Hillier is set to introduce three new plants in its Chelsea Flower Show garden this year. With an international reputation for its horticultural skills and expertise, and a world record holder for having the most Chelsea golds, Hillier is the name that is synonymous with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Each year Hillier launches its latest plant varieties at the show and this year there are new plants being showcased, each very different but all complementing the rustic theme of this year’s garden, “Stihl Inspiration” by Hillier.
The first is Eryngium ’Blue Waves’, a hybrid developed solely with Hillier Nurseries in the UK. This unique blend of Eryngium bourgatii and Eryngium alpinum was first cultivated in 2002 when two plants, growing close to each other, resulted in the production 11 hybrid seedlings. One of these was then selected due to its strong, upright stems and large bracted cone like flower head, which is surrounded by a number of smaller bracted flowers. This will be the star of the Hillier 2018 Chelsea Flower Show garden.
The intricate thistle-like blooms of the Eryngium are in a vibrant shade of amethyst and create a ‘blue wave’ sitting on top of a stout, inky blue stem. E. ‘Blue Waves’ emerges from an over wintered crown producing ornate leaves with silver-white veins, then in June the cone like heads appear, each surrounded by a prominent spiky bract on stems between 35cm and 50cm high. As the plant matures, the flower cones, bracts and stems all turn to the shade of vivid blue from which it takes its name. Once established, the new Eryngium is very drought tolerant, and even thrives in poor soil. Its versatility is set to make it a big performer for Hillier.
Accompanying the vibrant shades of the Eryngium ‘Blue Waves’ will be a second Hillier introduction for 2018. Salvia ’Rhythm and Blues’ will add height to the planting in the “Stihl Inspiration” by Hillier garden. A result of exceptional breeding, Salvia ‘Rhythm and Blues’ has large summer flowers in stunning colours.
This Salvia, a hybrid of Salvia guaranitica, the hummingbird sage, has stiff long black tipped flower stems of up to 90cm tall that contrast beautifully with its vivid blue flowers. It produces masses of freely repeat-flowering blooms throughout the season.
To complement the stunning blues of these two new plants, and to enhance the rustic theme introduced by the corten-steel that features throughout the garden, the final new plant for Hillier this year is Hydrangea aspera ‘Gold Rush’ exclusively grown by Hillier Nurseries in the UK. Hydrangea aspera ‘Gold Rush’ is a shrub of distinctive velvety textured gold foliage with striking lavender blue flowers surrounded by distinctive white florets on its edges.
The new growth of Hydrangea aspera ‘Gold Rush’ that emerges in spring is truly unique. It initially displays shades of gold and flame orange, then matures to a rich golden yellow before turning green in the height of summer. Hydrangea aspera ‘Gold Rush’ flowers in summer and can grow to be two metres high and one metre wide. At this size, it is ideal for shrub borders and can be the perfect addition to containers or balcony displays.
The new plants were introduced by the Hillier Research and Development team which has a wealth of horticultural experience and a passion for making horticultural discoveries. George Hillier, explained: “We love unveiling our plants at Chelsea and watching people come to find them in the garden. There is almost as much anticipation each year for the announcement of these as there is about the garden design.
“A key part of Hillier is expanding our growing business and we do this, and maintain our positioning in the market, by the introduction of new plants. Our R&D team is constantly working, alongside our international partners, to deliver exciting new innovations to the market and these are an example of that.”
The three new plants will be available to purchase in Hillier’s 12 garden centres after they have been launched at Chelsea Flower Show.
For more information, please visit www.hillier.co.uk or follow @HillierGarden on Twitter.