Best New Plant at Chelsea Flower Show (22-26 May)

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Best New Plant at Chelsea Flower Show (22-26 May)
The best new plant for 2012 voted by the RHS is the Digitalis hybrid Foxglove Digitalis ‘Illumination Pink’ (Tmdgfp001) bred by Charles Valin at Thompson & Morgan. The new plant was displayed in the Pulham Garden Crafts Bee Up Front Garden.

It results from the hybridization of Digitalis purpurea x Digitalis (Isoplexis) canariensis. Digitalis canariensis (Canary Island Foxglove) is pollinated by both birds and bees. It produces tall flower spikes from early spring to late autumn. The attractive flowers have a split almost star-shaped corolla, light apricot in colour that contrasts with dark reddish stamens. The plant produces a spiral rosette of dark glossy and serrated leaves. This endangered species will not tolerant very low (below about 5°C) or very high temperatures above about 30°C. Both species and hybrid can be adapted for production as a container plant and fit ‘Wild Flower’ assortments.

‘Illumination Pink’ is a perennial with a long flowering period from June to November and does not require staking. The corolla typical of Digitalis purpurea is slightly split at the ends, mottled light apricot colour on the inside and a stronger pink outside. The flowers are attractive to bees. Being an inter-specific hybrid its propagation is through vegetative means. It is available to the hobby market from Thompson & Morgan as plugs. The genetics of D. canariensis have contributed to the longer flowering period, branching habit and for the new more exotic looking flower shape and colour.

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