7 Chelsea award-winning plants to grow in your garden

Hydrangea Runaway Bride®

Hydrangea Runaway Bride - Credit: Visions BV, Netherlands

Adorn your garden with some of the RHS’s best-loved plants of the last decade

While lockdown put paid to all major events last year, 2021 is set for a floral explosion, with three of the UK’s most prestigious garden attractions set to welcome visitors. 

Usually in the diary for high summer, the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show is earmarked for September 21 to 26. The RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival is back from July 5 to 11. And RHS Flower Show Tatton Park will take place in Cheshire from July 21 to 25. 

If you simply can’t wait...why not invest in a few Chelsea favourites for your garden?  

Anemone Wild Swan

Anemone 'Wild Swan' - Credit: Visions BV, Netherlands

Plant of the Year 2011 – Anemone ‘Wild Swan’ 

At night time the dainty, droopy bell-like heads of these flowers appear almost like a variety of Campanula. But, as the sun drifts around, they open, bursting into pale, broad white petals, shaded pastel violet underneath. Bred in Scotland, highly sought-after, and often hard to find, these are a beautiful addition to any border in partial shade, with the flowers preferring a dappled light. They will thrive and flower from mid-summer to November in the shadow of a shrub or tree. Deadhead old flowers to encourage more growth, and mulch the base in spring. These will mature to 45cm x 45cm. 

Digitalis 'Illumination'

Digitalis 'Illumination' - Credit: EGM

Plant of the Year 2012 – Digitalis Valinii ‘Illumination Pink’ 

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An unusual foxglove in habit – branching so that each plant carries several flower spires. They’re also sterile, so won’t go to seed, instead putting all their effort into producing more blooms – each growing to over 1m high. Their colour is of fruit salad sweeties...all peach and apricot at the centre, bursting into bright raspberry pink at the edges – a haven for bees and other pollinating insects. 

These are ideal for pots and to bring height to the back of a border. And they’ll flower reliably from June well into October. Just water well and cut back the main spires as they fade to encourage a second flowering. 

Clematis 'Amber'

Clematis 'Amber' - Credit: EGM

Plant of the Year 2016 – Clematis Koreana ‘Amber’ 

A sweet, lazy-looking climber that actually does a lot of work in the garden – its pale, droopy, magnolia-shaded flowers with pink tips, will blossom both from April to June, and again in September. Compact and easy to grow (it doesn’t need pruning), the clematis reaches a maximum of 2.5m high and is as at home against a fence as in a container, or grown around an obelisk. When planting add mycorrizal fungi to the roots, and mulch with organic matter. If you’re growing in a pot make sure you add liquid feed throughout summer and early autumn. 

Hydrangea 'Miss Saori'

Hydrangea 'Miss Saori' - Credit: EGM

Plant of the Year 2014 – Hydrangea Macrophylla ‘Miss Saori’ 

This is an unusual, scarcely found hydrangea, bred in Kyoto Japan by Ryoji Irie and named for his now-wife. Compact and free-flowering, the plant is unique by the fact it will grow on both new and old wood (so you don’t need to prune), and due to its two-tone, double-flowering nature. The bracts are creamy to pink at their hearts, with lipstick red edging, given additional ‘wow’ factor in autumn when the leaves transform to magenta purple. Grow in neutral, well-drained soil. The plant is rather thirsty, so water well during the growing season. And always protect with a fleece in freezing conditions. 

Viburnum plicatum 'Kilamanjaro Sunrise'

Viburnum plicatum 'Kilamanjaro Sunrise' - Credit: Globe Planter

Plant of the Year 2015 – Viburnum Plicatum ‘Kilimanjaro Sunrise’ 

A shrub for all seasons. You’ll need a bit of space for this one, which grows to around 3m tall by 1.5m wide. Oh, but it’s worth it. Also known as the Wedding Cake Tree, this viburnum begins its show with plumes of white flowers, turning blush pink. Scarlet red berries follow later, before a second season of flowers is revealed, dying down to expose flame-coloured foliage in autumn. The plant likes sun or part-shade in a fertile, well-drained position with plenty of well-rotted manure. Add a dressing of manure in spring and keep it watered. 

Hydrangea Runaway Bride®

Hydrangea Runaway Bride - Credit: Visions BV, Netherlands

Plant of the Year 2018 – Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride, Snow White’ 

If you only have room for one hydrangea, make it this simply stunning variety, with its lacy, voluminous garlands of pure white bracts. Having a compact nature, the plant will grow just as well in pots and baskets as in borders. And, interestingly, it’s not influenced by the pH of the soil, so won’t be tainted in its purity. Snow White is low maintenance. Simply keep the soil around it moist, and grow in sun or partial shade, with protection against frosts. Lovely in a vase. 

Sedum takesimense Atlantis

Sedum takesimense Atlantis - Credit: Visions BV, Netherlands

Plant of the Year 2019 – Sedum Takesimense ‘Atlantis’ 

This one’s not all look-at-me and showy. No, Atlantis is somewhat of a member of the supporting cast of the garden – bringing a pop of green to a pot, or providing a soft, interesting edge to a border or rocky crag. Variegated, with serrated leaves, the plant is super-easy to grow, being drought tolerant – so it’s ideal for beginners who’re worried about killing everything off. Pure cream, turning green with cream edges and a pink flush, it makes for fantastic ground cover, filling in gaps. Grow in full sun, in well-drained, sandy soil. 

All of these plants are available, many with special offers, from our partners at enjoygardeningmore.co.uk