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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

Recent Comments

  • New Plant Award winners at the National Plant Show

    Graham Rice on 22 Jul 2013 at 07:51 PM
    Clematis 'Beautiful Bride': Winner of the Best New Plant Award at the National Plant Show.. Image ©John Hiorns
    The National Plant Show is rapidly establishing itself as the place to look for new varieties, but this is a trade show and we usually have to wait for the winners of the New Plant Awards to become available to gardeners like us. Not this year, this year three of the winners are already available, including the clematis that won both Best in Show and the Visitors’ Vote.

    Clematis ‘Beautiful Bride’
    Developed in Poland by Szczepan Marczyński, who’s created many of the best recently introduced clematis, the huge flowers of 'Beautiful Bride' (above, click to enalrge) are up to 25cm across and are pure white with a dark eye of stamens. There’s a first prolific flush of flowers on the 2-3m plants in May and June, then another good flush in August and September.

    Pruning is easy, just nip off the old dead shoot tips back to a fat bud in late winter or early spring.

    Clematis ‘Beautiful Bride’ is available from Crocus.

    Penstemon 'Riding Hood Blue' won the Best Herbaceous Plant Award at the National Plant Show. Image ©Hayloft PlantsPenstemon ‘Riding Hood Blue’
    This prolific dwarf penstemon (left, click to enlarge), with its mass of vivid blue flowers, also won two awards at the recent national Plant Show: the Show’s award for the Best Herbaceous Perennial, and also the Visitors’ Vote for the Best Herbaceous Perennial. Reaching about 60cm, its outstanding features are the intense colouring of the flowers, the long season through which they’re produced and the plants’ reliable winter hardiness.

    Thrives in any sunny place with reasonable drainage, and is also a valuable cut flower.

    Penstemon ‘Riding Hood Blue’ is available from Hayloft Plants

    Pear ‘Benita Rafzas’
    The last of this year’s National Plant Show winners that is already available is the new pear, ‘Benita Rafzas’ (below, click to enalrge), which won the Gold Award for Breeder Innovation. This is a hybrid between an Asian pear, and the recently introduced large fruited, and well flavoured, French traditional pear variety ‘General Leclerc’. The result is a crisp, juicy and very tasty pear which is ready to pick around the middle of August.

    You can order the pear ‘Benita Rafzas’ from Cool Temperate.
    Pear ‘Benita Rafzas’: Winner of the award for innovation at the National Plant Show. Image © Trees for Life Frank Matthews Ltd



  • Rose Dunham Massey: New shrub rose from Peter Beales

    Graham Rice on 08 Jul 2013 at 04:02 PM

    Dunham Massey: New shrub rose from Peter Beales. Image ©Peter Beales RosesOne of the prettiest entries in the Chelsea Plant Of The Year competition this year, and sure to be a star of the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show which opens tomorrow, is a new shrub rose in the old style from Peter Beales Roses.

    Dunham Massey ('Beajelly') is a healthy and trouble-free, modern shrub rose reaching a very convenient 1.2m in height, ideal for small gardens or forward positions in large borders. Its lovely pink flowers are fully double, quartered in the classic style, lightly scented and held in clusters against pale green foliage – and like all the best modern shrub roses, it’s repeat-flowering. It is the result of crossing two earlier Peter Beales roses, introduced in 2002: ‘Yokohama’ and ‘Roseball’.

    This is the second in the Peter Beales Manor House Collection, and was chosen from a selection of new, unnamed seedlings by Damian Harris, Head Gardener of Dunham Massey Hall, Park and Gardens, a National Trust property situated in Cheshire, in 2011. The National Trust decided to name the seedling ‘Dunham Massey’ and coincide its launch with the official opening of their new rose gardens at Dunham Massey Hall last month.

    You can order rose Dunham Massey ('Beajelly') from Peter Beales Roses.