New Plants At Chelsea 2008

Posted on: 27 May 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Brand new varieties and colours for your garden.

Having debuted over 400 new plant varieties in the last six years, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show remains the plant breeders' favourite place to launch new plants.

Newcomers include a new begonia (Begonia masoniana var. maculata) introduced by Rhodes and Rockliffe, holders of a national collection of begonias. These are joined by a host of others including three new roses from David Austin Roses, new sweetpeas from Matthewman Sweet Peas and Eagle Sweet Peas, and a new clematis bred by Raymond J Evison Ltd, Clematis Rebecca ('Evipo016'). Hillier Nurseries Ltd also launches a new rose, Rosa 'Star of Britain'.

Notcutts Garden Centres' new plant introductions include Cercis canadensis 'Lavender Twist' [Covey] - the first weeping form of this eye-catching plant in Europe. It develops large light purple flowers in late Spring, ahead of heart-shaped foliage that emerges later on. Brought to the UK by Tim Brotzman from the United States of America. ‘Lavender Twist’ was first found in 1991 in Westfield, New York, growing in the garden of Connie Covey. The original tree was about 35 years old and was 4.5 feet high by 7 feet wide with a diameter of 6 inches. Will usually become dormant before the first frost and has survived -23 ºF. Grows to 2-3m at maturity. Likes full sun but will tolerate some shade. A 12L pot costs RRP £49.99.

Notcutts Garden Centres launches Cercis canadensis Lavender Twist ('Covey') at 2008 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Photo: Notcutts Garden CentresHydrangea macrophylla 'Endless Summer - The Bride' is a new addition to the popular 'Endless Summer'R range with pure white blossoms that mature to a blush pink, contrasting superbly with the dark-green foliage. This range of Hydrangeas has the ability to bloom on new wood as well as re-blooming on current wood. A 5L pot costs RRP £14.99. Both plants are available from Notcutts 13 Garden Centres throughout the South and East.

Devon based Whetman Pinks launches no fewer than eight new varieties at the 2008 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. These new introductions are the product of an extensive breeding programme which endeavours to meet the needs of today's gardener. Whetman varieties have earned a world wide reputation for their qualities of fragrance and tolerance of frost, heat and drought. Numerous varieties have gained the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit.

The new Early Bird Ò range has been developed to provide an early Pink - flowering by the end of February or early March. There are five varieties for 2008 with additions expected for 2009. All are sweetly perfumed, double and repeat flowering. If the faded flowers are picked off regularly and the plant has good nourishment, flowers can be expected well into the Autumn. The colours are Fizzy - lavender with a maroon eye, Rosebud - deep salmon, Sherbet - magenta, Stardust - apricot, and Frilly - shocking pink.

The award winning Scent First Ò range has two fabulous additions to its collection which includes the well known Tickled Pink. Passion is a velvety red with a sweet perfume, excellent for pots or patio containers as like all the Scent First Ò it is naturally compact. Sugar Plum is notable for its chocolate coloured buds which open to reveal a gorgeous picotee of plum and white - and a wonderful perfume. The Scent First Ò range is ideal for all types of patio pots and containers and when the old flower heads are removed, will flower continuously throughout the summer.

The garden Pink Bailey's Celebration is being reintroduced - with pink stripes on a white ground it is heavily fragrant and great for garden borders or large containers.

Dibleys Nurseries launches Streptocarpus 'Alissa' at 2008 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Photo: Dibleys NurseriesDibley's Nursery's new launches include Streptocarpus 'Alissa' which is the first commercial yellow Streptocarpus ever seen at Chelsea. Yellow is a recessive gene in Streptocarpus and Alissa is the result of over eleven years of specific breeding to achieve this colour.

New for 2008 are Streptocarpus 'Rebecca' and Streptocarpus 'Targa'. The former is a pale lavender with purple veining over three of the five neatly upturned petals, it grows as a medium sized strep' and was bred by Lynne Dibley bringing the total number of Streptocarpus that she has bred and introduced to 44. 18 of the plants have received the prestigious Award of Garden Merit.

Streptocarpus 'Targa' sports deep purple velvety flowers and is perfect for the windowsill. Chelsea Flower Show 2008 is the first opportunity for the public to see this German bred plant.

Downderry Nursey is introducing two new stoechas lavenders at Chelsea 2008, the beautiful, blousey cerise pink 'With Love' and the dark, seductive 'Night of Passion'. Also 'Garden Beauty' the first variegated angustifolia and 'Royal Velvet' the latest flowering angustifolia.

Knoll Gardens launches Stipa ichu at 2008 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Photo: Knoll GardensKnoll Gardens' Neil Lucas first saw the striking grass Jarava ichu, common name Peruvian feather grass, on a plant collecting trip in the USA. Its bright green mounds of hair-like foliage topped with masses of gently pendulous silvery feather like flowers simply demanded attention. In its native habitat it is often used in land reclamation schemes where its tough, drought tolerant qualities lend themselves to successful establishment.

Jarava was once included in the genus Stipa, and in comparing the soft foliage of Jarava ichu with Stipa tenuissima - one of the most popular ornamental grasses in the UK - it is not difficult to see the resemblance. Indeed it was this similarity that first drew Neil's attention.

"What I particularly like about this plant," says Neil, "is that it combines two very important attributes: the beautifully soft bright green foliage of Stipa tenuissima and the large showy flowers reminiscent of some of the more unusual Stipa's such as Stipa barbata. It is easy to grow and great to look at, which to my mind makes for a perfect garden plant."

Jarava ichu is between 70cm to 90cm tall, makes tussocks of fine, fresh green, narrow hair-like foliage which is virtually evergreen, and will flower from about mid summer onwards. Like many grasses it prefers the full sun and a well drained position and is a perfect plant for containers.

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