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’
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 PlantsPear ‘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.