The RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant Of The Year Award
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant Of The Year Award was first awarded in 2010 to celebrate and recognise the exciting and diverse range of new plants launched at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show each year. Every year, for the past six years, exhibitors at Chelsea are invited to submit their new plant introductions for consideration and assessment by the RHS Plant Committees, the RHS Director of Horticulture and the RHS Garden Curators.
On the Sunday before the RHS Chelsea Flower Show opens, The Royal Horticultural Society’s panel of experts which includes the RHS Plant Committee Chairs and the Curators of the RHS Gardens first vote to decide a shortlist of 20 plants from those entered into the competition.
Then on the Monday, the day before the show opens to the public, the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show Plant Of The Year finals are held. The RHS Plant Committee Members and forum members vote to decide the finalists and winner of the prestigious accolade of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant Of The Year Award.
This panel of Expert Judges make an assessment of the level of innovation, excellence, impact and appeal that each of the new plants offer, and cast their votes accordingly. The assessment process and judging criteria ensures that the plant to which this prestigious award is bestowed is something very special indeed, often offering a unique or new feature to the gardener in the cultivar or genus that is presented. In this way the RHS Chelsea Plant Of The Year Award is a wonderful showcase of the advances in plant breeding and the exciting new plants that are available for gardeners to purchase. The 20 shortlisted plants are now, or will shortly be, available to order or purchase online and from selected nurseries and garden centres. For some of these new plants that are not available quite yet, advance orders are available.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the most prestigious of all the Royal Horticultural Society’s Flower Shows, this the perfect venue and occasion to showcase the most exciting new plant introductions to a world-wide audience. Visitors to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show can see all of the 20 shortlisted plants, including the finalists and winner of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant Of The Year Award, in the Grand Pavilion at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which is held in May, in London, every year. Here’s a look at the top twenty shortlisted plants, including the finalists and the winner of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant Of The Year Award 2015:
RHS Chelsea Plant Of The Year 2015 – The Top Twenty Shortlisted Plants
Anigozanthos ‘Pink Pearl’
This pale pink flowered kangaroo paw was bred in Australia, it’s described as being good for indoor use and suitable for pots and patios in sheltered, southern areas. Anigozanthos ‘Pink Pearl’ is a pest and disease resistant plant that is useful for cut flowers.
Exhibited by the National Dahlia Collection.
Antirrhinum ‘Pretty in Pink’ (‘Pmoore07’)
Many years of plant breeding went into producing this new totally perennial form of Antirrhinum, it has a unique form of flower for this genus and shiny, dark green, rust resistant foliage, it’s less susceptible to fungal diseases than existing cultivars. Ideal for a sunny spot, in any good, well drained soil. This Antirrhinum will reward you with the longevity of its flowering season – the first flowers appear in end of May and flowering continues right through until the first frosts arrive in October. Antirrhinum ‘Pretty in Pink’ will not tolerate very wet winter weather, and may need protection in particularly harsh climates.
Height: 60cm (24 inches), spread: 70cm (28 inches).
Hardy, in free draining soils, to -8 C.
Plant in full sun or dappled shade. Attracts bees and butterflies.
Exhibited by Hardy’s Cotttage Garden Plants.
Blechnum brasiliense ‘Eruption’ (‘Alceru’)
In 2008 Tim Penrose selected Blechnum brasiliense ‘Eruption’ from a batch of over 500 spore raised plants, its eye catching foliage, which is bright red as it unfurls in early spring, made this fern really stand out from the other ferns.
Bred in the UK, this interesting new fern adds colour and interest to the garden. Blechnum brasiliense ‘Eruption’ looks good as a stand alone container plant providing architectural interest, as well as in a group planting, or in a mixed border.
Exhibited by Bowden Hostas.
Camassia leichtlinii subsp. suksdorfii (Caerulea Group) ‘Maybelle‘
‘Maybelle’ is a new, shorter, more compact Camassia cultivar, boasting a flower colour that is more blue than the ordinary leichtlinii Caerulea flowers, which tend to be a more purple-blue in colour. This new Camassia flowers in May, a month later than the more widely grown types of Camassia, thereby extending the Camassia flowering season. Camassia leichtlinii subsp. suksdorfii (Caerulea Group) ‘Maybelle’ enjoys growing in heavier, moisture retentive soils, in beds, borders or light grass. A great choice if you don’t have that elusive free draining, loamy soil in your garden! Plant bulbs in autumn, in full sun or partial shade. Completely hardy in the UK.
