Home Horticultural shows RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2018

RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2018

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The Sun Newspaper's Hydrangea Runaway Bride Snow White. Picture; RHS
Winning plant Thompson & Morgan's Hydrangea Runaway Bride Snow White. Picture; RHS

New varieties on show, May 22-26

One of the most eagerly anticipated parts of the Chelsea Flower Show is seeing which new plants* are introduced – congratulations to the winner, Hydrangea Runaway Bride by Thompson & Morgan!

This year’s no exception, with dozens of new varieties for gardeners to ponder over.

*Information provided by exhibitors. Plants are either new hybrids, new to the UK market or being seen for the first time at Chelsea.

Plants to look out for

Begonia Fragrant Falls Orange: Heavily fragrant, frilly, bright orange blooms with contrasting dark foliage, trailing habit. Bred by Thompson & Morgan. Shown by Birmingham City Council.

Hydrangea macrophylla Shining Angel (Black Diamonds Series): Blue flowers, displayed simultaneously at different stages up the stem with dark leaves. Bred by Wilks Jungpflanzen. Shown by Birmingham City Council.

Isotoma axillaris Fizz ‘n’ Pop Glowing Purple: The largest flowered Isotoma with the deepest unfading purple flowers. Does not require a cold period to initiate flowering. Heat and drought tolerant, providing five months of colour. Bred by Thompson & Morgan. Shown by Birmingham City Council.

Zantedeschia Flirt: A vivid, fluorescent pink, with each plant producing 20-25 flowers and compact. Bred in New Zealand by Andrew Wearmouth. Shown by Brighter Blooms.

Acer palmatum Metamorphosa: Spring foliage and new growth are yellow, with a reddish pink edge. Gradually the leaves turn light green and the edges fade to light pink, then green with a white edge. In late summer, leaves turn orange-red or red-violet. The bark is green but young growth is light orange. The medium-sized leaves or five or seven lobed. Plant remains compact. From Burncoose Nurseries.

Fargesia murieliae Luca: A real dwarf, reaching 40-50cm, width of about 1m. Luca is completely cold hardy and non-invasive. Supplied by Javado to Burncoose Nurseries.

Iris As de Pique: White standards with a hint of lavender and falls velvety black, edged with a tiny amethyst border; white centre streaked with black/purple and burnt orange beards. 7 buds. From Cayeux Iris.

Iris Bois Précieux: Two-toned red with medium brown-red standards with dark red burgundy falls with lighter margins. Medium brown beards. 8 buds on average on good branching stems. From Cayeux Iris.

Iris Souffle Chaud: Deep yellow/orange colour with golden yellow standards and golden yellow falls turning to yellow copper towards the edges. Orange beards. Good stems, 8 buds on average. From Cayeux Iris.

Rosa Emily Brontë (Ausearnshaw): Celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Emily Brontë. Soft pink blooms with a subtle apricot hue, a button eye and deep-set stamens. The fragrance is strong, with hints of lemon and grapefruit. 1.35m x 1.2m. From David Austin Roses.

Rosa Tottering-By-Gently (Auscartoon): Single yellow flowers held in large, open sprays, each with a boss of golden stamens. They have a light musky fragrance with notes of orange peel. Repeat flowering and very tolerant to rain. 1.35m x 1.35m. From David Austin Roses.

Neoregelia Pimiento: Growing to a width of 50cm and 30cm height. It has dark leaf margins surrounding a bright crimson red stripe. Bred by the Bromeliad Hybridiser. From Every Picture Tells A Story.

Vriesea Smudge Grub: From seed parent V. Tiger Tim and pollen parent V. ospinae var. gruberi. It belongs to the Glyph Group, which have pronounced smudges on the leaves and are cold sensitive. From Every Picture Tells A Story.

Gaillardia Apricot Honey: This 70cm high Gaillardia produces large, soft apricot flowers with a gently arching habit, blooming from late May to September. From Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants.

