New launches at Chelsea 2019

See the new plants making their debut at Chelsea this year. From a sumptuous regal clematis to ruffled irises and blowsy roses, there’s plenty to tempt you in The Great Pavilion

Lupinus ‘Bishop’s Tipple’ Perky lilac flower spikes with a hint of yellow, borne on strong, stocky stems from early May. Pleated palmate leaves look lovely in dew. Prefers sun and a moist but well-drained soil. H75cm (2ft) S50cm (19in). £8.50 for 9cm pot from Westcountry Lupins 01237 431111; 

Iris ‘Natchez Trace’ Copper-toned bearded iris that’s sure the turn heads at this year’s Chelsea. The darker falls have a soft, satiny feel, while the standards have a decadent, ruffled appearance. Prefers sun or part shade and well-drained soil. H85cm (33in) S30cm (12in). £7.50 for 11cm pot from Todds Botanics 01376 561212;

Rosa ‘Gabriel Oak’ Named after the dignified, hardworking and honest character in Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd. A vigorous rose, bearing large, many-petalled rosette blooms, this variety is very much in the style of the Old Roses. The outer petals of each bloom are a striking shade of deep pink which pale slightly over time, creating a most charming effect. Coupled with a wonderful strong fruity fragrance, this shapely, rounded shrub exudes richness and abundance. H and S1.25cm (4ft). £21.50 bare root; £28 containerised from David Austin Roses 01902 376300;

Rosa ‘Eustacia Vye’ Named after the exotically beautiful but restless heroine of The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy, this an exceedingly pretty shrub rose in soft, glowing apricot-pink. Each bloom is packed with multiple, delicately ruffled petals on red-tinged stems. Strong, fruity fragrance and bushy, upright growth. A very healthy variety. H1.25m (4ft) S90cm (35in). £21.50 bare root; £28 containerised from David Austin Roses 01902 376300;

Salvia ‘Amethyst Lips’ Stunning bicoloured purple-and-white flowered salvia related to the popular red and white salvia ‘Hot Lips’. This reliable shrubby perennial flowers throughout summer from June to October. Prefers a moist but well drained soil in full sun. H1m (3ft 3in) S75cm (29in). £6.50 for 1L pot from Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants 01256 896533;

Digitalis valinii ‘Firebird’ Developed by breeder John Fielding, this exotic-looking beauty is a cross between our own native Digitalis purpurea and the Canary Island foxglove, Digitalis canariensis. Flowers emerge on upright stems from May to October, with a deep apricot undertone and freckles inside the flower throat. Plants are hardy to -5C (xxF) and popular with bees. Performs best in a fertile soil enriched with organic matter, in part shade. H90cm (35in) S50cm (19in). £7.50 for 1L pot from Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants 01256 896533;

Heuchera ‘Cool Dude’ Unusual cool green foliage with silvery-frosting and deeper green veins are joined by tall, large bell-shaped dusky-pink flowers on strong stems in June and August. Easy to grow and mound forming, good for ground cover in full or part shade. Loved by the bees. Bred in the UK by Richard and Vicky Fox, so will stand up to variable British winters. H30cm (12in) S40cm (16in). £7.50 for 1L plant from Plantagogo 01270 820335;

Heuchera ‘Burgundy Bill’ Voluptuous-looking heuchera with eye-catching burgundy-red foliage that glows bright in sunlight. Pretty pure white flowers from June-August show up well against the tall burgundy-red stems and richer foliage. Very easy to grow and loved by bees. Best in sun or part shade in a free draining soil. H30cm (12in) S40cm (16in). £7.50 for 1L plant from Plantagogo 01270 820335;

Dianthus ‘Cherry Burst’ One of a new generation of sweetly perfumed, single-flowered fully hardy pinks that’s perfect for border edges or patio pots, bred by Whetman Plants International. Flowering continuously from May to September ‘Cherry Burst’ has interesting chocolate-coloured buds that open to a deep maroon eye, bleeding out to a lighter pink border over compact grey/green foliage. Plant in sun in any reasonable soil. H30cm (12in) S25cm (10in). £7.50 for 1L from Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants 01256 896533;

Clematis 'Meghan' Bred by New Leaf Plants, dark purply-red clematis ‘Meghan’ joins the royal family of clematis offered by Thorncroft Clematis. The deciduous, large early flowered climber was named and introduced in limited numbers last year to celebrate the royal wedding, but will now enjoy its formal launch at Chelsea. The stunning flowers are produced May to June and again July-September on the current season’s growth. Plant in sun or part shade. Prune Feb/March. H and S1.5m (5ft) £15 from Thorncroft Clematis 01953 850407;

Clematis 'Scented Clem' This enchanting lilac-blue clematis is part of the Sugar Sweet range, and its starry flowers with an almond scent particularly strong at dawn and dusk. Blooms emerge April-May – so it’ll hopefully be in flower at Chelsea! Plants have shown good resistance to clematis wilt and are vigorous, floriferous growers, bred from the species C. cadmia by Ton Hannink from the Netherlands. Plant in sun or part shade. H and Sxxm (8-10ft). £15 from Thorncroft Clematis 01953 850407;

Chelsea 2019: See the show gardens!

