Help Mr Fothergill’s fundraise for charity

September 6th, 2017 | News | 0 Comments

At Mr Fothergill’s we like to support as many charities as we can – so far we’ve raised over £150,000. Over the last few years, we’ve supported and fundraised for the Royal Hospital Chelsea Appeal, Greenfingers Charity, and RSPB – among others!

For these charities, in particular, we’ve have been selling sweet peas, seeds or fundraising through events. If you’ve contributed to any of these, then thank you – all of these charities need help and we are grateful to have given them the chance to assist their causes further.

We’ve recently completed a 20 mile walk, that some of our team took part in to raise money for the Greenfingers Charity. You can find out more about our walk here. In addition to this walk, we’ve set up a page for each of the charities that we support – so if you’d like to help with our fundraising efforts, you can find each of the pages below.

 

 

 

If you’re going to donate your hard earned money to a charity, it’s important that you know what your generous donations are going towards. Each of these charities supports very different causes and all of them important.

Greenfingers Charity

Greenfingers Charity is dedicated to supporting the children who use hospices around the UK, along with their families, by creating beautiful, well-designed outdoor spaces for children to enjoy with family, friends and siblings, whether through play and fun, or therapeutic rest and relaxation.  To date, Greenfingers Charity has created 51 inspiring gardens and outdoor spaces in hospices around the country and has a further waiting list of hospices that need our help now.

RSPB

RSPB are the largest nature conservation charity in the country, consistently delivering successful conservation, forging powerful new partnerships with other organisations and inspiring others to stand up and give nature the home it deserves.

Royal Chelsea Appeal Limited

The Chelsea Pensioners are the iconic faces of the UK’s veteran community. They reside at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, their 325-year-old home founded by Charles II, in the heart of London.

Thank you in advance for all the support you’ve given us and these charities over the years, we hope we can continue to help them through the sale of our seeds and fundraising. 

 

 

Delightful dicentras

April 19th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Dicentra 'Burning Hearts'

Plants with good flowers and good foliage are always in demand – their leaves bring us pleasure before and after the flowers are over so it’s like having two different plants in the same place. And if the plants love shade yet have bright silvery leaves… well, we’re on to a winner. Step forward dicentras.

These lovely low and spreading, shade loving perennials grow wild in two different parts of the world, the widely grown Dicentra eximea in North America and the rarely seen D. peregrina in Japan. But in the 1980s a Japanese plant breeder by the name of Akira Shiozaki decided to bring the two species together and created a range of superb hybrids.

All feature slowly spreading mounds of delicately dissected silvery blue leaves and in spring the foliage is topped by sprays of pretty lockets in red (‘Burning Hearts’, above) or pink (‘Candy Hearts’) or white (‘Ivory Hearts’). They come in a collection of three.

All grow best in shady situations and in humus-rich but well-drained soil. They work well in shady patio beds, amongst and around deciduous shrubs, and also, in larger numbers, as ground cover. I also cut both flowers and foliage for posies for the house.

On top of all that, you’ll also usually find that after a year or two the plants will have spread enough to be divided and replanted to cover a wider area.

Rather than plant the three different varieties together, I’d suggest planting them in different places then divide them and spread them out as they increase. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.

Growing Wildflowers for Bees and Butterflies

April 15th, 2019 | News | 2 Comments

Growing Wildflowers for Bees and Butterflies

Spring has sprung and already we’re seeing many more butterflies and bees than were about even last week. They’re wonderful insects, especially loved by us gardeners for the incredible work they do pollinating our crops. So let’s show them some love – by growing more wildflowers! Read on or watch the video for how to do it.

The Power of Flowers

Flowers attract all kinds of beneficial insects – not just bees and butterflies, but also predatory insects such as hoverflies and ladybugs. Together they help to boost harvests and keep common pests like aphids under control.

Flowers that are rich in nectar and pollen offer the most food for these insects. Wildflowers are best because they usually have simple, single flowers that are easier for flying insects to access. And it figures that native bugs will be more familiar with native wildflowers.Researching which wildflowers will thrive in your garden

Consider Climate and Soil

Your local climate and soil will determine what you can grow. Some wildflowers, for example yarrow, knapweed and ox-eye daisy cope very well with sandy, free-draining soils that are prone to drought. Others like primrose, cowslip and buttercup are better suited to heavy clay soils.

