Plant of the Year
Fruity little number scoops the top plant award at Chelsea
A dwarf mulberry that was years in the making was awarded the coveted title of 2017 Chelsea Plant of the Year.
Mulberry 'Charlotte Russe' ('Matsunaga') was the result of many years of work by 89-year-old breeder Hajime Matsunaga.
Exhibited by the Horticultural Trades Association and found on exhibits in the Great Pavilion and on the Chris Evans Taste Garden, this compact dwarf mulberry tree is the perfect size for small gardens and patios. The self-pollinating plant reaches only 1.5m and produces berries from June to September on plants that are only one year old - most mulberry plants take around eight years to mature.
Mulberry 'Charlotte Russe' was introduced into the UK by Suttons in spring 2017, and the first batch of 2,500 plants sold out in only a week. A further batch of 7,500 plants (of which half are already pre-sold) are available for mail order dispatch in autumn 2017.
Salvia ‘Crystal Blue’
This salvia, with its light sky-blue flowers, was a chance seedling found in a field of salvias in Michigan, This hardy perennial could be seen in the Great Pavilion on the Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants stand. The pastel blue colour of the flowers blends well with other plants and it grows to a height of 45cm and spreads to 60cm.
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis HIBISQS PETIT ORANGE ('Petit Orange') (HibisQs Petit Series)
A floriferous Hibiscus with eye-catching orange flowers, this hibiscus exhibited by Thompson & Morgan adds an exotic feel to a windowsill or patio. The flowers contrast nicely with the shiny, dark foliage on this indoor plant, which can also be grown outside in a warm, sunny position where it will flower from May until the first frost.
The full shortlist for the 2017 competition.
1. Begonia ‘Silver Spirit’
2. Betula pendula FASTIGIATA JOES ('Jolep 1')
3. Chilli pepper ‘Dragon’s Breath’
4. Clematis ‘Taiga’
5. Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Cupcakes Blush’ (Cupcakes Series)
6. Digitalis ‘Lemoncello’
7. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis HIBISQS PETIT ORANGE ('Petit Orange') (HibisQs Petit Series)
8. Leontopodium nivale subsp.alpinum BLOSSOM OF SNOW ('Berghman')
9. Lewisia longipetala ‘Little Snowberry’
10. Lilium ‘Yin’
11. Malus × purpurea 'Crimson Cascade'
12. Morus rotundiloba CHARLOTTE RUSSE ('Matsunaga')
13. Pelargonium 'Rushmoor Amazon' (Rushmoor River Series)
14. Rosa JAMES L. AUSTIN ('Auspike')
15. Rosa PAPWORTH'S PRIDE ('Beamelon')
16. Salvia ‘Crystal Blue’
17. Strawberry JUST ADD CREAM ('Tmstr14pnk')
18. Sweet pepper ‘Popti’
19. Zantedeschia ‘Dubai Nights’
20. Zantedeschia ‘Eyeliner’