Height: 60cm or 24 inches.
Exhibited by Avon Bulbs.
Dianthus (Allwoodii Group) ‘Tequila Sunrise’ ‘Wp15 Pie45’ (Cocktails Series)
This new Dianthus cultivar is part a new series of perennial pinks that have been developed over seven years of breeding by Whetman Pinks. Christened the Cocktails Series, each cultivar is named after a celebratory drink, this one being ‘Tequila Sunrise’. Hardy, drought-tolerant and easy to grow, they are ideal for the novice gardener. This new cultivar has large, single, apricot coloured flowers up to 5cm across. The deeply serrated flowers are delicately fragrant and held above grey foliage. Plant in free draining soil or compost in full sun or dappled shade, Dianthus ‘Tequila Sunrise’ flowers from May to October.
Height: 25-35cm or 10 – 14 inches.
Exhibited by Whetman Pinks.
Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz‘
Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz’ is a UK bred, fast growing, climbing Fuchsia, with its vigorous growth and upright stems; it can reach 5ft in a single season. Described as being a huge improvement over the older climbing favourite ‘Lady Boothby’, which only produces flowers on the tips of each shoot. Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz’ is free flowering, the pendent pink blooms are produced from every leaf axil, along the entire length of the stem, to give a super display from the base right up to the top of the plant. Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz’ flowers from June to September, it’s perfect for covering walls, fences, arches and obelisks. Tolerating temperatures down to -10°C (14F), this hardy fuchsia is tough enough to be permanently planted in a border, where it’s promised it will grow bigger and better each year. Grow in sun or shade.
Height: 1.5m (just under 5ft). Spread: 90cm (36 inches).
Exhibited by Scotts Miracle Gro.
Gerbera Garvinea ‘Sweet Surprise’ (‘Garsurprise’) (Garvinea Sweet Series)
Gerbera Garvinea ‘Sweet Surprise’ is one of a new series of hardy Gerberas. This is a dear little plant, it looks very cute, but also has the advantage of being a sturdy and robust plant, Gerbera garvinea ‘Sweet Surprise’ will stand up to our great British weather, producing super-sized pink flowers from very early spring until the first frosts. Ideal for container growing, this Gerbera produces long- lasting cut flowers, the flowers are good for bees and butterflies too. Disease resistant and hardy.
Exhibited by Birmingham City Council.
Gladiolus ‘Prima Verde’
This elegant new Gladioli with its glamorous, spiky, slightly ruffled, vivid olive-green flowers caught my eye at Chelsea Flower Show. ‘Prima Verde’ is a large flowered gladiolus with green-yellow florets that won’t fade in the sunshine, it has a signature fine purple stripe, most visible in the lower opened florets. This elegant cultivar is perfect for gardeners and flower arrangers looking for something a little different to grow and admire. Gladiolus ‘Prima Verde’ will stand out in the border, its flowers lasting longer than other Gladioli varieties. Superb as a cut flower and in floral arrangements. Gladiolus ‘Prima Verde’ is virus free.
Height: 90cm (3ft) Gladiolus grows from a corm, which will need to be lifted every year, and then replanted the following year.
Exhibited by Pheasant Acre Plants.
Iris ‘Poivre Rouge’
This new Iris had just finished flowering and had yet to be replaced with a new plant when I visited the RHS Chelsea Plant Of The Year stand at Chelsea. Ironically this plant is described as having a long flowering period, flowering for 3 weeks, but these things are never easy when you need a plant in flower for a certain date and period of time, even if it is for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Iris ‘Poivre Rouge’ has bright yellow blooms which are decorated with red-brown striations and red speckles at the bottom of the falls.
Exhibited by Cayeux Iris. You can see a photograph of Iris ‘Poivre Rouge’ here.
One of the new ‘Lotus Lilies’ from H. W. Hyde, Lilium ‘Twyford’, is a vigorous new hybrid with a lovely scent. This pollen-free, double flowered Oriental Lily is ideally suited to container growing, it requires ericaceous compost or acid soil. Lilium ‘Twyford’ has double flowers, its many flower petals create an extended flowering period – as one set of petals start to fade, these faded petals are replaced by fresh new petals, as the flower continues to open as it blooms. Hardy to -15 C. Growing to 1m (40 inches) in height in its first year, extending to 1.2m (47 inches) in its second year.
Exhibited by H.W. Hyde.
