• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

Unsung Chelsea newcomers

Three interesting plants that didn't quite make the Chelsea Plant Of The Year shortlist

Sometimes, for one reason or another, great new plants can fall by the wayside through no real fault of their own. Here's the last in my series of blogs about noteworthy entries to the 2016 Chelsea Plant of the Year competition.

Cirsium Frosted Magic, Photinia Pink Crispy, Tagetes ‘Strawberry Blonde'Cirsium rivulare Frosted Magic (‘Loweir’)
What’s so special about a white-flowered thistle, and why do we need it? Well, the pink and red forms of Cirsium japonicum are very popular as cut flowers while C. rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’ and the (not very blue) ‘Trevor’s Blue Wonder’ are grown in prairie style plantings.

So the 1.2m (4ft) pure white Frosted Magic should prove valuable in both situations and especially as a cut flower – it has no spines on the flowers! It’s easy to grow in sun and any situation that is not too dry. Unfortunately it was not in full flower in time for the Show.

Cirsium rivulare Frosted Magic is available from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries and is also available from the RHS Plant Shop.

Photinia serratifolia Pink Crispy (‘Oploo5’)
This is a startling, new, easy-to-grow variegated shrub. Its glossy evergreen leaves are speckled in white and the new growth is a vivid bright pink, making a dramatic contrast.

This is a love-it-or-hate-it plant whose full colouring was not in evidence at Chelsea as there was very little new pink growth to be seen. It has, however, proved rather popular in garden centres this season.

Photinia serratifolia Pink Crispy is available from Gardening Express.

Tagetes patula ‘Strawberry Blonde’
A pink-flowered French marigold would be quite a breakthrough so it was unfortunate that under the artificial lighting at the Show, ‘Strawberry Blonde’ showed no sign of its unique colouring. It was impossible to vote it onto the shortlist when its special colouring was not apparent.

However, having now seen it growing outside in sunny conditions in my own garden I have to say that it really does have some pink tints to it and is actually very pretty.

Tagetes ‘Strawberry Blonde’ is available from Thompson & Morgan.

*Please note the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author, which are not necessarily those of the RHS

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