The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has announced the winners of the prestigious RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year and RHS Chelsea Garden Product of the Year 2018. Both situated in the heart of the Great Pavilion, each was selected by a dedicated panel of experts and are now on display at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 (22 – 26 May), sponsored by M&G Investments.
RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year
Hydrangea RUNAWAY BRIDE SNOW WHITE (‘USHYD0405’) was awarded the Plant of the Year 2018. Exhibited by The Sun newspaper with Thompson & Morgan, RUNAWAY BRIDE SNOW WHITE was bred by Ushio Sakazaki, a hybrid of a remote Asian species of Hydrangea with well-known Hydrangea macrophylla producing a profusion of lacecap flowers in late spring and early summer with a graceful trailing habit.
In second and third place came Eryngium ‘Blue Waves’ and Helianthus annus SUNBELIEVABLE BROWN EYED GIRL (‘Sunbeliv01’) respectively. Judged by a panel of RHS experts including the director of horticulture, RHS Plant Committee chairs and curators of RHS Gardens, a shortlist of 20 was assessed on its innovation, appeal, excellence and impact.
Showcasing inspiring plants at the world-famous show, the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year award was created in 2010 to promote the continuing work of breeders and nurseries in producing improved new plants.
RHS Chelsea Garden Product of the Year
Mr Fothergill’s Seeds was awarded the coveted title of the RHS Chelsea Garden Product of the Year 2018 for their Optigrow Seeds which was selected by a team of experts including esteemed entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den investor, Deborah Meaden.
The judges said ‘In a world where we are trying to remove the use of chemicals, this unique non chemical process naturally prepares seeds for more successful sowing. Anything that removes disappointment in seeds germination is to be welcomed.’
The shortlist of finalists comprised 12 of the latest innovative gardening products, all of which will be available to buy at the show, were all judged against their innovation, functionality, visual appeal and environmental benefits.
Other products shortlisted included the highly commended Chesneys HEAT 500, an easy to use dual functioning barbecue and outdoor heater, a natural custom-made rock stream by James Doran, complete with its own water system and custom-made of natural stone, as well as Fruit Tree Sleeves by Agralan Ltd, a tube of fine mesh netting with ties at each end, used over a branch to protect ripening fruit.
The competition was launched in 2011 to recognise and celebrate the best new garden products on the market.