Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden - Chinese proverb

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Chelsea Sneak Preview: What's Your Plant of the Centenary?


There's plenty of beavering away happening with the special preparations required for this year's RHS Chelsea Centenary Show. These include Roy Lancaster and his crack team of experts pondering and cogitating over their shortlist of nominations for 'Plant of the Centenary'. They have the task of selecting just one plant introduced per decade the show's been running. These will be exhibited in the Great Pavilion in a similar way to 'Plant of the Show' in previous years.

Visitors to Chelsea have the opportunity to vote for their favourite, which will then be named as 'Plant of the Centenary'. It'll be interesting to see which plants have stood the test of time, particularly those from the earlier days of the show. I'd also like to find out which plants launched previously during Chelsea still grace today's RHS Plant Finder, but that's research to do for another day.

It won't just be the show's visitors who'll have the chance to vote. There'll also be the usual 'People's Choice' vote available online to include 'Plant of the Centenary'. I thought we could have a bit of our own fun with this concept and come up with our own shortlist of plants ahead of the publication of Chelsea's list. I wonder how many of our favourites will be in their final 10?

Have a think and either name your plant in the comments below, OR write a blog post about your choice and why it's the one. We had a lot of fun with Shirl's Desert Island Plant Challenge a while ago, so I hope we can have fun with this one too. I'll set up a Mr Linky on Wednesday, 6th of March for you to add the link to your post.

It'll probably be too difficult for us all to restrict our selections to those introduced in 1913 or later, so I won't be discriminating on the age of origin for your choice. NB there may, or may not be a clue to my final selection in the photo chosen for this post ;)

Update: Helen's just commented her mind has 'gone pouff' at the thought of selecting just one. I'll probably have the same problem too. However, I think it'll be a bit of fun to have a ponder on this - especially with the current gloomy weather - and try to decide. I'm happy for your blog posts to say you can't select just one - I'm sure Roy Lancaster and his team have faced the same prospect during their deliberations!

Update 2: In view of Karen and Helen's comments, if you find selecting just one plant is too hard, then I'm also happy for you to select up to 10 plants to blog about instead and for us to choose 1 of them in your comments :)

Update 6th March: The results are now in :)

21 comments:

  1. I have just tried to think of mine and my mind has gone pouff

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  2. Hi Helen, I think my mind will go pouff too, but it'll be fun to have a ponder and think whilst the weather's so cold and gloomy.

    I don't mind if you blog about your ponderings and don't have a definitive one at the end of it. It'll be fun to see what you come up with :)

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  3. ooo err just one? are you sure you didn't mean 3 or even 10!!!!
    This will get the grey cells going for sure
    :)
    K

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  4. Hmm Karen, you and Helen have both got me thinking...

    ... however, on balance seeing the selection ends up being just one for Plant of the Centenary, this is what I'm aiming for. However, if you 'd like to stop at the shortlist of 10 and for us to select one from your list when you post, that's another way of doing it!

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  5. No, you said one, I will play by the rules and pick one (I do hope a rose is not the plant of the centenary, suspect it will be)
    K

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    1. Although like you say above .... I might have a shortlist of 10
      K

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    2. I've updated the post to say I'm happy for you to select up to 10 and then we can come along and select THE one for you ;)

      That will also be fun :)

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    3. And like you Karen, I fervently hope it's not a rose and also that something that's gorgeous outside of the May/June/July show season also has the chance for a look-in. That might make putting it on display a bit tricky though!

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  6. Just one or ten you say, and preferably not a rose ....where on earth to start? What a brilliant ponder for a miserably cold day. As for your favourite, if it isn't that lovely dahlia, it has to be a heuchera for you!

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    1. Well, I know how you love roses, so I'm prepared for the inevitability of at least one making your selection ;)

      As for mine, wait and see!

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  7. Sounds fun - count me in! I've instantly got one in mind :-D

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    1. Hurray - you found my post. I was coming over to see your meme for this week and to let you know about this one. Will be over for a good read soon :)

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  8. The trouble is the one plant I love will change with the seasons - so maybe I will do four one for each or maybe even that would be too tricky. There wont be any roses though thats for sure

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    1. Helen - thanks for coming back :) I'm sure loads of us have our changing favourites with the seasons - that's one of the reasons why I chose the Dahlia pic as a visual cue to remind me there's not just now to consider. Your approach sounds a sensible way of dealing with the problem.

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  9. Oh heck, just one huh. Or possibly ten. That will be an interesting challenge... Just as well I have until Wednesday to decide... Great idea, I will be fascinated to what people come up with.

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  10. Wow! That's some task you have set!! I'm not sure I know enough about most of my plants to nominate them for plant of the centenary but if I may add my choice and my reasons:

    I would choose herbaceous Paeonies - not everyones favourite, considered by some fussy and by others as twee but a main stay of a proper English country garden, in my opinion! From the minute those fat red shoots emerge from the soil in February - the anticipation of those fattening flower buds - the prayers that a heavy rainfall will not spoil their show - have you offered enough support - it's all part of the enjoyment!

    My earliest memories of my grandfather are him tending to his huge paeony bed which ran the whole length of the garden. Those big blousey blooms - have always been my favourite and I honour him by having a few planted in my own garden now - even one from his original garden which has moved with me from garden to garden.

    His other obsession was Dahlias but I have never quite got into them the same - too much work!

    My choice could never be described as exotic, tropical or rare but where would we be if we were all the same.

    I will watch with interest on what the others choose - thanks for the opportunity to take part.


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  11. What a brain teaser. Is that brains going "pouff" I hear in the background?

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  12. considering I'm very new to this gardening world, my plant list will be limited and even the ones I love in my garden, I do not know their names, I'll give this a shot and see what I come up with.

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  13. Oh what poses as my brain is hurting at the very thought VP. Away from home at the moment looking after a quite poorly mother but hopefully will return soon and will be able to take part. Plenty for me to think about over the weekend :)

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  14. I've already chosen. What have you all got against roses?

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  15. Janet - great you can join us :)

    Angie - there's no need to know a lot about plants. You've chosen something with real resonance for you and that's all that matters. I love peonies at this time of the year, when they're emerging from the ground like dragons' claws :)

    Ricki - several brains at least ;)

    Tobiloba - welcome :) No need for names, just plants you love will do

    Anna - I hope your mother's on the mend now xxx

    Helen - Hurray :) Re the roses - they just don't do it for me that much

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