One element of the Chelsea Flower Show really gets us excited – Plant of the Year!
20 shortlisted plants are presented to a panel of over 100 RHS plant experts on the Monday before the show opens. The panel selects a single new introduction as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year 2017, taking into account; Innovation, excellence & impact, appeal. The winning plant takes pride of place at the centre of the Plant of the Year display in the Great Pavillion.
This year’s shortlist did not disappoint and there were some real gems to be seen. Remember, these are all new plants launched within the year and we find lots of inspiration when looking at these, frantically making notes to take back and plan them into next year’s planting schemes!
So, here the top 3…
WINNER – Mulberry, Charlotte Russe (‘Matsunaga’)
A delightful little Mulberry plant ideal for patios and small gardens. The first crop is flavoursome. This plant was presented by Horticultural Trades Association.
SECOND PLACE – Salvia, ‘Crystal Blue’
This was discovered as a chance seedling in a nursery field, it has a unique sky-blue colour that will make it a welcome addition to any garden. Presented by Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants.
THIRD PLACE – Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Petit Orange’
This Hibiscus is ideal for patios, planters and window boxes. The stunning orange flower contrasts well with dark foliage and will give an exotic feel to any garden. Presented by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.
All very deserving of their awards, we’re sure you’ll agree. We can’t help but pick out a few of our favourites from the shortlist…
Pelargonium ‘Rushmore Amazon’ (Rushmore River Series)
This gorgeous specimen, presented by Fibrex Nurseries, really caught our eye with its large, buttery yellow flowers. They are ideal for cutting due to their long stems. A great addition to the Rushmoor River Series!
Chilli pepper ‘Dragon’s Breath’
The clue is in the name! This little chilli, developed and presented by Bob and Neal Price, is claimed to be the hottest in the world. It also has medicinal properties and can of course be used for cooking, if you dare!
Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Cupcakes Blush’
If you visited the gardens last year you may have noticed our Cosmos ‘Cupcakes White’ in the planters around the tearoom. They are such a pretty, delicate little bloom with a striking flower form fused to a single cup. This variety, presented by Scotts Miracle-Gro has semi-double flowers changing from white to blush. Just beautiful!
The team take a trip to this year’s Chelsea Flower Show…
Some of the team were lucky enough to visit Chelsea Flower Show this week. It was wonderful to see ‘gardening on the edge of wild’ so pervasive at Chelsea this year. There was so much to see and do that it’s impossible to share it all so in this blog, we’ve summed up some of our favourite gardens…
The Poetry Lover’s Garden
This beautifully designed and presented garden really communicated the feel of tranquillity using relaxed planting and the sound of water combined with formal structure and traditional materials.
Garden designer, Fiona Cadwallader, was inspired by the poem ‘This Lime Tree Bower My Prison’ written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
IMAGE COPYRIGHT: © RHS CREDIT: RHS / Tim Sandall
Royal Bank of Canada Garden
This garden was inspired by the vast and ecologically vital boreal forest and freshwater lakes of Canada. The Garden celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada and the 10th year of the RBC Blue Water Project™
The garden was designed by Charlotte Harris and creates a space inspired by the landscape that stretches from Yukon to Newfoundland and Labrador. A wilder garden folds around manmade elements crafted from materials evocative of the boreal forest.
IMAGE COPYRIGHT: © RHS CREDIT: RHS / Neil Hepworth
World of Horse Welfare Garden
Probably one of the more thought-provoking garden designs by Adam Woolcott and Jonathan Smith. The garden is inspired by the work of the World of Horse Welfare charity. This year sees the charity celebrating a 90-year legacy of helping horses around the world. It is a touching tribute to all the charity’s supporters over the years.
The garden tells the story of a horse from a small, derelict stable in a dark corner of the garden that is nursed back to health with the care of the World of Horse Welfare team – now living in a bright, open meadow where he can thrive and continue his journey to rehoming.
A traditional wildflower garden surrounds a derelict, abandoned stable and the amazing horse show sculpture is constructed out of horseshoes from celebrity horses and from horses belonging to supporters of the charity.
IMAGE COPYRIGHT: © RHS CREDIT: RHS / Tim Sandall
You might notice that there is definitely a wild and romantic edge to the planting in these gardens and we were delighted to see so many wildflowers in the show particularly as we are at the forefront of this style of gardening. Does this final picture look familiar? We included it so that you can see how similar our styles are…
Senior Gardener, Ollie, explains about some of our most hated weeds…
One of the most pressing jobs at this time of year for the gardener is weeding. As the days get longer and the soil and air temperatures rise, weed seeds start germinating and perennial weeds rear their ugly shoots again. There is however more to weeds than them being just a nuisance.
Would you believe that some of our most hated weeds arrived in our gardens as invited guests! Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica)is probably the most regrettable.
It is a feared herbaceous perennial weed, which roots very deeply and strongly. It has extremely vigorous, powerful stems that are capable of pushing up through tarmac and that will grow to over 7 feet high in one growing season.
It was originally introduced to Britain from Japan in 1825 as an ornamental plant, grown for its handsome red-flecked stems and large heart shaped foliage. Gardeners of the time didn’t realize how invasive it was and how easily it propagated form tiny fragments. This has led to its spread and the problems it now poses today.
Another surprising introduction to the British Isles is Ground elder (Aegopodium podograria). Unlike Japanese Knotweed, Ground Elder is thought to have been brought to the British Isles as a food crop by the Romans. The young leaves were eaten in salads and as it grew and spread easily, it was a reliable crop.
There are many examples of edible “weeds” or should I say native wildflowers all around us. An easily recognisable example is the Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked (Less bitter when young), the dried root is used to flavour drinks such as dandelion and burdock and wine can be made from the petals.
Although collecting plants to eat from the wild is incredibly satisfying, please don’t collect any wildflowers if you are unsure of what they are or if they are a protected species.
If you are looking for a good way to eradicate pernicious weeds from your garden then persistence is the key. I know it is hard work, but digging weeds out is effective if done systematically. Use a fork instead of a spade to avoid chopping roots up into many fragments, which will regrow.
After digging, when any weed fragments have grown back, use a systemic herbicide to finish them off. Sounds strange, but the most effective time to spray is when the weeds are in full growth and healthy. Carefully follow the instructions and spray as much of the leaf area as possible. Weed-wipe gels are a great way to apply chemical precisely and avoid hitting your wanted plants.