Six Thompson & Morgan Entries Make Shortlist for RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year

We’re thrilled to announce that the shortlist announced on Sunday afternoon for RHS Chelsea Flower Show’s Plant of the Year, includes six of our entrants. This beats last year’s tally of five plants, two of which went on to be placed first and third places in this hugely prestigious horticultural competition.

The shortlist of 20 plants will now be considered by a panel of Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) judges and the top three winning plants will be announced later today.

The six plants on the shortlist of twenty are:

Osteospermum ‘Purple Sun’ – Previously unseen colour combination of orange and pink. The pink-purple centre spreads outwards on the fade-resistant petals as the season progresses.
Nepeta ‘Neptune’ – Abundant flowers ‘rebloom’ on a compact, bushy habit; firm foliage is perfect for making tea.
Clematis ‘Kokonoe’ – Uniquely changing flower shape; flowers open as single blooms and develop into flamboyant doubles.

Osteospermum 'Purple Sun', Nepeta 'Neptune' and Clematis 'Kokonoe'

Osteospermum ‘Purple Sun’, Nepeta ‘Neptune’ and Clematis ‘Kokonoe’

Ajuga ‘Princess Nadia’ – Brings together the best evergreen, variegated foliage and flower spikes of the genus. Year-round interest.
Chlorophytum ‘Starlight’ – Hardy Spider Plant with the architectural appeal of an ornamental grass and the flowering performance of a bedding plant. Attractive variegated foliage and pretty white flowers.
Agapanthus ‘Fireworks’ – The best bicolour agapanthus, offering bigger blooms, better colour and more stems per plant than previous bicolour cultivars.

Ajuga 'Princess Nadia', Chlorophytum 'Starlight' and Agapanthus 'Fireworks'

Ajuga ‘Princess Nadia’, Chlorophytum ‘Starlight’ and Agapanthus ‘Fireworks’

Our new product development manager, Peter Freeman said:

“We couldn’t be more pleased to hear the news that six of our plants are on the shortlist. To have placed six out of the twenty on the list is an amazing feat. We thought we’d done well last year to have five on the list, so to improve on that is incredible! Everyone at Thompson & Morgan is keeping everything crossed while we await the judges’ decision later on today.”

For updates and images from the Great Pavilion on the first day of the Chelsea Flower Show, please follow Thompson & Morgan on Twitter and Instagram.

All of Thompson & Morgan’s plant entries are featured on the Behind the Genes garden which has been devised and built in partnership with Sparsholt College in Hampshire. The garden, in the Discovery area of the Great Pavilion (Stand GPA154), offers a visually inspiring insight into the processes of plant breeding and explains techniques used to bring about improvements in plant species. To read more about our journey to Chelsea, click here.

Thompson & Morgan Announces RHS Chelsea Flower Show Entries

Following our success at RHS Chelsea Flower Show last year, we are proud to present our entries for Plant of the Year 2019.

Clematis 'Kokonoe', Nepeta 'Neptune' and Ajuga 'Princess Nadia'

Clematis ‘Kokonoe’, Nepeta ‘Neptune’ and Ajuga ‘Princess Nadia’

Clematis ‘Kokonoe’ – Uniquely changing flower shape; flowers open as single blooms and develop into flamboyant doubles.
Nepeta ‘Neptune’ – Abundant flowers ‘re-bloom’ on a compact, bushy habit; the firm foliage is perfect for making tea.
Ajuga ‘Princess Nadia’ – Brings together the best evergreen, variegated foliage and flower spikes of the genus. Year-round interest.

Agapanthus 'Fireworks', Buddleja 'Butterfly Towers' and Osteospermum 'Purple Sun'

Agapanthus ‘Fireworks’, Buddleja ‘Butterfly Towers’ and Osteospermum ‘Purple Sun’

Agapanthus ‘Fireworks’ – The best bicolour agapanthus, offering bigger blooms, better colour and more stems per plant than previous bicolour cultivars.
Buddleja ‘Butterfly Towers’ – Grows up, rather than out, so it suits even the smallest garden without taking over. Thrives in containers; long-lasting; makes a great flowering hedge.
Osteospermum ‘Purple Sun’ – Previously unseen colour combination of orange and pink. The pink-purple centre spreads outwards as the season progresses.

Chlorophytum 'Starlight' and Clematis 'Little Lemons'

Chlorophytum ‘Starlight’ and Clematis ‘Little Lemons’

Chlorophytum ‘Starlight’ – Hardy Spider Plant with the architectural appeal of an ornamental grass and the flowering performance of a bedding plant. Attractive variegated foliage and pretty white flowers. Fabulous in patio pots.
Clematis ‘Little Lemons’ – Very unusual long-flowering, dwarf clematis. Excellent in pots and hanging baskets.

We’re also pleased to formally announce our partnership with Sparsholt College Hampshire on their Behind the Genes garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show next month.

The garden, which is in the Discovery area of the Great Pavilion (Stand GPA154), offers a visually inspiring insight into the processes of plant breeding and explains techniques used to bring about improvements in plant species. Students at Sparsholt College have been involved in the design of the garden and have nurtured the plants that will be featured on the garden to illustrate various key milestones in plant breeding over the years.

