Plant trends


Shows like RHS Chelsea play a part in trend setting, and the move to more natural planting, with bees and other...


Shows like RHS Chelsea play a part in trend setting, and the move to more natural planting, with bees and other wildlife in mind, certainly proves to be popular. Prior to the show, I was amused by a press release telling me about all the native wildflowers I would enjoy in one of the show gardens. Among them, was Capsella bursa-pastoris, which in my book is a troublesome weed, called shepherd_s purse.

Cow parsley also featured heavily at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. (James Alexander-Sinclair recently mentioned it in his blog, regretting the day he sprinkled its seeds with gay abandon into his borders), but let_s leave discussion of the fine line between wildflower and weed to another time.

The winner of RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2012 was Digitalis _Illumination Pink_. If you have one, you_re in good company. Thompson & Morgan tell me they_ve sold over 380,000 plants so far. They put much of its popularity down to winning the _Plant of the Year_ title. I wait with interest to see if this year_s winner (Mahonia _Soft Caress_, grown by Dutch nurserty, Van Son & Koot) does as well.

To celebrate RHS Chelsea Flower Show_s centenary, plants were nominated from every decade and put to the public to vote for their favourite. Among nominations for _Plant of the Centenary_, were some of my favourites, including Rosa _Iceburg_, Russell lupins, perennial wallflower _Bowles_s Mauve_ and Heuchera _Palace Purple_. The winner of the category was Geranium _Rozanne_, a hardy variety that is worthy of a place in every garden.

My vote went to a nominated shrub that is particularly important to me - Rhododendron yakushimanum. I used to work for a specialist rhododendron nursery called Slococks, at Knaphill in Surrey. When I left, to go and study horticulture at the University of Nottingham, they gave me a Rhododendron yakushimanum. It is compact and slow growing, flowering every year at around the time of RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Despite this, I_m pleased to see Geranium _Rozanne_ topped the poll for the _Plant of the Centenary_ award. Bees love it too, so in terms of matching trends in flowers, you can_t go wrong.

How I'll cover everything I'd like to share about plant trends in my 30-minute seminar this week, I really don't know. I hope my audience won't mind if I go on a little longer. And at the end of the day, trends are only trends if the public follow them. What are your gardening predictions for the year ahead?

by Adam Pasco

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