My Plant of the Centenary

We all have our 'plants of the moment', never mind the centenary! I'm loving this front garden combo 

It's time for everyone to tell all! Last week I told you about the plans for the Plant of the Centenary, to be revealed at Chelsea Flower Show in May. I thought it would be fun for us to come up with our nominations for the accolade today, or if that's too hard, you can blog about up to 10 plants. We can then come over for a good rootle around your blog and help you choose the final one.

Angie left a fine comment last week with a lovely story about her nomination:

I would choose herbaceous Paeonies - not everyone's 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.

Helen Gazeley wrote a great post about her favourite and how Rosa 'Peace' got its name. She also shows how important the right name can be for a plant to touch our hearts. Helen, I may not be a huge fan of roses, but I'm very happy to add this one to our bloggers' Plant of the Centenary list :)

As for my selection... ???

Threadspider knows me well, so it's no surprise she thought a Heuchera might feature... but then Karen bought Clematis 'Freckles' for her garden and associates me with the purchase... ah yes, there's also my no-longer-a-mystery-clematis C. 'Diamantina', seen in my garden long before its launch at Chelsea in 2010...

All are very fine choices and all are very me. But now I can confirm my favourite IS the plant I showed you last week. After a long, dull cold winter, its sultry dark leaves and hot yellow and red flowers are what I crave the most. Above all, I'm missing the buzz of the bees drowsling through the blooms. It's been here from the garden's first year (in 2001, though its AGM dates back to 1998) and was a new discovery for me then. Each year, I give it a duvet for the winter and heave a huge sigh of relief when its shoots reappear in May. Fingers crossed it happens again this year!

Therefore, my Plant of the Centenary is Dahlia 'Moonfire' :)

We have paeonies, a rose and a dahlia so far. Now it's over to you - what would you like to add to the list? Either leave a comment, or add the URL of your post in Mr Linky below.

Update 22nd April: The shortlist was announced today. It doesn't have my plant, but it does have 2 of my garden favourites. If I remember correctly Shirl deserves congratulations for her selection of Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' :) Get voting people!


  1. I am biased - poppies are my flowers of the century, whether they are field poppies, oriental or the annual poppies they have a resilience and a beauty that is hard to match.

  2. My post will be up tomorrow - managed to whittle it down to one plant after much pondering and researching.

  3. I can identify with your choice, Dahlia Moonfire is a beauty. It will be interesting to see what the official Plant of the Centenary is when they reveal it at Chelsea, I'm guessing a rose, though I hope not.

  4. Papaver - the clue to your favourite's in your name! Thanks for joining in today :)

    Helen - I thought you might seeing it's a Wednesday. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with :)

    Jo - with Roy Lancaster at the helm of the expert panel, I'm sure it'll be an interesting selection!

  5. The plant I would chose, is the flower from a bulb, a tulip named Ballerina. Why...because it is the flower I long to see each spring, and when I do, it fills me with the greatest joy. There are others I do love, including sweetpeas, but, this one tulip, smelling of oranges, tall and brilliant, is my favourite.

    Great Idea VP..might have messed up with the link I am afraid...not the first time.Sorry.

  6. VP - I am not surprised that your choice is D. Moonfire, it is the other plant that I associate with you :)
    I hope to get my post up tomorrow p.m. although I still keep deciding on one thing and then changing it for another! What a quandary!

  7. Bren - I'm always amazed that T. 'Ballerina' smells of oranges to match its colour. I wonder if there are any other scented tulips? A marvellous choice, thank you. No problem with your link - it's easy to put right :)

    Karen - I thought you might say that! Looking forward to seeing your final decision tomorrow :)

  8. Love the reason for your choice especially the winter duvet – I duvet my Gunnera every year so I understand the nervous reveal.

    I’m not a dahlia grower but this one really does look cheery and I love the dark foliage so I can understand why you long to see it and as it’s been there from the start of your garden too that adds something special. Sorry, I was so late with my post – stuff happens as you know and the best laid plans and all that ;-)

    Well done, great idea for involving other bloggers in a post - looking forward to seeing other choices come in :-D

  9. Why didn't your choice surprise me? :) What a cheery spring time cameo heading up your post VP - now where did that solitary yellow crocus come from? I hopefully will have a post up at some point tomorrow.

  10. I am a fan of Gardenias. One whiff of that delightful smell and it brings me back to my grandmother's house in Uruguay. Unfortunately, I haven't found one that will survive our winters. But whenever I see one in a store with open buds, I will linger around the display, close my eyes, take a nice long wiff and be transported to her little house on the corner, where her front yard was full of them.