Take time to research which wildflowers are native to your region then check their suitability to the conditions found in your garden because you want your flowers to thrive.

Year-Round Flowers

Plan to have flowers throughout the year if you want beneficial insects to set up a permanent home in your garden. Shrubs such as witch hazel and sweet box flower from late winter, and let’s not forget the plethora of bulbs – snowdrops and crocuses, followed by daffodils, fritillaries and tulips. Native bulbs will naturally spread over time to become a permanent and very welcome feature of your garden.

At the other end, examples of late season flowers include sedums, ivy and colchicum (also known as autumn crocus).

Our Garden Planner includes a helpful selection of flowers, including several wildflowers, that are perfect for growing within a fruit and vegetable garden. Click the ‘i’ Information button next to the plant in the selection bar for details of their cultivation and suitability as companion plants to popular crops. Drop them into your plan, and see how easy it is to incorporate flowers among your edible plants.

Alternatively, select one or more vegetables in your plan and click the heart-shaped Companion Planting button to see plants that are beneficial to grow together.

Include Self-Seeders

Many wildflowers are self-seeders, meaning they naturally drop seeds that germinate and grow on with little or no intervention from you. This is a major advantage to growing wildflowers – often you only need to plant once for a lifetime of blooms.Many wildflowers, like calendula, are self-seeders which grow on with little intervention Once you become familiar with their seedlings you’ll find them easy to spot while removing unwanted plants takes very little effort. Many self-seeders, such as Mexican fleabane, will happily establish in cracks within paving or walls.

Popular self-seeders include calendula, borage, teasel and poppies, as well as a number of biennials or short-lived perennials like hollyhock and foxglove.

To introduce self-seeders in the first place, simply scatter seeds onto prepared ground then rake in. If you want to grow them among your vegetables, sow them in rows between crops or to the side of the plot as a ‘pollinator strip’. Alternatively, start seedlings off in pots then transplant them to where they are needed.

Create a Flower Meadow

Wildflower meadows are both beautiful and a feast for visiting bees and butterflies. By simply leaving an area of lawn alone through spring and summer – uncut, unfed and unwatered – you’ll be able to see if any wildflowers are already there. Then once you have seen what’s there you can easily supplement the display by planting plugs or bulbs of other wildflowers.

Another option is to sow a wildflower mix onto empty ground. Cornfield mixes are excellent for this purpose, providing a riot of color with an accompanying throng of insects mere months after sowing. Rake dug over, weed-free soil to a fine tilth then broadcast the seeds evenly over the surface. Rake again so the seeds are in contact with the soil then pat the surface down with the back of the rake. If it’s dry, water the sown area to speed germination along. The seedlings should appear within a couple of weeks.

You can mark out areas of wildflower meadow on your garden plan by selecting the meadow texture to fill in the desired shapes.

Wildflowers are great for bees and butterflies, and to be honest they’re pretty good for the soul too! If you have a favourite wildflower for attracting these beneficial bugs, comment below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page.

Mr F HQ Gets a New Toy for Trials Grounds

April 12th, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

We’ve got a new toy here at Mr Fothergill’s HQ!

We’ve set up a time lapse camera overlooking our Kentford trials grounds for this upcoming season, so month by month you can follow the progress being made in the run up to Mr F’s annual Press Day, where members of the gardening media world are given the chance to take a look around the grounds. On the trials grounds, we grow thousands of varieties of seeds from our range to test them for performance, as well as new varieties that we’re considering including in our future range.

Take a look at the video below for what went on in March – arguably not a lot except for some speedy ploughing – and be sure to watch this space for monthly updates of behind the scenes footage straight from Mr F HQ as the year goes on!

 

Exciting daisy hybrids

April 12th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Argyranthemum Grandaisy Series

A couple of years ago I enthused here about a new marguerite, arygyranthemum, with the slightly odd name of ‘Grandaisy Pink’. This was the first widely available variety of what had been a very rare hybrid between a traditional marguerite (Argyranthemum) and an annual chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum carinatum). It combined the wonderful flower colours of the annual chrysanth with the bushy, twiggy habit of the marguerite.

