The award is intended as a practical guide for the ordinary gardener. Proven and outstanding excellence continues to be the most significant factor. The award is only made after a period of assessment by RHS committees and draws upon the knowledge and experience of a wide range of members, including nurserymen, specialist growers and horticulturists.
Seventy-plus berberis varieties were assembled for a five-year trial, ending in 2009. The trial plots were regularly visited and assessed by a panel of industry experts.
Eight new varieties were given the prestigious Award of Garden Merit, including ‘Admiration’ and ‘Fireball.’ Both varieties were bred by Michal Andrusiv and have been cleared for distribution in the United States.
‘Admiration’ is a recent introduction by PlantHaven Shrub Program members and ‘Fireball’ is a future PlantHaven Shrub Program variety that was described by the judges as “a stunning, neat, low-growing plant with bright red foliage.”
Other PlantHaven varieties that have received the Award of Garden Merit include spiraea ‘Magic Carpet’, caryopteris ‘First Choice’ and multiple Whetman dianthus varieties.