T&M has long been at the forefront of plant breeding and can put its name to a number of key breeding breakthroughs over the years, such as Foxglove or Digitalis ‘Illumination Pink’ which won RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year in 2012 and which will feature on the Behind the Genes garden. Also appearing at RHS Chelsea 2019 is last year’s Plant of the Year winner, Hydrangea hybrid Runaway Bride® ‘Snow White’, and the amazing sunflower, Helianthus SunBelievable™ ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ which was placed third.

Part of the focus this year is also on our trainee manager, Lance Russell, who as an alumni of Sparsholt College, and now working at the forefront of the gardening industry, is the epitome of the new generation of inspiring and social media-savvy young gardeners. Lance is fronting our recent increase in film content on our website and YouTube channel and is set for a stellar career in horticulture. Lance can be seen in Thompson & Morgan’s video ‘Journey to Chelsea’.

Thompson & Morgan donates flower seeds to local charities

We’ve just donated 100s of packets of flower seeds to local charities, ActivLives and St Elizabeth Hospice. The seeds were left over from a promotion that we ran in conjunction with Garden Answers and Garden News, two magazines published by Bauer Media, who were more than happy for the surplus packets to be donated to Suffolk charities.

Pupils from Chantry Academy at the People’s Community Garden, Halifax Road, Ipswich

Pupils from Chantry Academy at the People’s Community Garden, Halifax Road, Ipswich

A sack of seed packets was handed over to Danny Thorrington, ActiveGardens Project Coordinator at the charity’s Community Garden on Halifax Road in Ipswich, where he was teaching a group of pupils from Chantry Academy.

Danny said:
“We’re so pleased to receive this donation of seeds from Thompson & Morgan! With our Christmas Community Market event coming up on Friday December 7th, we will be selling and raffling flower seed bundles to raise funds for our ongoing work at the gardens and in the wider community.”

Sonia Mermagen, our Press and Communications Officer, commented:
“The work that ActivLives and ActivGardens are involved in is so beneficial to the local community and completely in line with T&M’s commitment to encouraging young people into gardening and growing. It was a pleasure to see what Danny and his team are achieving in the community garden – and to meet some of the young people who are helping and learning there.”

 Ella Curtis, Retail Apprentice at St Elizabeth Hospice shop, Bramford Road, Ipswich


Ella Curtis, Retail Apprentice at St Elizabeth Hospice shop, Bramford Road, Ipswich

A large bag of flower seeds was also donated to the St Elizabeth Hospice retail team at the charity’s Bramford Road shop in Ipswich.

Patrick Otter, Retail Operations Manager, said:
“Thompson & Morgan kindly donated a large quantity of plants to the Hospice in the summer, so we were thrilled to receive another donation. We’ll be able to sell the flower seed packets in our shops with the money going towards our ongoing fundraising appeals.”

Another International Award for T&M’s SunBelievable™

SunBelievable 'Brown Eyed Girl' wins International Award

We’re so pleased to announce another international award for its innovative Sunflower SunBelievable™ ‘Brown Eyed Girl’. Initial trials of the long-flowering sunflower in Japan have proven hugely successful prior to its launch in the early summer of 2019.

The plant was well received at the horticultural industry show, Flower Trial Japan 2018, held recently in the prefecture of Yamanshi and Nagano, and was placed second in the Outstanding Performance Award category.

Our Head of Horticulture, Paul Masters, commented today:
“We’re thrilled to hear that SunBelievable™ ’Brown Eyed Girl’ has won another international award. It is very encouraging to know that interest in the plant is spreading around the world! We’re looking forward to a successful launch of SunBelievable™ ’Brown Eyed Girl’ in Japan next year.”

More Awards for T&M’s Sunflower SunBelievable™ ‘Brown Eyed Girl’

More Awards for T&M's SunBelievable™ 'Brown Eyed Girl

Following its success at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May, our fantastic in-house-bred sunflower, SunBelievable™ ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ has won even more awards and accolades. Proving hugely popular in the US, the new sunflower was awarded the Retailers’ Choice Award at the FARWEST Show in Portland, Oregon, as well as the 2018 American Horticultural Retailers’ Choice Award at Cultivate Ohio. In the UK, at the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) National Plant Show, SunBelievable™ took gold in the annuals category, as well as the Best in Category (Annuals) and the Visitor Voted Best in Category (Annuals). The long-flowering sunflower also won the 2018 Four Oaks Trade Show ‘Best Plant Introduction Bedding or Pot Plant’.

Our Head of Horticulture, Paul Masters, commented:

“We’re very proud to have won so many prestigious awards for SunBelievable™ ’Brown Eyed Girl’ both in the UK and abroad. To have gained international recognition for our fabulous sunflower is a great success for Thompson & Morgan.”

With online and catalogue sales topping 100,000 plants in the UK, SunBelievable™ is also proving to be incredibly popular in the USA where it has been well received at all the top trade shows and in trials prior to its retail release in 2019.

“Customer feedback for SunBelievable™’Brown Eyed Girl’ has been extremely positive” says Peter Freeman, our New Product Development Manager. “We’ve been amazed at the plants’ performance this summer – particularly through the heatwave and drought conditions. Those that were planted in the first half of the summer are still flowering now!”

At our Floral Fantasia garden at RHS Garden Hyde Hall this summer, at which hundreds of varieties of annuals were on display, SunBelievable™ ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ proved to be the favourite of the majority of the almost 140,000 visitors to the gardens.

Paul Masters also commented that there would be further exciting introductions to come in the SunBelievable™ range. Watch this space!

Sunbelievable™ 'Brown Eyed Girl'

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