A Zinnia with petals that transition from deep purple to pale pink and white has seen off competition from more than 100 other plants to be voted best new variety for 2017. Candy coloured ‘Zany Rose Picotee’ won the RHS People’s Choice Award as red and pink floral displays dominate this year’s list.
The public were invited to vote for their favourite new variety – newly bred variations of a plant – from 108 trialled at RHS Garden Wisley’s five acre trials site this year. The runners up were Celosia argentea var. cristata ‘Dragon’s Breath’ and Ipomoea ‘Party Dress’.
Visitors to the garden also voted for their favourite Calibrachoa and Zinnia, the latter of which was chosen for trial by the RHS after featuring in Fleuroselect’s plant of the year for 2017 and forms part of a European trial of the plant.
Following the announcement of the People’s Choice Awards, expert plant committees will recommend those deemed best for all-round garden value for the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
The RHS People’s Choice Award winners were:
- New Varieties: Zinnia ‘Zany Rose Picotee’ (Zany Series)
- Zinnias: Zinnia elegans ‘Giant Deep Red’ (Benary’s Giant Series) and Zinnia elegans ‘Molotov Mixed’
- Hanging Baskets: Calibrachoa ‘MiniFamous Double PinkTastic’
- Containers: Calibrachoa ‘Cabaret bright red’
Sabatino Urzo, Trials Manager at the Royal Horticulture Society, comments: “Nurseries work tirelessly to cultivate new varieties that the public will enjoy each year and RHS Garden Wisley is the only place in the UK that the public can see such a wealth of new plants tried and tested in one space.
“The People’s Choice Award is a great way of engaging the public with the RHS’ trials programme and points to popular trends and fashions in planting. This year we can see plants with a reddish hue have scored highly with the public versus more subtle yellows and whites that feature lower in the rankings. The Zinnia, of course, has long been a UK favourite but this new candy coloured variety combined with the plant’s promise of continued early autumn flowering, means we could well see more people falling for their bold blooms.”
The RHS hosts around 30 plant trials each year between the RHS Gardens, Partners and other sites. Suppliers of the new varieties trialled at RHS Garden Wisley in 2017 were: Ball Colegrave, Danziger, Newey Young Plants, Takii, Channel Island Plants, Earley Ornamentals Ltd and Simon Crawford.