Dozens of new plants have been launched at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
One of the most talked about plants is the Hydrangea Runaway Bride ‘Snow White’, which has been crowned the Chelsea Flower Show’s Plant of the Year for 2018. Available from T&M £14.99.
Snow Bride is an interspecific hybrid (it comes from an Asian species crossed with H.macrophylla) and is thought to be a new class or category of hydrangea
Snow Bride produces up to six times more blooms than the average hydrangea, which are a delicate lacecap white flower with a pink tinge. The plant uniquely flowers from both terminal and lateral buds, which creates a beautiful profusion lacecap flowers that can be enjoyed from early summer through into autumn.
This neat, compact and perfectly hardy plant is tipped to become a firm favourite with gardeners, especially as its graceful weeping habit makes it perfect for hanging baskets, patio containers as well as garden beds.
Runner-up for Plant of the Year is the upright Eryngium ‘Blue Waves’, which has the largest bracts of its type, with long-lasting flowers and a repeat blooming habit. This hybrid has been developed solely by Hillier Nurseries (who by the way is the most successful exhibitor that Chelsea has ever had, increasing its winning run this year to 73 gold medals) using a unique blend of Eryngium bourgatii and Eryngium alpinum.
Another exciting introduction from Hilliers is Hydrangea aspera ‘Gold Rush’ (above). In spring its leaves are shades of gold and flame orange, then they mature to a rich golden yellow before turning green in the height of summer. It flowers in summer and can grow to be 2m tall by 1m wide, making it an ideal for shrub for borders and even in large containers..
Also in Hillier’s prize-winning garden in the Great Pavilion was Salvia ‘Rhythm and Blues’ (above), this beautiful plant is the result of breeding by Kermit Carter and a hybrid of Salvia guaranitica.
And in third place is Helianthus annuus Sunbelievable Brown Eyed Girl (Thompson & Morgan). It reportedly produces around 1,000 flowers, which are produced non-stop from May until the first frosts. This spectacular prolific annual sunflower can only be raised from cuttings but is easy to grow and tolerant to heat and drought.
Other noteworthy plants that caught my attention at Chelsea
The new no-maintenance dwarf bamboo named ‘Luca’ (above) from Burncoose Nurseries, was one of the entries into the competition 2018 Chelsea Plant of the Year. It has a bushy habit, is non-invasive – it’s roots don’t spread, grows to only 40cm high by 50- 60 cm across, and is hardy to -25°C and evergreen in most winters. Ideal for containers and also the back of borders in small gardens.
New from Thorncroft Clematis is an exceptional new viticella type clematis called ‘Valour’ (below), producing beautiful pinky-lilac ‘katherine-wheel’ shaped flowers with pretty contrasting pale-yellow stamens from June to September. As it only grows to around 2m and can be pruned hard, it is a good choice for planting through a tall shrub to give it a floral overcoat.
Thorncroft Clematis also introduced a new Clematis texensis, ‘Prince William’ (above). The purply-red flower buds open to handsome semi-nodding tulip-shaped flowers, with mauve margins and deep lavender interiors. Try growing this with ‘Princess Kate’ to make a stunning feature in your garden. Clematis although natural climbers are classed as semi-herbaceous, as during a very hard winter their growth will die back and they will reshoot from below soil level. Consistent watering in summer, combined with good rich soil will ensure they perform at their best.
David Austin Roses showcased three new roses Emily Bronte (above), Mill on the Floss (below), which produces strong pink flowers with a picotee edge that change to lilac as the flowers age. It has a gorgeous scent with a hint of strawberry and grows to 1.4m tall.
Also from David Austin is a beautiful single flowered rose ‘Tottering By Gently’ (below). It mixes very well with perennials in the garden and also produces a fantastic crop of hips in autumn, which will last right into winter.
This new shrub rose is a large, healthy shrub with rounded and branching growth, which produces open, single yellow flowers, which have a light musky scent, with fresh notes of orange peel that pale prettily over time. It flowers freely, repeating regularly throughout the summer from June up until the autumn, when it forms attractive rosehips. ‘Tottering-by-Gently’ can be used to create a beautiful hedge
English roses look best when planted in groups of three or more of the same variety. They will then grow together to form one dense shrub, which will provide a more continuous display and make a more definite statement in the border.
Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants introduced visitors to the compact Polemonium ‘Kaleidoscops’ (above), which has attractive foliage flushed with cream, deep pink and red in spring before maturing to a bronze green. The colourful leaves are accompanied by purple/blue flowers in summer, on stalks that reach 60cm tall. Grow it in a sunny or partly shaded border or in a pot.
Another new plant from Hardy’s is Gaillardia ‘Apricot Honey’ (below). This free-flowering plant produces large, soft apricot flowers all through summer. Grow it in a sunny border or in a large container.
Another Chelsea veteron, Raymond Evison brought to the Show, three new clematis cultivars: the red Clematis Nubia, Clematis Sarah Elizabeth (below), which is a new colour break in pink flowered clematis, and Clematis Tranquilite a pale blue/white.
Looking for a tree for a small garden? Then you won’t be disappointed with the Japanese Maple Metamorphosa (below) from Burncoose Nurseries. It has exciting spring foliage, greenish yellow and ringed with a reddish pink edge. Gradually the yellow leaf will turn to light green and the edges fade to light pink. As they age, the leaves become green with a white edge, but its new growth will have again yellow leaves with a reddish pink edge. In late summer the leaves turn to orange red, while cool autumn temperatures can make the red leaves turn to a more red-violet colour. The mature bark is green but light orange when young.