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Winners and wonders. Plants to look out for in 2012


Thank you to Gay Nightingale for supplying the following article, which relates to plants available in the UK.

25,000 plants of RHS Plant of the Year 'Illumination Pink' - a unique foxglove (digitalis) from Thompson & Morgan - sold in just one week. Impressive news that emphasises how much the general population likes new plants. Digitalis 'Illumination Pink' is said to flower for up to 6 months and it's compact habit makes it suitable for patio containers. The startling combination of bright pink and cream bell flowers - on multi-branched flower spikes - is distinctive.

Which other plants have drawn my attention at recent shows ?
Among the runners-up in the Plant of the Year competition, strongly scented Dianthus 'Memories' is unforgettable The white-flowering, carnation-type blooms are sure to be chosen by countless flower-arrangers and gardeners. And Queen's Jubilee Rose from Peter Beales Roses is a good choice for those looking for white-flushed-peach shrub roses.

Among many outstanding roses, irresistible charmers include the following: David Austin Roses' scented, warm pink, 'Royal Jubilee' and their Chelsea 2012 launched, apricot-coloured, English Rose 'The Lark Ascending'; R.Harkness, 'Diamond Days', a new lemon yellow, citrus-scented, rose for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. And 10% of the receipts of this rose will benefit help for Heroes - a registered charity.

A 'must have' plant that has come forward from thousands, maybe millions, of special plants is Verbascum 'Blue Lagoon'. This plant held my attention while a kind plant enthusiast was describing the merits of another worthy plant. The new blue verbascum stood out in a garden that won for Hillier Nurseries a 67th consecutive Chelsea Gold Medal. There is was this subtle denim blue colour - quiet yet unmistakably attractive.

A waterside iris that is worth looking for is Iris kermasina. A deep mauve/purple bloom with yellow/white marking on the petals, altogether a delightful plant, that is hardy for areas round natural and formal pools. Further details plus a one-sheet illustrated leaflet with talk titles are available from www.watersidenursery.co.uk

An older but still reliable plant, Geranium 'Rozanne' has come through yet another winter here in Britain. Millions of this hardy plant variety have been sold.

A new variety with a strange name for a plant, Leucanthemum 'Freak' was displayed at Chelsea, in 2012, on the Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants stand. The white daisy flowers provide months of interest and grow on a compact plant that is ideal for pots.

Dicentra 'Spring Magic', better known to many people as "Bleeding Hearts" has proved to be fully hardy in gardens across Britain. The heart-shaped flowers, soft-pink in this form, hang from stems that don't arch so much as in other Dicentra; and finely cut foliage helps to create interest in the front of the border. Plants can also be grown in containers on a patio, or other small paved areas. They also thrive when obliged to compete with natural flora in a cottage semi-wild garden - an excellent choice for lightly shaded or shady areas.

An interesting addition to general knowledge is that the dicentra flowers attract hummingbirds. Now isn't that a nice vision?


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