Looking around the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this afternoon, all the exhibitors are relieved that the heat wave is now a little less fierce. Bringing plants in a van from the other end of the country in that heat wouldn't leave them in good condition.
Some exhibitors have yet to make an appearance but others, like Solva Plants from Hampshire, are well on the way to finishing. But they're having doubts about their new heuchera from across the Atlantic.
Heuchera ‘Plum Royale' is an interesting first in heucheras: it's the first variety to retain its intense purple colouring all summer. In winter, the foliage is silver with purple tints but then in summer it develops the lovely rich colouring you see in the picture (click on the image to enlarge it).
And in spring and summer there are the flowers. Purple stems carry the usual dainty little flowers in white tinged with pink, the perfect companion colour for the plum purple foliage.
Sean Burton of Solva Plants told me: "When people come through the nursery it's the first heuchera they notice, it really stands out." And his wife Jooles says: "It's one of the nicest of all the purple heucheras." The problem for Solva Plants is that the plant is so new that they're not sure the specimen they have earmarked for their stand is really good enough. They've not had time to grow a really top class one. And I have to say that it still looks a little silvery and they don't want to let a good plant down by displaying a specimen which is not perfect. So it remains to be seen if it will find its way on to the completed exhibit.
However, you can buy plants of this superb new heuchera at the Show, or order it from the Solva Plants website (scroll down).
BTW, like C & K Jones whose website's excellent name I mentioned the other day - Solva Plants have a great doman name for their website: heucheraholics.co.uk