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Chelsea flower show - flower of the year 2024

Updated: May 29

For those of us whose eyes are always looking to the garden, the Chelsea Flower Show can seem as though it's just a continuation of our life's interest in plants and flowers. But it's that time of year again when the eyes of London, the press and maybe the wider world, are on gardens.


In the words of the RHS, the Chelsea Flower show 'is the place to see cutting-edge garden design, new plants and find ideas to take home. It is an event which draws a truly global crowd and is the 'haute-couture' of the international gardening scene'.


Starting in 2010, the Chelsea Flower Show has announced a 'plant of the year', in order to celebrate the industry of nurseries and plant growers, and in particular, the breeders who bring about the creation of wonderful new plants and varieties.


Here are a few from the last few years:



2020 Plant of the year - peoples choice of the decade - Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum Kilimanjaro


2021 Plant of the year - Cercis canadensis 'Eternal flame'


2022 Plant of the year - x Semponium 'Destiny'


2023 Plant of the year - Agapanthus 'Black jack'


A close up pictures of white flowers of Prunus Starlight
Prunus 'Starlight' Chelsea Flower Show plant of the year 2024

This year, the Chelsea Flower Show plant of the year 2024 has been announced, and it is Prunus 'Starlight'. Prunus 'Starlight' is a pretty, new variety of Cherry tree with pure white, star-shaped flowers with longer, narrow petals than a usual Prunus. It is said to have a profuse flowering habit in mid to late March, giving a beautiful display of spring flowers.


As I write this I am gazing out of the window of my garden studio, listening to the rain and looking at the lush green garden outside. I confess the garden isn't at it's Chelsea Flower Show tidiest this year, I'm a bit behind with everything. I am, however, enjoying the long grass full of buttercups and dandelions, and the borders - without me doing anything at all - have bursts of colour to brighten up a drab day.

Here are all the flowers, below:



I would struggle pick a 'Plant of the year' - I don't know how the judges do it. But if I was forced to pick a flower of May from my own garden I think it would have to be the Lupin (the Peony isn't quite flowering yet to be a proper contender...). The lupin is from a cutting from one that grew in the garden at my childhood home, and I think the colour is quite beautiful (as did my mum, who bought it). It's one of the many flowers that makes me think of her, and of that place.

I wonder if the Chelsea Flower Show judges have any kind of sentimentality in their criteria, or if they have a particular checklist of requirements?


Regardless, congratulations, Prunus 'Starlight', enjoy your year in the sun.


Plants from my garden, in order as pictured above:

Erigeron karvinskianus

Allium schoenoprasum

Verbascum, white

Campanula persicifolia

Hesperis matronalis

Centranthus

Rosa 'Alberic Barbier'

Geranium, perennial

Aquilegia

Geum 'Mai Tai'

Allium 'Purple sensation'

Lupin

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Digitalis purpurea

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