Seasonal highlights you won't see at RHS Chelsea again

From fruiting trees to orange-tinged grasses, holding RHS Chelsea in September provided for a unique event. Here are some of our seasonal favourites

Dahlias and gladioli in peak form

For late season colour, few plants rival dahlias or gladioli, as this dramatic display from Pheasant Acre Plants in the Great Pavilion proves. Easily grown from tubers dahlias are perfect for adding colour to borders, container displays or in cutting gardens.

Among those on the Pheasant Acre stand were red anemone-flowered Dahlia 'Melanie Louise', peachy-pink single D. 'Jo Whiley', and vast pale yellow Giant Decorative 'Lois White'.

Gladioli grow from corms with flowers held in sprays in a vast range of colours. They look great in exotic plantings or make excellent cut flowers. Look out for pink G. 'Lolita' a new selection, and red G. 'Night Rider'. 

Flowering Heptacodium miconioides (Seven Son Flower) seems to be gracing every corner and many of the gardens in the showground.

This superb autumn-flowering shrub is usually seldom seen but is one of the great stars of this year's show and really deserves to be planted more often.

Its scented white flowers are great for attracting pollinators; after they fall, the display continues as red-coloured calyces (leaf-like structures around the flowers) enlarge and persist until the plant's elegant pointed, slightly curled leaves fall. Give it a sunny or semi-shaded well drained site and grow in a shrub border or as a feature plant.

Salvia display in full flower

Great perennials for sunny, well drained borders, most salvias come into their own in late summer and their floral beauty lasts until the first frosts. They may die down in winter but regrow next spring. Use them in gravel gardens, in front of sunny walls, in containers or as mixed plantings.

Stand out plants from first-time exhibitors Middleton Nurseries include new, glowing blue Salvia microphylla 'Delice Aquamarine', an entrant in Plant of the Year 2021, and pink-tinged yellow Salvia × jamensis 'Golden Girl'.

A harvest of seasonal vegetables

Autumn is harvest time and this is reflected in the display from Pennard Plants. Be inspired to try growing some more unusual crops next year by seeing the impressive rich violet fruits of aubergine 'Purple Knight' and beside it pristine aubergine 'White Knight'.

Perhaps most unusual is okra 'Bhut Bhindi' with its upward-pointing fruit. Among the many selections of tomato on show is the interesting 'Wild Argentinian', probably a different species from the normal selections seen, and one with great blight resistance.

Fruits and seed heads

The superb BBC One Show and RHS Garden of Hope designed by Arit Anderson embraced the feel of autumn by displaying many fruiting plants or those with attractive seedheads.

Here you can see the seeds of the Glycyrrhiza yunnanensis, medlars, apples and rose hips and a bountiful Malus hupehensis


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