Digitalis Firebird was awarded second place in the Plant of the Year competition at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Against stiff competition from more than 40 other entries of new plant varieties, the judges picked out Firebird for its attractiveness, impact and garden qualities.
We spent the day at Chelsea promoting Firebird to the VIP guests and journalists – including a guest appearance from Sally Miller, dressed as the Firebird from Stravinsky’s ballet of the same name. Photo below by Jonathan Ward of Ginger Horticulture.
Digitalis Firebird has been shortlisted for the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show Plant Of The Year Award. More than 40 plants were longlisted and judges today worked to reduce the field to 20 varieties for display in the competition at the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show. This is a very prestigious competition and there were many excellent varieties in the longlist, so to reach this stage is both an honour and a mark of the quality of the variety.
Look out tomorrow to see if Firebird wins the award!
Digitalis Firebird is an easy plant to grow. All it needs is a spot outdoors in the sun.
It is happy in either a border or in a large pot. It will grow to about 1 metre tall when in full flower. The flowers begin in mid to late May and will continue throughout the summer – as each flower stem matures, many new stems will start to grow from the base, without you needing to “dead-head”.
Firebird likes a little bit of extra feeding, particularly if it is grown in a pot. A general soluble or granular feed will do the job – just add it when the plant begins to flower and you will be rewarded with a happy healthy plant with lush deep green leaves. If you have it in a pot, make sure that it is neither waterlogged nor too dry.
In winter, the plant will die back once there has been a frost. Don’t worry, this is normal. Simply cut the stems back to about 30cm and, in the spring, the plant will begin to grow either from the stems or from ground level (or both). Firebird is winter hardy in most of the UK and, in trials, has survived to -7 Celsius in a pot. In very cold areas, you may need to give it a little winter protection.
Plants of Digitalis Firebird are being delivered to garden centres across the UK in the run-up to the week of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show – they are sure to sell fast, so grab your plant whilst you can!
Major retailers stocking Firebird include:
Squires Garden Centres
Hillier Garden Centres
selected Waitrose stores
Blue Diamond garden centres
Strikes garden centres
RHS plant centres at Wisley, Hyde Hall, Rosemoor and Harlow Carr gardens
and the best independent garden centres
If you want to buy Digitalis Firebird by mail order, then contact Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants who are the exclusive mail order supplier for 2019.
Digitalis x valinii Firebird is an excellent new perennial foxglove variety that is being launched at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show 2019.
Bred in the UK by plantsman John Fielding, Firebird is an improvement on previous varieties. It is more winter hardy and generally a stronger garden plant.
Firebird has handsome, dark glossy green leaves. It produces branching stems, each topped by a long, tapering spike of tubular flowers. The flowers are a reddish-pink colour on the outside, with lovely apricot colouring on the inside. Firebird produces flowers from the end of May and continues throughout the summer – as each stem develops, new stems branch out from the base.
The launch at Chelsea is being supported by Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants of Freefolk, Hampshire – you will find Firebird as part of their display in the Great Pavilion.