Primula × anisodoxa ‘Kevock Surprise’
This hybrid Primula was bred by David Rankin, it gives an interesting, attractive effect in the garden as the flowers change colour as they develop. Each flower starts with dark red buds, which open as tangerine or apricot-orange flowers with a yellow centre, as the flowers age, they change again, fading to a pale peachy-pink colour. This vigorous, robust, hybrid can flower from June to August, as several whorls of flowers of differing ages can be open at any one time, when planted in swathes en masse a wide range of flower colours can be displayed at one time, with many red, salmon, apricot and peach tones giving a pleasing, evolving colour and effect in the garden.
Exhibited by Kevock Garden Plants.
Raspberry ‘Ruby Beauty’ (‘Nr7’)
Raspberry ‘Ruby Beauty’™ is a new, dwarf, multi-branching, thornless form of summer fruiting raspberry, bred in New Zealand. This compact, dwarf raspberry grows to only 1m in height, making this an ideal raspberry to try in a large container. The multi branching floricanes of Raspberry ‘Ruby Beauty’™ bear superb yields of deliciously sweet berries; Thompson and Morgan have harvested 1.5kg of fruit per plant from their trials with this raspberry. Raspberry ‘Ruby Beauty’™ is truly thornless, making it easier to harvest. Its smooth stems make this raspberry a welcome addition as a patio plant in a family friendly garden.
Height: 100cm (39 inches). Spread: 50cm (20 inches). Plant 1 Raspberry “Ruby Red’ plant per 10 litre pot or plant 3 plants per 40 litre pot.
Exhibited by Scotts Miracle-Gro.
Rehmannia ‘Walberton’s Magic Dragon’ (‘Walremadra’)
Rehmannia ‘Walberton’s Magic Dragon’ is a beautiful new plant, a cross between Rehmannia glutinosa and Rehmannia elata which has resulted in creating a very robust, branching plant with very large, exotic looking, foxglove-type flowers in a vibrant shade of pink. This perennial plant was bred by David Tristram from Walberton Plants. Described as hardy, with the added caveat that it may need protection during harsh winters, this Rehmannia can be grown in containers, or in the garden, where it is best suited to growing in a well-drained, humus rich soil, in full sun or partial shade. Rehmannia ‘Walberton’s Magic Dragon’ is attractive to bees; it has a long flowering season, flowering from May until the first frost. It makes a fabulous border plant, which holds itself up well and doesn’t require any staking, it creates an interesting display in a large planter.
Height: 70cm (28 inches) Spread: 50 cm (20 inches)
Exhibited by Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants.
Restio tetraphyllus syn. Baloskion tetryphyllum ‘Cornish Gold’
Restio tetraphyllus syn. Baloskion tetryphyllum ‘Cornish Gold’ is the first variegated Restio that’s stable. It was found on Trewidden’s Nursery, as a chance seedling, grown from their own seed 10 years ago. Restio tetraphyllus syn. Baloskion tetryphyllum ‘Cornish Gold’ is a clump forming, evergreen perennial, displaying golden yellow banding on light green culms, it’s suited to growing in the border or in containers. If you choose to grow your plant in a container, don’t let it dry out, it will require regular watering and thrives when grown in moisture retentive, free draining soil.
Hardy to at least -10 C.
Height: 1.5cm (5ft) Spread: 90cm (3ft)
Exhibited by Trewidden Nursery.
Rosa ‘Susie’ (‘Harwhistle’)
This new climbing rose from Harkness Roses has been bred to have good disease resistance, it has glossy, very dark green leaves and pretty orange coloured rose buds, which open out to golden, apricot coloured roses. Flowering from June until late autumn, it’s described as being the most scented Patio Rose, with citronella-scented apricot-pink blooms. Rosa ‘Susie’ can be grown in a large container or directly in the garden.
Exhibited by Harkness Roses.
Tiarella ‘Angel Wings’ (Fox Series)
This new Tiarella, bred by Richard and Vicky Fox of Plantagogo, has a small, neat form, its dissected foliage creates a pretty winged effect. In the spring, dainty pink buds open to pale pink star-shaped flowers, which age and fade to white frothy wands as spring turns to summer. Tiarella ‘Angel Wings’ is a hardy, evergreen perennial that prefers a moist, well-drained soil in a shaded or partially shaded spot. Hardy to -20 C. A bee friendly plant.
Height: 25cm maximum (10 inches)
Exhibited by Plantagogo.