Polemonium yezoense Kaleidoscope: Hardy perennial, flowering spring to early summer, with variegated leaves and rich blue flowers. In colder conditions, the pink edge variegation becomes more pronounced. Height 60cm. From Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants.

Salvia Kisses and Wishes: A mutation from Wendy’s Wish by Sarah Jane Knott. This is a stable new colour for this series, being a much clearer bright pink. From Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants.

Eryngium Blue Waves: Big showy bracts in scale with stem height. Long lasting and repeat flowering. A hardy herbaceous perennial that does not need staking and is great for pollinators. From Hillier Nurseries.

Hydrangea aspera subsp. sargentiana Gold Rush (Giel): Large, velvety, flame orange spring leaves that mature to strong golden/yellow. Late summer flowers deliver a second season. Responds to a winter prune to suit smaller spaces. From Hillier Nurseries.

Salvia Rhythm & Blues (Bodacious Series): Bred by Kermit Carter, using S. guarantica as a parent. Large summer flowers of vivid blue over a long period. The stiff erect flower stems are coloured black at their uppermost third, a deep black that also colours the calyx. From Hillier Nurseries.

Berberis thunbergii Orange Sunrise: Deciduous shrub with an upright habit. In spring it has intensely pink leaves, maturing to deep red with a gold marginal ring. Hardy to -35C. From the Horticultural Trades Association.

Calendula Powerdaisy Tango (Kercaltan and PowerDaisy Series): The first orange Calendula that flowers from early spring until November. Virtually sterile, self-cleaning and highly resistant to diseases, including mildew. Tolerant of cold and heat, rain and drought. From the Horticultural Trades Association.

Calibrachoa MiniFamous Double Pinktastic (MiniFamous Series): Three-dimensional colour pattern, thanks to two bicoloured pink-white circles of inner petals in each flower. From the Horticultural Trades Association.

Gerbera Garvinea Sweet Sunset (Garvinea Series): The first bicolour cultivar in this series. Many large flowers in warm orange-yellow shades until the first frosts. High resistance to pests and diseases. From the Horticultural Trades Association.

Phormium cookianum subsp. hookeri Blondie: Bright, variegated leaves cascade like a spider plant. Chic looks, small size and low maintenance in a container. From the Horticultural Trades Association.

Hosta Mouse Capades: A sport from Mighty Mouse, registered in America in 2013 by Rob Mortko. Hogarth Hostas has the only selection of plants in England.

Dahlia Lubega Power Tricolor from National Collection of Dahlias. Picture; RHS
Dahlia Lubega Power Tricolor from National Collection of Dahlias. Picture; RHS

Dahlia Lubega Power Tricolour: (Lubega Power Series): A major colour breakthrough as the red, yellow and white areas on the petals give blooms an ever-changing appearance. From National Collection of Dahlias.

Pepper Lemon Dream: Produces masses of small bright yellow peppers, sweet but with a hint of spiciness. Ideal for confined spaces and pots. Good for snacking, stuffing or barbecuing. From Pennard Plants.

Tomato Rugby: An early indeterminate variety suitable for early spring production under glass or later production outdoors. Pink fruits are medium-sized, up to 200g, heart-shaped with soft texture. The flavour is superb and the fruit can be used as a salad variety or for cooking. Good disease resistance. From Pennard Plants.

Tomato Shimmer: A red, gold and green striped thin-skinned plum tomato with exceptional taste and high levels of lycopene. This indeterminate (cordon) cultivar can be grown in the greenhouse but has some resistance to blight, so can be grown outdoors. From Pennard Plants.

Rosa Fragrant Celebration (BeaMerry): Large apricot-pink blooms and sweet perfume chosen to be launched for Peter Beales Roses 50th anniversary. This climber will grow in partial shade as well as full sun.

Heuchera Frilly Lizzie (Fox Series): Rich, large, burgundy, velvety slightly ruffled foliage which changes colour and intensity throughout the seasons. White flowers on burgundy stems. Fast-growing large variety loved by bees. From Plantagogo.