  11. Love your plants blooming together....I wish mine would bloom together like that.

  12. Reading the above and your post I rather think many of your readersdidn't understand what you proposed - a plant that was introduced in the last century, certainly peonies and poppies don't fit the brief. So far I'd have to agree with Helen, Helebores are a recent introduction, with many new hybrids that I think it would be hard for many to do without now. Christina

  13. Shirley - and thank you for coming up for 2 great blogging ideas for February :) I love your choice - a 'good doer' and perfect for insects. Just the kind of plant for your garden :)

    Anna - I've been pondering that crocus too - I think it has to be moved where the yellow ones are ;)

    Petunia - what a lovely association and you're right, the scent of a plant can be so evocative. A perfect choice for you :)

    Donna - I wish I could take credit, but they were plonked together over 2-3 years without me realising!

    Christina - no, the brief didn't limit responders to the last century. That only applies to the list for Chelsea, so everyone is responding in the spirit of my brief outlined in my previous post, not the RHS's. To have placed that limitation on what's meant to be a bit of blogging fun, would have made it too hard for most people to respond. Besides, even peonies and poppies have cultivars which have been introduced in the last 100 years, so I'm happy for them to be included. Helen is to be commended for going the extra mile and thoroughly researching her response. She has always liked Hellebores so it's a great answer which also suits her. I also have an interesting new book to explore thanks to the link she provided :)

  14. Oh like Christine I had read it that it was a plant that had been introduced in the last 100 years rather than a favourite plant which would be your desert island plant - never mind, I had fun thinking about it.

    1. Hi Helen - no wonder your brain went pouff at the thought last time ;)

      What you've done is my ideal response, thank you. However, I thought that was too much of an imposition on people to restrict them to introductions from the past 100 years when it can be very hard to find out exactly when a plant was introduced. I have 3 different answers for my Dahlia, 1 for the 1990s and 2 suggesting 2000. However, I do know it achieved its AGM in 1998 and it was new round about then, so I'm happy my selection also meets the 100 years limitation :)

      It's interesting to note that bloggers I've known for ages are meeting the RHS's criteria and those I've got to know more recently are going more along the 'my favourite plant' lines. Lots of us took part in Shirl's Desert Island plants previously, so we may have already got quite a lot of the thought process done before my challenge was issued?

  15. Hello again VP, thanks for clearing up any confusion :-)

    Christina had me thinking I had missed the plan when she left her comment on my blog saying my plant didn’t qualify as it was named after Bowles in 1854. Before that I had read Helen’s post which made me wonder too. I did research for an introduction date for my plant (for quite a while) but failed to find one so I was delighted when Christina gave it :-)

    Knowing that you wanted to have fun with this I guessed the rules would have been relaxed – so I was probably ok. I did have fun - Thank-you :-D

  16. Late in the day due to technical reasons but my post is now up VP :) Thanks for the fun.

  17. Thank you! I'm rather thrilled at the mention. Roses aren't all bad... This was a fun exercise and it's been great looking at everyone's choices. Thank you for running this.

  18. Hi Shirley - it's been really hard to find sources which give dates of the introduction of many of our plants. Helen tells me she was going to write about Primulas but gave up because she couldn't find the information she wanted. I'm glad Christina had the knowledge to enlighten you on your choice. If you'd chosen 'Apricot Twist' you would have been safe as I believe that's a recent introduction ;)

    Anna - and your choice of geranium is a great choice, thanks for joining in :)

    Helen - it was great to have the reminder of the story of R. 'Peace' :) A number of us had been thinking it was about time to resurrect the fun one-off memes for the winter, so this has been a lot of fun to do. I have an idea already for next winter, so watch this space :)

  19. Mine would be Rosa Golden showers,we always buy a plant for anniversaries,I had yellow roses in my wedding boquet so when we moved to the house we are in now we planted one next to the front door,out of the last 18 years there is only once I have not had a single flower on my breakfast tray on our anniversary in May.It carries on flowering until October with frequent dead heading and was even still flowering in December the year before last

    1. Hello! We had R. 'Golden Showers' in our last garden. Like you I found it flowered for months on end :) I grew mine as a climber, how about you?

    2. Yes it climbs up by the front door which is blue,which seems to attract a lot of bees.The fragrance is lovely as you come in and out of the house

    3. Hi - blue and yellow - what a great combination :)

      I'm a big fan of scent around doorways - it really welcomes you.

  20. Got there in the end!
    My post is now up

    1. Hurray - have been over already for a good long sniff of your choice :)

  21. Thanks for the update and mention here - I'm delighted to see my plant was considered and also got to the shortlist. It really is a great plant as you know yourself :-)

    A couple of others caught my eye on the shortlist- firstly the Rhododendron yakushimanum - I do believe that one is also growing in my garden. I'm going to drop the specialist Kenneth Cox at the garden centre I got mine to see if he can confim the ID on my plant just for my own interest. I've bought a few yak hybrids from him over the years and have lost labels so perhaps I can get a job lot ID ;-)

    My hat trick plant is geranium Rozanne which was new to my garden last year and I already know its going to be a fav for years to come. This one would have been in the running for my back-up plant choice together with another newbie to my garden - Geum totally tangerine.

    Thanks again for doing this, VP, I had fun and no deliberation whatsoever with my choice but I bet there was some intense deliberation by the RHS panel :-)


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