Viola ‘Frilly Dilly’
This new, hardy, perennial Viola has sturdy erect stems which bear beautifully scented flowers, with frilled petals. The flowers start life as a gentle white, they become flushed with soft purple and mauve tones as they age. Viola ‘Frilly Dilly’ will flower continuously for 4 months, the flowers last much longer than most other Violas – Viola ‘Frilly Dilly’ only requires deadheading after 8 weeks in flower. Ideally suited to container growing.
Exhibited by Victorian Violas.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant Of The Year 2015 – The Finalists!
In Third Place:
Salvia ‘Love and Wishes’
Salvia ‘Love and Wishes’ is a truly spectacular new hybrid raised by Australian breeder John Fisher, it’s the third plant to be released from the ‘Wish’ series. This hardy, aromatic perennial plant has dark stems with a graceful, arching habit, bearing a stunning display of rich purple-red flowers with burgundy calyces for a wonderfully long time – flowering from May through till October. The calyces are persistent on the plant, remaining after the flowers have dropped, giving extra colour and interest.
Grow in full sun or partial shade. Ideal for container growing or as a patio plant. Height: 80cm or 32 inches.
Exhibited by Dysons Nurseries.
In Second Place:
Streptocarpus ‘Polka-Dot Purple’
Streptocarpus ‘Polka-Dot Purple’ is a wonderful new houseplant, bred by Dibleys Nurseries. The parent plants of Streptocarpus ‘Polka-Dot Purple’ are part of an ongoing breeding program, which started over 20 years ago. Streptocarpus ‘Polka-Dot Purple’ first flowered at Dibleys Nurseries in 2013. It’s very floriferous, flowering for over 10 months of the year, with over a 100 stippled purple flowers visible on the plant at any one time.
I found out a bit more about Streptocarpus ‘Polka-Dot Purple’ from Lynne Dibley, she told me, “The quantity and quality of blossom on this variety is probably the finest we have ever seen; combine this with the beautiful and unusual markings on the flowers, leads us to believe this plant to be one of the best ever bred on our nursery. The flowers are white with deep violet veining and stippling over all five lobes.”
Streptocarpus ‘Polka-Dot Purple’ is a lovely new houseplant, it’s long-lived, with striking white and purple flowers which are readily produced in large numbers for up to 10 months of the year.
Exhibited by Dibleys Nurseries.
The winner of the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2015 is Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Kilimanjaro Sunrise’ (‘Jww5’)
Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Kilimanjaro Sunrise’ is a striking, deciduous shrub with an upright habit, which allows it to be lightly trimmed very easily into a pyramid shape with horizontal tiered layers, rather similar in appearance to a traditional wedding cake. In April, ‘Kilamanjaro Sunrise’ produces rather glamorous lacecap flowers from the top to the bottom of the shrub, the flowers are a pure, soft white when young, blushing with apple-blossom pink as they age. The flowers are followed by masses of deep, red berries in summer, which turn from red to glossy black as they ripen further. Once the berries have disappeared in late summer, a second, lighter flush of flowering can be enjoyed. As autumn approaches, the foliage turns warm shades of fiery orange and gold.
Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Kilimanjaro Sunrise’ is a relatively compact and slow growing shrub which is suited to growing in both traditional and modern styles of garden, providing interest through the year.
Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Kilimanjaro Sunrise’ will grow well in most soil types with a ph from 5.6 to 7.5. Plant in full sun or light shade. It’s hardy to -18 C.
Height: 2.5m (8ft) Spread: 1.5m (5ft), after 10 years.
Exhibited by Burncoose Nurseries.
Other articles that may interest you…….
To see the top twenty shortlisted plants, including the finalists and the winner of the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2019 Competition, please click here.
To see the top twenty shortlisted plants, including the finalists and the winner of the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2016 Competition, please click here.
To see photographs of all the Gold Medal winning Show Gardens at the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, please click here.
To read about The Festival Of Roses at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and see photographs of some of the new rose introductions, including the Rose Of The Year, please click here.
To read my interview with Chris Beardshaw and find out more about The Morgan Stanley Healthy Cities Garden, please click here.
To read about the new lives of some of the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gardens, please click here.
To read my interview with James Basson and find out more about the Gold Medal winning garden ‘A Perfumer’s Garden in Grasse by L’Occitane’ that James designed for the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, please click here.
For information on some of the Gold Medal winning nurseries in the Great Pavilion at the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, please click here.
To see more photographs from the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, please click here.
To see photographs from the 2015 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, please click here.