Clematis Tranquilité: Named to acknowledge Les Bourgs Hospice in Guernsey. A free-flowering plant, with white flowers infused with light blue. From Raymond Evison Clematis.

Clematis Sarah Elizabeth: A breakthrough in pink-flowered clematis breeding, named after Sarah Groves who was killed in 2013 in Kashmir. From Raymond Evison Clematis.

Glandularia Scentsation Mixed: A super-scented, compact new verbena that is ideal for mixed containers, bedding and can be cut for posies. A half hardy annual,  flowering from June to October. Grows up to 20cm tall. From The Sun newspaper.

Helianthus annuus Sunbelieveable Brown Eyed Girl: Bred by Thompson & Morgan, the first cutting-raised annual sunflower to reliably bloom for six months – a single plant can produce 1,000 bicolour flowers. From The Sun newspaper.

Hydrangea Runaway Bride Snow Bride: Ushio Sakazaki came upon a remote Asian species of Hydrangea in the wild, and crossed this with Hydrangea macrophylla. Flowers not only from terminal buds, but also from virtually all lateral buds. It flowers well into autumn and has a graceful weeping/trailing habit.  From The Sun newspaper.

Impatiens walleriana Imara Series: Syngenta Flowers has been breeding a new generation of downy mildew-resistant Busy Lizzies with bright, bold flowers. From The Sun newspaper.

Malus toringo Aros: Bred in Denmark by Karsten Jensen. Aros is a compact dark purple/black leaved, disease-resistant crab apple with a tight columnar habit. In spring, there are dark pink and white flowers and in autumn small deep red crab apples. From The Sun newspaper.

Viola Bridie: Scented viola has frilled, pale primrose petals edged with violet. Fully winter hardy, spring/summer-flowering perennial viola, suitable for growing in pots or garden. From Victorian Violas.

Viola Carousel: Large-flowered cultivar, with cream flowers edged with mauve. Scented flowers over a long period. From Victorian Violas.

New plants not entered into the Plant of the Year competition

Iris Chic Famille: Pure white standards and white falls with a medium purple-blue border of 7mm held almost horizontally with red beards. Strong stems with 8 buds on average. From Cayeux Iris.

Iris Cornet Rose: A pink-peach amoena with a red beard with white standards and peachy pink falls. Superb branching carrying on average 9 buds. From Cayeux Iris.

Iris Dernier Cri: Light beige standards and soft lavender falls held almost horizontally with tangerine beards. Fairly compact stems. Very late to flower. From Cayeux Iris.

Iris Rose Désir: A pink amoena with excellent branching offering 9 to 10 buds on average. Its pure white standards surmounting the pink well-supported falls, tangerine beards. From Cayeux Iris.

Iris Sorcellerie: 5 to 6 buds on average but this offspring of Macaron and Ciel Gris sur Poilly has soft yellow standards with cream falls threaded and edged with purple-red. Yellow beards. From Cayeux Iris.

Rosa The Mill on the Floss (Austulliver): A very free-flowering rose, bearing large clusters of small, neat, deeply cupped blooms. Initially, mid pink, verging on lilac-pink, they pale as they open, defined by their carmine edges. Each bloom reveals a small cluster of stamens. Sweet fruity fragrance. 1.35m x 1.2m. From David Austin Roses.

Hosta Ruffled Pole Mouse: A sport of H. Green Mouse Ears introduced by Jan Van Den Top in Holland. From Hogarth Hostas.

Sweet pepper Afterglow: An early fruiting cultivar ripening from green to bright yellow. Thick walled, juicy, medium fruit is sweet and can be eaten uncooked, or cooked. Compact and heavy cropping.

Clematis Nubia (Boulevard Series): Deep red clematis, very free and long flowering. From Raymond Evison Clematis.

Clematis Prince William: Purply-red flower buds open to handsome semi-nodding tulip-shaped flowers, with mauve margins and deep lavender interiors. From Thorncroft Clematis.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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