The M&G Garden by Andy Sturgeon

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Andy Sturgeon

Andy Sturgeon

“IT ALL STARTED when I saw some black rocks emerging from a beach in Australia. I loved their drama and the way they were becoming subsumed by the sand and colonised by pioneer plants. I love the lants are able to colonise all – even lava flows at the base of Mount Etna.

“I wanted to create a wodland garden for its atmosphere, but didn’t want to use rocks so instead I’ve gone for a sculptural burnt oak, stratefied into layers and upright but leaning at the same angle. It means that from one side of the garden you can see the black t and green plants against it, but from the front you can see between the rocks, framing different sightslines of the garden.

“The trees I’ve chosen at three enormous Carpinus betula (hornbeam) and Nothofagus antarctica (southern beech) - both havevery small leaves and characterful trunks so you’ll create a woodland atmosphere but without casting too much shade.

“I’ve also used lots of pioneer plants that have a primitive quality - algae, mosses and lichens, ferns, restios and equisetums, which have been around since the age of the dinosaurs. In the pond is aquatic Cyperus alternifolius which also has a primitive look. It’s all very green, so there are lots of leaf textures and shapes, and little pops of jewel colours from primulas and Lilium martagon ‘Claude Shride’.

“We have a large Aralia cordata, some aruncus and two types of angelica – Angelica archangelica and Angelica dahurica throughout the garden, and lots of grasses such as Melica altimissima ‘Alba’.

“I’m definitely not intending to mimic nature - it’s a garden space but it might be a bit scruffy around the edges.”

The Morgan Stranley Garden by Chris Beardshaw

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Chris Beardshaw

Chris Beardshaw

“FOR THIS YEAR’S show garden I wanted to reawaken people’s interest in the flower-rich herbaceous border.

“Inspired by the circular economy – being sensitive to resources and opportunities to recycle – here we’ve tried to bring plants to the show in the most efficient and sustainable way possible. The plants are all being grown without heat or additional fertiliser in 100% recyclable taupe plastic pots, using compost made from salvaged, water-washed minerals and garden waste. The buildings are all made from lightweight recyclable composites to keep our carbon footprint low as possible. We’ll be using battery-powered machinery instead of diesel, too.

“The main focal point is the dramatic pine tree sculpted by the wind into a 30 degree angle. There’a also a Zelcova serrata, a native hawthorn and neatly clipped yew lozenges. The herbaceous planting is going to be a mix of white, blue, yellow and pink, and flashes of orange for a bit of spice. The plants will be layered into contours, with taller plants at the back, shorter ones in front, in a scalloped pattern for maximum impact. It’s an idea pioneered at Arley Hall, Cheshire, in the mid-1800s that I’ve updated here for a succession of colour and a tapestry of foliage texture.”


The Warner Distillery Garden by Helen Elks-Smith

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Helen Elks-Smith

Helen Elks-Smith

“THE BRIEF WAS to create a garden that reflected the landscape at Falls Farm – the location of Warner’s Distillery in Northamptonshire,” says Helen. “I’ve taken inspiration from its natural springs and aquifers, the landscape of rock and water, rolling fields and native hedgerows.

“The central structure is an enclosed courtyard with a chimney. There’s a nod to Frank Lloyd Wright in its shape, which uses two cantilevered roofs that jut out over the dry stone walls. Copper fins are inset at different heights, allowing water to trickle from the roof.

“For the planting I’ve used native hedgerow plants such as blackthorn,  which produces the sloes used to flavour gin, and Juniperus communis, also used in gin production.

“The colour scheme is blue-green and silver, with shots of bolder colour from irises ‘Benton Caramel’ and ‘Quechee’. There are nepeta, salvias ‘Mainacht’ and ‘Caradonna’, verbascum ‘Violetta’, foxgloves and ferns. The overall planting texture has a loose feel but at Chelsea there’s always a bit of a hot shoe shuffle at the end!”

The Dubai Majlis garden by Thomas hoblyn

Thomas Hoblyn

Thomas Hoblyn

“THE DESIGN is based on the wild, arid landscapes of hot countries in the Middle East and Mediterranean. It’s a sculptural interpretation of a terraced mountainside where, over time, the wind, heat and cold have transformed the rocks into smooth curves.

