For many years Woodfield Nurseries staged impressive stands of lupins against the side of the Great Pavilion at the Chelsea Flower Show, the vibrant ranks of colour standing out from far away. Now Westcountry Nurseries (Great Pavilion, G27) are carrying on this fine tradition with their own exhibits and also carrying on the tradition of creating new varieties. This year Sarah Conibear, who runs Westcountry Nurseries, has what looks to be the best red lupin we've seen so far - ‘Beefeater'.
From purple tinted buds, long spikes of scarlet flowers pack the stem and each has a small orange flash in the throat creating bright spark of colour. The foliage is strong and deep green.
"I always look for plants where the flowers are well packed along the stem, so the stem doesn't show between them, and for good healthy green foliage," Sarah told me. "And there's another other crucial feature; I like plants where the bottom flowers on the spike are still looking good when the flowers at the top open. And of course they all have good scent."
You can order the new ‘Beefeater' lupin at the show or from the Westcountry Nurseries website where you'll also find more new varieties which were not at the show.