Now we have a whole series of them, five colours in all: pink, gold, white, reddish orange and one called “pink tourmaline” which is pink speckled with white and with a white ring around the dark eye.

All make neat and bushy little shrubs that reach about 50cm in height and they flower from June to the frosts – and often beyond. Moved into a conservatory in the autumn, a specimen in a pot may well flower right through the winter.

And as individual specimens is a very good way to grow them, one plant in a 30-45cm pot. They’re well matched for height so you could also plant all five in the same pot and they’re also superb as border specimens surrounded by lower spreading plants or even ground covering petunias or calibrachoas.

The stems on the individual flowers are long enough to snip for posies – or they will be if you keep the plants moist and feed them every couple of weeks.

And the name? In the wild marguerites grow in the Canary Islands, including Gran Canaria… They’re daisies, so Grandaisy. These exciting new daisies are easy and colourful… Give the a try.

Fascinating Facts: Peaches

April 11th, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

Fascinating Facts: Peaches

Botanical name:  Prunus persica

Origins: Although its botanical name, which literally translates as ‘Persian plum’, suggests the peach originated from Persia (modern-day Iran), genetic research indicates that it actually comes from China.

First cultivated: Peaches have been cultivated in China since the Neolithic period.

Types: Peaches are classified as either clingstone or freestone, depending on whether the flesh adheres to the stone or not. There are early and late varieties, fruit with white, yellow or red flesh, and dwarf varieties which can be grown in containers. Nectarines are also part of the Prunus persica family.

Did you know?

Peaches have been cultivated in China for thousands of years, with evidence suggesting that domestication of the fruit occurred as early as 6000 BC in Zhejiang Province. From China, the fruit travelled west via the Silk Route to Persia where it was widely cultivated, earning it the botanical name Prunus persica. Alexander the Great is credited with introducing the fruit to Europe after he conquered Persia, although peaches weren’t widely known in England until the 17th century, and even then they were regarded as a rare treat.

Peaches have always had a special significance in their native China, where they are symbolic of unity and immortality. According to Chinese mythology, they confer longevity on all who eat them. Chinese brides traditionally carry peach blossoms in their bouquetsThe symbol of the peach frequently appears in Chinese legend, art and literature, and Chinese brides traditionally carry peach blossoms in their bouquets.

The Japanese associate peaches with purity and the banishment of evil, after their famous folktale Momotaro or ‘Peach Boy’. This ancient legend tells the tale of a boy who was born from a peach and grew up to be a brave hero who fought evil demons. He is one of the most well-known characters in Japan and is regarded as a role-model for children because of his kind-heartedness and bravery. A festival takes place in his honour on May 5th every year in the Japanese city of Inuyama.

Peach trees and fruit often appear in European art and literature. They have prominently featured in paintings by famous artists including Caravaggio, Renoir, Monet, Manet and Van Gough, variously symbolizing love, health, beauty, fertility, sensuality and the transience of life.

A member of the rose family, the peach is closely related to the almond, and is a sweet and fragrant stone fruit that can be used in a variety of culinary ways. Aside from the obvious jams, cakes, tarts, pies, cobblers and smoothies, peaches also lend themselves to savoury dishes such as salads, pizzas and soups, and they make an excellent accompaniment to meats.

Low in calories and high in fibre, peaches are a good source of vitamins A and C. Including the fruit in your diet can help maintain healthy bones and teeth, boost the immune system, and improve the skin. Peaches are rich in zinc which is thought to have anti-aging properties,Grow a Peach tree and be rewarded with sweet and juicy fruits in the summer and oils from the fruit are widely used in the cosmetics industry.

Despite their exotic origins, peaches have been successfully grown in the UK for hundreds of years, and they are a beautiful addition to any garden. They are one of the first fruit trees to flower, their delicate pink blossoms perfuming the early spring air, and in summer, you’ll be rewarded with an abundance of sweet and juicy fruit. The taste of a homegrown, sun-ripened peach is as good as it gets, and a world away from the peaches you buy from the supermarket.

To browse all our varieties of Peach trees, just follow this link to the Apricot & Peach tree section of our website.