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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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Chelsea Plant of The Year: Three more finalists

Posted by Graham Rice on 18 Jun 2011 at 07:19 PM

RHS,Plant of The Year,Chelsea,Rhododendron,Hydrangea,Uncinia. Image © Carol Sheppard/RHS.Continuing my run down of all the finalists for the 2011 Plant of The Year award, given at this year's Chelsea Flower Show, we come to shrubs and an ornamental grass (above, click to enlarge).

Hydrangea Avantgarde ('Hedi') is a traditional mophead hydrangea – but with three special qualities. First of all the flower heads, and also the leaves, are unusually large so the impact is impressive. Also, the flowers change colour intriguingly as the age, opening white, they mature to pink (blue on acid soils) then finally to green. Finally, other special feature of Avantgarde is that it not only flowers in the usual hydrangea season, but also flowers again later in the season.

From one of the world's leading rhododendron hybridisers, Hans Hachmann, comes 'Rabatz'. The culmination of a breeding programme begun as long ago as the 1970s, 'Rabatz' features clusters of good deep red flowers which open wide to show off their delicate dark freckles. In this variety, unusually, that rich colouring is combined with a cast iron constitution, 'Rabatz' will take colder winter temperatures than other varieties in a similar shade.

Finally, a very striking evergreen ornamental grass discovered in New Zealand. I wrote it up here back in February. Uncinia rubra Everflame ('Belinda's Find') is a colourfully variegated form of the familiar U. rubra found by the dispatch manager of a wholesale nursery near Auckland. Its purplish green foliage is brightly striped in pink shades and it keeps its colour all year in sun or light shade as long as the soil is not too dry.

Click on the links below to see posts on the other finalists:
The Winner
The two runners up
Heucherella and Lewisia finalists
Three lily finalists
Three container plant finalists

Thank you to Carol Sheppard of the RHS for the images.



Peter Ponder said:

Those are three lovely flowers my mother always loved <a href="" target="new" style="color:inherit;text-decoration:none">hydrangeas</a>.

on 10 Oct 2011 at 01:24 PM