Ninety three plants were entered for New Plant Awards at this week's second annual National Plant Show. The judges picked a winner, and the visitors also picked their favourite.
The Best in Show award went to Dianthus 'Memories'. This pure white garden pink was raised by Whetman Pinks in Devon, the world's leading breeders of new Dianthus, and is said to be one of the most fragrant they've ever raised. Unfortunately, after two and a half days in an exhibition hall it had entirely lost its fragrance, as had the other scented plants in the competition.
The pure white flowers are fully double, the edges of the petals are prettily drilled, and the flowers keep coming from April to September above blue-grey leaves. A charitable contribution of 25p from each plant sold will go to the Alzheimer’s Society to raise money and awareness.
The visitors voted for a different plant, Dahlia Mystic Haze ('Dark Side of the Moon') came out top. This is a very dark leaved dahlia with large single flowers. The foliage is a slightly glossy mahogany black in colour while the flowers are orange to apricot in colour with yellow highlights; new flowers are more highly yellow tinted.
Mystic Haze was raised in New Zealand by the eminent dahlia breeder Keith Hammett who has produced an impressive range of dark leaved dahlias.
The National Plant Show is a show for the horticultural trade and stocks of these new varieties are still being propagated. Both plants should be on sale in nurseries and garden centres next year but I thought you'd like to get an advance look at them.