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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

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Anemone ‘Wild Swan’: 2011 Chelsea New Plant of the Year

Posted by Graham Rice on 27 May 2011 at 04:58 PM

Plant of the year,anemone,chelsea flower show. Image ©Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants (all rights reserved)The winner of the Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year award for 2011 was announced earlier this week. Members of all the RHS specialist plant committees chose the winner from the finalists nominated by the RHS Plants Advisory Committee, I listed the twenty finalists here a few days ago. The winner was a lovely new hardy perennial, Anemone ‘Wild Swan’.

Reaching about 16-18in/40-45cm high, and blooming from May to November, each pure white flower is shaded and banded with blue on the backs. The result is that, in morning and evening when the flowers nod and half close, the blue backs are revealed, then for the rest of the day the 2-3in/5-7.5cm pure white flowers open wide.

It grows best in partial shade in humus-rich soil where it would look lovely in a drift after earlier flowering shade plants have passed their peak.

‘Wild Swan’ was selected from a group of seedlings derived from five or six different parents which included Anemone rupicola. The precise parentage is difficult to pin down but involves both early and late flowering types. ‘Wild Swan’ was chosen as the pick of a small group of seedlings by Elizabeth MacGregor at her nursery in Kirkcudbright, between Dumfries and Stranraer in south west Scotland, where it has been on trial for ten years.

Anemone ‘Wild Swan’ is available for delivery next year from Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, who entered the pant for the Chelsea Plant of the Year award, from Elizabeth MacGregor’s nursery, and also from Hayloft Plants.


Anemone Margaret said:

Can this really be a cross between a spring Anemone and an Autumn? It looks very like A.rivularis with the blue backs to the tepals but even a cross with a white hybrid seems a bit improbable bearing in mind their peculiar genetics; and they are all very tall. I suppose I shall have to get it in the National Collection to find out.

on 31 May 2011 at 05:11 PM

Graham Rice said:

Well, Elizabeth MacGregor has said it is definitely not pure A. rivularis. I hope to have more details in my piece in The Plantsman in September.

on 05 Jun 2011 at 05:00 PM