The Award of Garden Merit (AGM), presented by the U.K.-based Royal Horticultural Society, was designed to give gardeners confidence in choosing the right plant for their gardens.

An AGM is only awarded to plants that are:

  • excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions (see RHS hardiness ratings)
  • available
  • of good constitution
  • essentially stable in form and color
  • reasonably resistant to pests and diseases
The assessment

Awards are only made after an assessment by a RHS forum of experts appointed by the society to review that particular trial. Each forum has its own area of expertise, and draws upon the experience of a wide range of experts, including nurserymen, specialist growers and well-known horticulturists. This assessment must then be ratified by the relevant Plant Committee. The trial and assessments usually take place at one of the four RHS Gardens but can also take place at one of its partner gardens, National Trust gardens or commercial nurseries.

The seal of approval

The AGM logo is used throughout the horticultural trade, by nurseries, garden centers and online plant and seed suppliers, as well as in catalogs, books and magazines. More information on the AGM can be found at www.rhs.org.uk/plants/trials-awards/award-of-garden-merit.

The AGM is subject to regular review, to make sure that every plant still merits its place on the list. The first review took place in 2002: more than 1,300 plants that no longer met the AGM criteria lost the award, while 900 plants were added to the list. In the second review, in 2012, some 1,900 plants were removed from the list, and 1,600 were added. Since 2013, reviews have been conducted by each plant committee on a rolling review.

The charms of Chelsea

Look to the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show for global gardening inspiration.

In May, the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea were home to one of the world’s most thrilling flower shows complete with jaw-dropping plant displays and revolutionary garden designs. This must-attend event draws professionals and neophytes from across the globe to London each year. “Health, Happiness and Horticulture” was this year’s theme at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Several varieties available through PlantHaven were part of Chelsea's beautiful displays this year.

Chelsea inspires gardeners and professionals.
Robert Bett and Joey Wiseman of PlantHaven congratulate Rob Chapman for his Chelsea Gold Medal.
Chelsea Gold

Two of PlantHaven’s breeder clients achieved Gold Medals at this year’s show.

U.K.-based Victoria Violas won a Gold Medal for the Viola MAGNIFI SCENT® Collection.

The Viola MAGNIFI SCENT® Collection was bred for beauty and fragrance. The collection’s gorgeous 1½-inch blooms and vigorous compact rounded habit are ideal for patio pots and containers, garden borders and mass landscape plantings.

Rob Chapman, founder of Victoria Violas, is no stranger to Chelsea Gold. He also took Gold honors in 2015.

Hillier Nurseries, a fifth-generation company headquartered in Hampshire, received a Gold Medal at this year’s show for its trees, shrubs, climbers and herbaceous plants exhibit. This marks Hillier’s 71st consecutive Gold medal win at Chelsea!

A portion of Hillier Nurseries’ award-winning display at this year’s Chelsea.

Bring Chelsea home

RHS Chelsea Flower Show visitors, whether in person or virtual, can bring home a piece of the show to their own gardens. Growers and retailers, get consumers excited about these plants, which were exhibited at the show. Use signage to explain the significance and the enormity of the show. And imagine the events you could host that honor the London-based show that has a long and captivating history.

Consider these six plants to create a Chelsea garden:
Cotinus Golden Spirit
Dianthus AMERICAN PIE Georgia Peach
Digitalis WALBERTON’S® Goldcrest
Diascia TOWERS OF FLOWERS®
Geum Totally Tangerine
Physocarpus Lady in Red