Growers and nurserymen need to pick their moment to release new plants in order to maximise the publicity they can generate and there are no bigger moments in UK horticulture than the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show. This year is no exception and you can expect to see a collection of new and beautiful plants in the papers and magazines over the coming weeks. Some will have already filtered into garden centres, others will take a little longer, so it’s well worth noting the names of any that attract your eye so you can find them later.
Part of the Show’s attraction is the Plant of the Year Award, where the finalists are put before a cross section of RHS people for judging. Someone, usually the grower or breeder of the plant, speaks for their plant to explain why it has reached the shortlist of 20 and deserves to win. The audience vote to decide the First, Second and Third plants and these are then displayed in pride of place amid the finalists inside the Plant Pavilion for the week so visitors to the Show can see what was selected.
New plants put forward this year include:
Rose ‘Eustacia Vye’ from David Austin Roses, named after the heroine of Thomas Hardy’s novel The Return of the Native. The flowers are soft, apricot-pink with ruffled petals, held on red stems and with a fruity fragrance. Clematis ‘Vicki’™ from Raymond Evison, Guernsey Clematis. Named for celebrated florist Mrs Vicki Smith, it is the latest addition to the superb “patio” range of clematis and has bright pink flowers with a darker, rosy-pink bar down the petals. Digitalis ‘Firebird’ is being shown by Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants and is the newest addition to the new Digiplexis range (Digitalis x Isoplexis). It is a robust and vigorous perennial and has 90cm spires of reddish-pink flowers with a deep apricot throat. Wiegela ‘Picobella Rosea’ was bred at Hillier’s Nursery and ia a new, compact form of a familiar garden favourite. It produces deep pink flowers over a long period and is much loved by bees.
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