Chelsea Flower Show’s Plant of the Year for 2019 is Sedum takesimense Atlantis, discovered as a sport (naturally occurring hybrid) by Hortech’s Dave Mackenzie, who specialises in plants for ground cover, green roofs and walls, in a nursery on the shores of Lake Michigan.
It’s the first time in 10 years that a variegated plant has won the top honour. Sedum takesimense grows only on Ulleungdo Island (Squid Island), a volcanic outcrop 150km off the coast of South Korea. This is not a desert plant and it won’t take full sun in hot climates.
Runner-up to the low-growing sedum with yellow flowers was the hybrid foxglove Digitalis x valinii Firebird with “90cm high flowering spikes of warm reddish-pink with apricot tones”. Bred by UK plantsman John Fielding, Firebird is more winter hardy and generally a stronger garden plant than previous varieties
In third place was a miniature agapanthus, Fireworks which has flowers that are blue at the base and white on the ends. Fireworks is said to be the first reblooming evergreen bicoloured agapanthus in the world! In 2008 Quinton Bean and Andy De Wet from De Wet Plant Breeders in South Africa germinated 12,000 seeds and in 2010 picked out Fireworks because it was already showing its first flowers.
The three plants were honoured from a shortlist of 20. See photos of the winners here.
The rose Knock Out – hybridised by William Radler of the US and introduced in 2000 – was last year inducted into the Hall of Fame of the World Federation of Rose Societies.
Blooming every 5-6 weeks, from spring to frost, it creates a stunning show of cherry red flowers that do well in most climates. “The Knock Out roses are the most disease-resistant on the market,” the notes with the rose say. “All of the Knock Out roses are self-cleaning so there is no need to deadhead.” See the Hall of Fame here.
Last year Britons voted for their Tree of the Year in each of the four countries. Here are the results.
Each year the National Garden Bureau in the US designates various ‘Year of’ categories. For 2019 it’s the Year of the Snapdragon (annual); Year of the Dahlia (bulb); Salvia nemorosa (perennial) and Year of the Pumpkin (edible).