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Chelsea Charmers: New Plants for 2020

Following the highly-successful RHS Virtual Chelsea Flower Show 2020, here’s a look at some of the excellent new plants that should have been introduced at the show.

Clematis genius Raymond Evison (who did a masterclass interview online for the RHS Virtual Chelsea coverage) was due to introduce Olympia. This is a free-flowering variety that only grows to 90-120cm, making it ideal for containers or growing against a low fence or through a mature shrub. It has mid- to pale-blue flowers with contrasting creamy-yellow anthers and flowers throughout summer and into the autumn.

Pruning is easy: simply cut all stems down to 15cm above soil level in early spring. Don’t forget, Clematis like to have their “feet in the shade and their heads in the sun”, so make sure the pot is well watered for the best display.

Chelsea Show stalwarts, Hilliers Nurseries, were due to introduce five new plants this year, offering inspiration for every garden. They are all available from Hilliers, including their new online shop.

Lysimachia christianae ‘Sunburst’ has been developed from an original plant introduced by renowned plantsman Roy Lancaster, who worked at Hilliers for many years. This is a trailing perennial that can grow 1.5m in a season, with dark green foliage and a mass of vibrant golden-yellow flowers in early summer.

Salvia x jamensis Vibe™ Ignition - Purple has exceptionally bright flower colour, richly aromatic foliage and a long flowering season. It is a fantastic plant for a sunny spot in the garden because it is drought-tolerant.

Leycesteria formosa ‘Little Lanterns’ is perfect for the smaller garden. In spring, it has lime-coloured growth and red shoots, in mid-summer it has bright golden-yellow foliage and hanging racemes of white flowers and then in autumn these are followed by deep purple ornamental berries.

Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Bannow Bay’ is an ideal patio container plant, forming a dense mound of deep purple foliage, tinted pink in the winter months and is pale green with flashes of white in spring.

Hydrangea x multiflora ‘French Bolero’ is a distinctive plant with masses of blue or pink flowers, depending on the soil type (blue in acidic soil, pink in alkaline). Every bud, including on side shoots, produces a flower.

Perennial specialists Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants were going to launch two new plants at the Show.

Salvia ‘Oriental Dove’ grows to 50cm and has rich lilac flowers with a delicate white edge. It enjoys full sun and well-drained soil.

Thalictrum ‘Chantilly Lace’ grows to 40cm and has very large pink-lilac flowers from late spring. It is “summer deciduous”, meaning it hibernates during the warmer months, and it enjoys a woodland setting with dappled shade and rich soil.

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This story was published on: 29/05/2020

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