Hardy’s launch new plants at RHS Chelsea

Multi-gold medal winning, independent nursery, Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, are returning for the 27th year to RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, where they will this year be launching three new exciting, long flowering perennials – Digitalis ‘Firebird’, Salvia ‘Amethyst Lips’ and Dianthus ‘Cherry Burst’.

Digitalis ‘Firebird’ has been developed by breeder John Fielding who has been growing Digitalis hybrids for several years with the aim of producing plants with improved garden qualities.

Digitalis ‘Firebird’
Digitalis ‘Firebird’

‘Firebird’ has adopted the very best traits from each of its parents Digitalis ‘purpurea’ and ‘canariensis’ and has shown to be a very robust and vigorous perennial, growing to 120 x 60 cm in dappled shade or sun in any good soil.

Digitalis ‘Firebird’ will be setting borders alight from May to October, with its abundant 90cm spires of delicious warm reddish-pink coloured flowers which have deep apricot tones in the throat and classic Digitalis freckles on the inside of the flower.

Another advantage of this beautiful hybrid is that it has shown to be more winter hardy than other Digitalis, surviving down to -7 Celsius as a container grown plant.
As with most Digitalis, its flowers are hugely popular with pollinators, especially bumblebees, and for those gardeners who like to also enjoy their blooms indoors, ‘Firebird’s’ cut stems have been found to last up to 10 days in a vase.

The second of Hardy’s new perennials to be launched at RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the aptly named, jewel like Salvia ‘Amethyst Lips’. This stunning bi-coloured, rich purple and white flowered, shrubby perennial, is a subtler and perhaps some may say, easier to place, relative of the highly popular Salvia ‘Hot Lips’. Like its famous cousin, Salvia ‘Amethyst Lips’ flowers throughout June and October and grows, to about 100 cm x 75cm and is equally at home in either a mixed border or a large pot, in moist but well drained soil, in full sun.

Salvia ‘Amethyst Lips’
Salvia ‘Amethyst Lips’

The third plant in Hardy’s launch collection is a stunning new Dianthus – ‘Cherry Burst’, bred by UK breeding specialists Whetman Plants International based near Exeter in Devon, who have been growing on this site for over 80 years.

‘Cherry Burst’ is one of a new generation of single flowered, full hardy Pinks, which is shorter in stem, growing to just 15 cm high, making it perfect for the border or a pot.

Flowering continuously from May to September ‘Cherry Burst’ has interesting chocolate coloured buds which open to a deep maroon eye, bleeding out to a lighter pink border over compact grey/green foliage. As if all this wasn’t enough, this hard-working little Pink also has a delicious sweet perfume .

Digitalis ‘Firebird’, Salvia ‘Amethyst Lips’ and Dianthus ‘Cherry Burst’ will not only be on display in the Great Pavilion on Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plant’s stunning Stand No: GPF205 they will also be available to buy in limited numbers from them at the Show. Digitalis ‘Firebird’ is available as a 1 litre pot for £7.50. Salvia ‘Amethyst Lips’ is available in a 1 litre pot for £6.50 and Dianthus Cherry Burst pot size and price tbc.

For those not lucky enough to be attending RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year, the three new plants will are also be available to order or buy (from May) at Hardy’s Cottage Plants Nursery in FreeFolk, Hampshire or online at www.hardysplants.co.uk