Recognition that Javado is a company "at the leading edge of plant introductions" is the best thing about winning the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year contest, UK representative Chris Campbell has said.
Javado won for the second year running with Hydrangea macrophylla 'Miss Saori'. Florist Holland's Gerbera Garvinea 'Sweet Glow' and Cayeux Irises' 'Domino Noir' were runners-up.
It won in 2013 with Mahonia 'Soft Caress'. Japanese breeder Ryoji Irie bred the hydrangea, which Javado is growing in one of its Dutch nurseries, with tens of thousands available in 2014 at around £25 retail. Campbell said loyal customers such as Hillier, which displayed the plant, would get served first.
More than 100 RHS committee members, chaired by RHS council member Dennis Espley, voted in the Plant of the Year competition.
Campbell said: "As important as the extra sales are, what's best about the award is the recognition it brings that Javado is a company that is at the leading edge of introducing the best new plants to the market."
Campbell said he does not believe overseas winners trumping UK-bred plants is an issue. He added: "Chelsea is an international show so the Plant of the Year has to look the best from across the world. Some introductions from British nurseries will have been bred abroad. It's an even playing field across the world." Campbell said he expects healthy sales over the next 25 years because the plant is so attractive.
Meanwhile, Fairweather's managing director Patrick Fairweather said he would like to see broader judging criteria than just how the plant looks on the day of the contest and the 90-second speech given to judges about the plant.
"The difficulty on judging plants is they see how it looks on the day and hear background information but there is no garden performance, which the RHS is big on with the Award of Garden Merit programme," he added.
"Whether the hydrangea is a good garden plant remains to be seen. I don't have a problem with overseas plants winning but I'd like to see some form of track record for a plant, but that means it ends up being less new."
Fairweather's Trollius 'Dancing Flame', displayed by Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants at Chelsea, is being grown by Darby Nursery Stock for Tillington Group members this year. There will be 15,000 available in 2015.
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Miss Saori'
New bicoloured deep-rose colour combination with double-petalled serrated edges. Can be grown as a cut flower. Long flowering season. Burgundy-tinted foliage. Flowers on first-year wood. Reaches 1m x 1m. Thrives in full sun or semi shade with hardiness to -18 degsC.
The shortlist for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year competition included Petunia 'Black Night' (Thompson & Morgan), Troillus 'Dancing Flame' (Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants), Aeonium 'Du Rozzen' (Trewidden Nursery), Gaura 'Freefolk Rosy' (Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants), Lavandula 'Heavenly Scent' (Downderry Nursery) and Iris 'Domino Noir' (Cayeux Irises).