Eryngium Neptune’s Gold has been a big hit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Although it did not win the Plant Of The Year competition, for many visitors it has been the Most Talked-About Plant Of The Year!
Here, Christine Walkden and Rosy Hardy discuss what makes Neptune’s Gold such a great plant:
And Christine also shared Neptune’s Gold with Dame Julie Andrews and Sir Ian McKellen on The One Show:
Eryngium Neptune’s Gold was bred in Britain by Neil Alcock. Neil is an experienced and knowledgeable plantsman and is the manager at Seiont Nurseries in north Wales, and this is what he had to say about the plant:
During my 28 years in the horticultural industry, new varieties of plants have always interested me the most. It is the most rewarding part of my job to see a new plant that I have raised being propagated up from a single plant to tens of thousands, selling in garden centres around the UK and Europe. New plants are the lifeblood of our industry and it is great to see all the choices available to the consumer today. I am particularly encouraged by the range and quality of UK bred varieties. I have raised several of my own varieties at Seiont Nurseries over the years including Phormium, Cordyline, Hebe and Heuchera.
There is another plant though, one I found as a chance seedling in my own garden back in 2008. It was a sea holly (Eryngium) with bright yellow leaves. A bit of care and a few root cuttings later, I realised I could have a good potential variety. Micropropagation was begun in a European laboratory and Rob & Rosy Hardy of Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants were recruited to trial the plant and take it to Chelsea. This Eryngium had no name and for once I had no ideas! Rosy came up with Neptune’s Gold, which I thought was a brilliant choice.
The best moment of the development was to see the first flowers. The spring foliage is bright gold which turns yellowish-green, then the flowers have a flashing steely blue – the contrast is amazing! Hardy’s have entered Eryngium Neptune’s Gold in the new plant competition at Chelsea 2014 and will have the first plants for sale to gardeners. Plants will also be delivered to stores in The Garden Centre Group during Chelsea week. We have also worked together with Coblands to supply plants to Paul Hervey-Brookes for the BrandAlley Renaissance Garden at Chelsea.
My second ever visit to Chelsea will be an exciting one!
Eryngium Neptune’s Gold is an easy plant to grow in any garden, just like any other Sea Holly.
It likes a sunny position (the yellow foliage does not scorch) and appreciates good drainage – avoid positions where the plant might become waterlogged. Once planted, aftercare is simple – simply remove spent flower stems at the end of the flowering season. Make sure that the plant does not become swamped by neighbouring plants – it likes a little room to show off!
You can also cut the flower stems and bring them indoors – they work really well in mixed arrangements.
Of course, you can also grow Neptune’s Gold in a pot. We think it looks particularly good in blue-glazed pots, like in our photo here. Use any good quality potting compost and ensure the plant is in a sunny spot.
Eryngium Neptune’s Gold in combination with Geum Totally Tangerine at Chelsea
Eryngium Neptune’s Gold has been shortlisted for the last twenty finalists for the Plant of the Year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014!
From nearly 50 entrants, a shortlist of 20 finalists is selected by the panel of expert judges. To reach this stage is a great honour and means that the plant will be displayed in the Grand Pavilion at the show, which opens to visitors on Tuesday.
The plant has been entered by Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, who will also be showing it as part of their display in the Grand Pavilion.