“We’re using limestone, red ironstone gravel and a clay render that mimics the Moroccan tadelakt plaster you find in ancient Dubai. The shelter is inspired by the curve of sand dunes, created by steam bending the timber.

“For plants I’ve chosen a watercolour palette of blue and burnt orangey-reds. These are offset by the blue-greens of santolina and teucrium, dark green pistacia and lime green euphorbia, which looks great against the red gravel.

“The trees are Parrotia persica, Ziziphus jujuba and pomegranate – chosen for its tactile bark and pinky-orange flowers. There are aloes, salvias, Agapanthus africanus and an orange-flowered plant called bulbine – which has a lovely exotic, succulent look.”

The Greenfingers Charity Garden by Kate Gould

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“THIS IS MY 10th Chelsea garden and this year the design is for Greenfingers charity – an organisation that creates gardens for children’s hospices around the UK. The design is aimed at children and families who rely on the hospices and spend their time mostly looking at ceilings from a hospital bed. Here they can look up at green things and feel their wind on their face.

“The design incoporates a two-storey structure as the site is next to the marquee, and there’s a lift for access – theres’s not enough room for a long series of ramps. There are buttons to press for light and sound, a waving water feature and a cargo net that the children can lie on above a seating area directly below.

“As it’s a hospice garden the paving is made from porcelaine which is easy to clean, and composite decking. There are wirework sculptures by Emma Stotford, of fruit and mobiles. There’s  green woven apple swingseat lined with sheepskins so it’s nice and cosy. There’a s lot of stuff in it to entertain the children and their siblings when they come to visit – no trampolines but lots of activites the whole family can enjoy together including colourful glazed bricks by Ibstock and a panel water feature.

“The planting is mostly low maintenenace, using lots of colourful mounding shrubs to make domes, including choisya ‘Greenfingers’ which was named for the charity. The upper storey planting is drought and pollution tolerant. And although it’s designed to be low care there are patches of flowers and perennial planting for a softer look, using tree ferns, white and yellow lupins, orlaya and grasses as well as roses around the perimeter.” 

The Savills & David Harber Garden by Andrew Duff

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Andrew Duff

Andrew Duff

“HERE I’VE SOUGHT to create a beautiful, sustainable woodland clearing in a city garden, showing how even city dwellers can do their bit to help the environment.

“The garden showcases a host of sustainable features, such as a water-purifying wetland area, a green wall and rain-permeable surfaces. Black alder and hornbeam trees help to filter pollution, a filtration pool cleans grey water and stores it via a water-harvesting system.

“A key feature of the garden is the central pool where a 3.5m (11ft) sculpture by David Harber soars into the tree canopy above a shadow of ‘leaves’ that flutter on the water surface.

“The planting is naturalistic, with lots of green textures and soft white and yellow flowers offering a bit of sunshine in the dappled shade. There will be beautiful British buttercups in the meadowturf, Smyrnium olusatrum, and in the pond, flag irises (Iris pseudacorus) and reeds (Typha latifolia) – both are good plants for filtering water.”

You know you've spent too long watching Chelsea on the telly when...

1. You’re about to step out for a spot of weeding wearing a wide-brimmed hat, with a trug in one hand and a glass of Pimm's in the other. And you don't feel at all self-conscious.

2. You run a Google search for 15-foot slabs of polished marble for the garden and they don't sound too pricey. 

3. You decide to dig up your driveway in favour of an elaborate box parterre, with white rose standards at the corners and a froth of white cow parsley in the middle. After all, there’s always space to park the car on the road…

4. You begin following Cleve, Chris, Diarmuid and Andy on Twitter. And Monty.

5. You’ve just turned down an invite to dine with friends because the Her Majesty the Queen is about to turn up to view the gardens and you don’t want to miss her outfit.

6. Your favourite plant is Allium ‘Purple Sensation’.

7. Your partner suggests ‘Let’s build a pond’ and already you’re picturing a reflecting pool fed by a narrow copper rill, with corten-steel stepping stones and an enormous spherical glass fountain that lights up at night.

8. All your plants are packed into the garden cheek-by-jowl – at the Chelsea rate of 30 to the square metre. The effect is glorious (for now)!

9. Next door’s cocker spaniel has made off with your robot mower.

10. You’ve planted five multi-stemmed Himalayan birches, three topiaried yew trees and a small copse of Katsura trees in a garden that’s just 5x5m in size…


Happy Chelsea! Don’t forget to apply for free tickets – click here!