|RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2011: Anemone 'Wild Swan'|
Anemone 'Wild Swan' appears to be a hybrid between Anemone rupicola and A. hupehensis, showing characters of both species, but it is said to form a compact clump and not run around, unlike A. hupehensis. Flowering from the end of May and with another flush later in the year it obviously has potential for adding lovely cool flowers to a semi-shady site at a time of year when there are no other large anemones in bloom. What charmed many people was the elegance of the grey-mauve reverse of the tepals, which is a really lovely feature. Plants will be available from Elizabeth McGregor and Hardys' later in the year.
|Elegantly dapper: the outer side of the flowers of Anemone 'Wild Swan'.|
|The runner-up: Saxifraga 'Anneka Hope'|
|Verbascum 'Blue Lagoon'|
All the shortlisted plants are displayed on a stand in the Grand Marquee for all to see, and while the presentation is better than last year's, it lacks any sort of flair or attractiveness: this really needs some creative design input! Among them is the remarkable blue-flowered clone of Verbascum armeniacum, 'Blue Lagoon', selected by Charles Valin of Thompson & Morgan. It is an extraordinary colour break in the genus (the colour in this picture does not do it justice, I'm afraid), and in fact it was by far the most distinct new plant on display, but the plant looks short-lived and my experience with other clones of V. armeniacum suggests that this will not be a generally good garden plant. I suspect that others thought likewise, as it came third in the voting.