Eryngium zabelii Neptune’s Gold will be launched at the Royal Horticultural Sociey’s Chelsea Flower Show in May 2014.
Neptune’s Gold was bred by Neil Alcock, manager at Seiont Nurseries. Neil is a very experienced and knowledgable plantsman and grower. His breeding programme aimed to develop new and improved forms of Eryngium, but one seedling caught his eye, having yellow foliage.
Whenever a plant breeder sees interesting foliage, the key is to grow the plant on successfully to ensure that the colouring is interesting, attractive, uniform and stable. Neptune’s Gold ticked all of those boxes.
Neil then began to work with Graham Spencer of Plants For Europe Limited (PFE). PFE is a specialist plant breeders’ agency, working with owners of new plant varieties to help them to develop their new varieties, distribute them to the trade and protect their invention by Plant Variety Rights and Plant Patents. Graham got in touch with a specialist Dutch propagator with experience of working with Eryngium who set to work to turn the original plant into the thousands needed for the launch.
At the same time, the first plants were sent to Rob and Rosy Hardy of Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants near Whitchurch in Hampshire. Rob and Rosy soon agreed that Neptune’s Gold would be an excellent plant to launch at the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show 2014.
At this point, Neptune’s Gold still did not have a name – it was simply “Neil’s golden sea holly”. There was much hard thinking and head scratching, struggling to come up with a suitable name. Then Rosy suggested “Neptune’s Gold” – combining the idea of “sea” (holly) and the golden foliage – and giving a great idea for our launch promotion at Chelsea!
Neptune’s Gold will be available from Chelsea week onwards. British gardeners will be able to buy plants by mail order from Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants and at their nursery in Hampshire. Plants will also be available from selected garden centres across the country. Garden designers will also be able to obtain plants from Coblands Nurseries.