flowers is a research and development company, so in keeping with our foundation, we extensively tested Imara Bizzie Lizzies indoors and outdoors and have exposed it to the disease to ensure its resiliency. Imara Bizzie Lizzies are a new generation of busy lizzies that perform much better against the disease while also retaining the qualities that gardeners love such as continuous flowering, bright colours and easy care. We’re proud to be the first to deliver this innovation back to the market.”

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