Bold, beautiful and not, perhaps, a traditional choice, the winner of the Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year 2022 may raise a few eyebrows, but there are good reasons why x Semponium 'Destiny' walked off with the prestigious accolade.
A cross between a hardy Sempervivum and an aeonium, it's the perfect plant for these times of climate change and uncertainty.
Gardeningetc's expert Graham Rice was one of the RHS judges called upon to choose the winner at the Chelsea Flower Show and he says ‘Destiny’ won thanks to its innovation and lasting appeal and also because it is ‘a genuinely good specimen’.
Winner of the Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year 2022
Developed at Surreal Succulents in west Cornwall by Daniel Michael, x Semponium 'Destiny' is a drought-tolerant plant and hardy down to -28˚F (-2˚C). It has striking dark red leaves that hold their color all year, and pretty yellow flowers.
It also grows to 24in (60cm) across on a single rosette of leaves and may start to branch out when mature enough.
'Picked from a group of unique new hybrids between a humble super-hardy houseleek, Sempervivum, and a more exotic rather tender succulent Aeonium, ‘Destiny’ is a dramatic patio plant that looks like a bronze sculpture and will make an impressive 16x16in (40x40cm) feature in just three years,' adds Graham Rice. 'The specimen of the plant that was entered showed off its qualities beautifully.'
It may seem like a strange choice but I think ‘Destiny’ is a fabulous winner. It is hardy, versatile, attractive and will work in a rock garden or alpine trough as well as a pot plant in a light room or conservatory.
A diverse shortlist
The shortlist for the Chelsea Plant of the Year 2022 was pleasingly diverse, with three roses, a delicate small Iris sibirica, chocolate-colored heuchera with white flowers held on pink stems and even a brassica called ‘Purpelicous’ that is ideal for small gardens and planters and keeps its vibrant color when cooked.
Armeria pseudarmeria 'Dreamland' (Dreameria Series) from Stonebarn Landscapes came in second, with a stunning pink version of the ever-popular Salvia Amistad from Middleton Nurseries Ltd winning third place.
My personal favorite from the Chelsea plant of the year 2022 line up was a dianthus ‘Electric Dreams’, which has strong pink flowers and a rich scent of cloves. Long-flowering and compact, I will definitely be adding it to my own garden.
x Semponium 'Destiny' is currently available by mail order from Surreal Succulents (opens in new tab) in the UK, priced £35-£50.
Ruth is the gardening editor of Amateur Gardening magazine and spends her working days carrying out, writing about and photographing the tasks the readers should be carrying out each week, as well as testing many of the new products that arrive on the gardening market.
She is horticulturally trained, with a qualification from the Royal Horticultural Society, and her work varies with the seasons and includes everything from sowing and planting, to pruning, taking cuttings, dealing with pests and diseases and keeping houseplants healthy. She covers ornamental plants and edible crops and everything she writes about and photographs is in her own garden, a mature plot that has been a work in progress since her family moved to their current house in 2012.
Her main interests are gardening for wildlife and organic gardening, as she firmly believes you don’t need to ‘nuke’ pests and problems with toxic chemicals, nor use peat composts to produce the garden of your dreams.
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