It just started as an idea in 2010, but one of those ideas that was so obvious you wonder why no one had thought of it before.
Have a competition at Chelsea Flower Show to find the Plant of the Year.
But who would you choose to judge such a competition? How about all of the RHS Plant Committee members who attend judging at Chelsea. The Plant committee chairs along with RHS curators choose a shortlist of 20 plants from all of the entries.
A staggering 100 judges voted this year (2014) naming Hydrangea macrophylla “Miss Saori” (“H20-2”) bred by Ryoji Irie in Japan, which was exhibited by Hilliers Nurseries (where I used to work in the propagation department by the way) as the winner. This new form has long-lasting blooms with an unusual double flower form. Its full mophead blooms increase in size through the season and repeat flower throughout the summer.
But does success in a competition, even one at Chelsea lead to selling more plants? While plant sales have been declining for a few years now, sales of a winner can be immense. Digitalis “Illumination Pink” which was named RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year in 2012 sold over 200 000 plants.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Miss Saori’ will be on sale in 2015.
It is also a worthy contender for the 100 project.