PLANT LIST FOR 2012 EXHIBIT
If you'd like a copy of the plant list for Duel and the Crown - email us here and we'll send it to you at the end of May
Choisya ‘Aztec Gold’
Choisya, the Mexican orange blossom is one of our best loved shrubs; hardly surprising as it has so many of the qualities we look for in a long-term garden plant. It is evergreen, with glossy foliage that looks good throughout the year. It has a dense, leafy habit, and responds well to pruning to control its size. It is easy to grow on any well-drained soil, in sun or shade, and is generally pest and disease free. It flowers in late spring, and again in autumn; the white, golden-stamened flowers are fragrant and freely produced in clusters all over the shrub.
When Choisya ‘Aztec Pearl’ was launched thirty years ago it was hardly surprising that it caused a stir: a new choisya with narrower leaflets and an altogether lighter, more airy habit. I remember using it at one of my first Chelsea Flower Shows: an attractive plant with incredible flower power that mixed easily with other shrubs and perennials. Likewise Choisya ‘Sundance’ was an instant hit when it arrived on the scene: good golden foliage plants are few, and nothing grabs the attention more in a garden, or for that matter a garden centre or nursery. However in the garden it can be rather too bold, especially when positioned amidst a sea of plain green leaves.
Other golden-leaved choisyas have appeared over the years, but none of particularly robust constitution – until now. Choisya ‘Aztec Gold’ is a new breed of golden choisya, and one that is here to stay. It has the fine, waxy, weather-resistant foliage of ‘Aztec Pearl’; bright golden yellow at the ends of the shoots and bright green deep in the heart of the plant. I find this gold and green combination particularly pleasing because it makes ‘Aztec Gold’ more sociable with other plants.
It combines wonderfully with gold and green variegations such as Euonymus japonicus ‘Chollipo’ or the small-leaved Lonicera nitida ‘Lemon Beauty’. It would also sit well alongside a plain dark evergreen such as Aucuba ‘Rozanne’ or Viburnum davidii. I can see it sitting alongside a fence clad in Hedera colchica ‘Sulphur Heart’ or the autumn flowering Clematis ‘Bill MacKenzie’. It would certainly liven up Mahonia ‘Charity’ through the summer months and accentuate those flowers in winter.
Choisya ‘Aztec Gold’ is the work of Hillier Master plantsman Alan Postill. Alan has been growing, breeding and nurturing Hillier plants for forty years and has many achievements to his name such as the amazing winter-fragrant Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’. In this year of British Celebration it is a great privilege for us to launch another of his golden gifts to the Great World of British Gardening.
Verbascum 'Blue Lagoon'
Verbascum 'Blue Lagoon' is a unique and exciting new hardy evergreen perennial. Spires of clear 'mecanopsis' blue flowers with a central bee are freely produced throughout the summer.
It has a height and spread of 75cm x 30cm and can be planted in any good, well drained soil in a position of full sun or partial shade.
It is equally happy to be planted either in the flowerbed or in a patio container.
… give bees a chance
Throughout the summer months Hillier Garden Centres and Nurseries are promoting ‘bee friendly’ plants as part of an important initiative to help protect and restore the UK’s bee population.
Bee numbers have been in decline in recent years and although the reasons are not fully understood there is widespread evidence to suggest that modern farming methods, which create large swathes of countryside filled with just one or two plant species, are responsible for reducing the quality of bee habitat.
All bees need a wide variety of pollen to keep them healthy and this is where gardens come to the rescue. British gardens are collectively the largest nature reserve in the UK and plant diversity in our flower borders is widely recognised as key to the healthy survival of bees.
By planting a good mixture of plants we not only create beautiful gardens but also become part of the solution to the bee problem, and in return the bees will work hard pollinating our fruit, vegetables and flowers. Our healthy garden bees can then do the important job of pollinating the crops in the fields, which provide a third of all the food we eat.
Our ‘bee friendly’ plant range consists of a wide range of shrubs and herbaceous plants providing a summer-long succession of great garden colour. Included in the range is a new series of Dwarf Butterfly Bush, Buddleja ‘Buzz’ in a range of colours: ivory, lavender, magenta and sky blue. There is also the delightful Abelia schumanii ‘Bumblebee’ with its superb lilac-pink flowers produced in late summer and autumn.
It is thought that bees may be especially attracted to blue flowers and these are well represented in the range. Caryopteris clandonensis ‘Dark Knight’ has clusters of dark blue flowers above silvery-green foliage, Catananche caerulea ‘Major’ has lilac-blue cornflowers and there are a number of blue sages including the outstanding Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ with spikes of violet-blue flowers.
But the real key to a beautiful garden haven for bees is plant diversity. It seems that flower-power really is the way to give bees a chance.
CHELSEA 2012 - Duel and the Crown
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