New Plants at Chelsea Flower Show

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show has always been the place to showcase new, rare, and beautiful plants and this year is no exception. The Brewin Dolphin Garden, designed by eminent nurserywoman Rosy Hardy, marks the launch of four new varieties of herbaceous perennials.

Cirsium rivulare Frosted Magic

Rosy frequently uses the classic Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’ in her designs, but this garden features an unusual white-flowered form of this popular thistle, Cirsium rivulare ‘Frosted Magic’. This plant is a sturdy, upright, easy to grow perennial with a long flowering season in summer, perfect for the garden or a landscape with “prairie-style” planting. At maturity, it should reached 120cm with a max spread of 60cm.

Another newcomer, Nepeta x faassenii ‘Crystal Cloud‘ sports whorled spikes of delicate, pale lilac flowers, an exciting new colour for this species. The plant is compact and bushy with an upright habit. It’s as easy to grow as other Nepeta and, it’s grey-green leaves and pale flowers make a great partner for plants with dark foliage. Geranium ‘Midnight Reiter’, with its dark purple leaves and dark blue flowers, is an excellent choice. ‘Crystal Cloud’ grows to a max height of 45cm and flowers from late spring to late summer.

FD14681 Veronica Mountain Breeze

Also new are Veronica ‘Mountain Breeze’ and Gaura ‘Rosy Shimmers’, the latter bred by Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants and is a contender for Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year. ‘Rosy Shimmers’ is tall, eventually reaching 1 metre with  reddish pink leaves and large, pale pink petals. Forming a compact mat no more than 40cm tall, ‘Mountain Breeze’ has lightly-striped, mid blue and is a repeat flowerer!

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Rosy will be planting all of these new cultivars exactly where one would find them naturally, adhering to her mantra of ‘right plant, right place’. Entitled Forever Freefolk , The Brewin Dolphin Garden 2016 aims to highlight the fragility of chalk streams which have dwindled to around 200 worldwide and are further endangered by pollution and climate change.

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The River Test in Hampshire is a perfect example of these rare and vital natural resources. The Test runs through Rosy Hardys’ Hampshire village and is very much the inspiration for this, her very first Chelsea show garden. Forever Freefolk is divided into four distinct planting zones: shady, dry chalk grassland, part shade/damp and lush damp. Nearly 6,000 plants, all grown by Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, will fill these zones.

A dry chalk stream bed, surrounded by Achillea ‘Moonshine’, Alchemilla sericata ‘Gold Stike’, and Iris ‘Jane Phillips’, leads the eye back to the stream’s source. The planting gradually changes to reflect the change in habitat. The final zone, a lush, damp place, includes Astrantia ‘Ruby Giant’, Baptisia australis, Caltha palustris and Campanula porskyana.

Shade loving plants in this zone are Aquilegia chrysantha ‘Yellow Queen’, Bergenia ‘Wilton’, Brunnera ‘Looking Glass’ and, if the weather cooperates, there could even be another new introduction, Digitalis ‘Gold Crest’. Key plants in the grassland zone are Dianthus armeria, Eleagnus ‘Quicksilver’, Erigeron krvinskianus and Eriophyllum lanatum.

 

Modern Slavery Garden

Juliet Sargeant Designs Show Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 to Highight the Existence of Modern Slavery in the UK & Effect Change

The Juliet Sargeant Designs show Garden is a celebration of the British Parliment passing the Modern Slavery Act  into law on 26 March 2015.

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However, this law is just the beginning. Ninety percent of actual change in circumstances is due to the actions of law enforcement and the general public. It is with this fact in mind that a group of like-minded individuals from all walks of life came together and created this garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Despite this law, statistics tell us there are an estimated 13,000 enslaved people in the UK currently, and more than 27 million people worldwide.  The aim of this garden is to raise public awareness of this issue. “Being involved in the RHS Chelsea Flower show affords us a wonderful opportunity to get the message into the living rooms of the great British public, build support and help end modern slavery” Mirabelle Galvin, Modern Slavery Garden Team Member.

The garden features a number of doors. First to meet the eye are bright, inviting doors surrounded by colourful planting schemes, used to illustrate the ordinary streets in which we live. Behind these doors, we glimpse a series of dark, imposing, locked doors, symbolising  the hidden ‘behind closed doors’ nature of modern slavery. 

Translucent planting separates the front of the garden from the darker inner space. Feathery fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and the stems of Verbascum and lupin (Lupinus) echo the vertical iron railings surrounding the garden. A ribbon of warm apricot and orange hues run around the perimeter of the garden and compliment the bright colours of the painted front doors. These ribbons include the brightly-coloured, cottage garden favourites, like Peony ‘Coral Sunset’ (Paeonia ‘Coral Sunset’) and Anthriscus ‘Ravenswing’. Included are recently introduced varieties like Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ , launched at Chelsea in 2010, and Heuchera macrantha ‘Palace Purple’ , which debuted in 1983.

Juliet has also chosen to include static pauses in the planting with Coprosma ‘Lemon and Lime’ and Coprosma ‘Pina Colada’ These contrast with the more dramatic forms of Red hook sedge (Uncinia rub) and New Zealand wind grass (Amenanthele lessoniana). This is clearly a garden of contrasts, the bright, uplifting colours surrounded the black heart of the garden’s interior.