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 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. 



King of the foxgloves

March 16th, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Digitalis 'Summer King'
Back in 1924, D. H. Buxton of the John Innes Horticultural Institution, then in Merton in south west London, created a hybrid between our native foxglove and Digitalis grandiflora, a yellow flowered species from Eastern Europe. This was news because the two species had always been thought to be incompatible.

In fact he raised fifty seedlings, all from seed set on our native plant with pollen from the yellow-flowered one. He then pollinated one of the seedlings with its own pollen and raised ninety six plants which were identical to the parent and which themselves produced lots of seed.

So out of two plants thought never to produce seed when crossed together he’d produced a new fertile form that could easily be raised from seed. This plant was called Digitalis x mertonensis.

A number of varieties have been developed over the years and ‘Summer King’ is one of the best. In a trial run by the RHS at its garden at Wisley a few years ago ‘Summer King’ was described as “Multi-stemmed and very good flowering. Flowers held well on spike. Self-cleans beautifully.”

It’s a little like a more compact, more showy form of our native foxglove with spikes crowded with flowers the colour of strawberry ice cream on the outside and raspberries on the inside.

If you like foxgloves, give ‘Summer King’ a try. If you don’t, this one will probably convert you.

New for shady baskets

March 9th, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Streptocarpus 'Santiago'

You want me to do what? Put a streptocarpus in my hanging basket? Yes, but not your regular streptocarpus. This one is different.

Streptocarpus saxorum is a species from East Africa which is occasionally seen in botanic gardens and specialist collections. In the wild it makes rather a straggly plant, sprawling over the forest floor or on damp banks and producing occasional pale lilac flowers with white throats. ‘Santiago’ is a much improved version.

Firstly, it branches repeatedly and more branches mean more flowers. Secondly, the flowers are a lovely light blue in colour with a white eye and a few blue whiskers. Very pretty. Thirdly, ‘Santiago’ has a longer flowering season, May to October. And, finally, the foliage is a little neater so that the flowers are shown off more effectively.

The origins of ‘Santiago’’ seem unclear, although I found a Latvian website featuring the plant where – translated by Google – I’m assured that: “Suspended potatoes also grow stony sturgeon”!!

This is a lovely hanging basket plant for a shady place, it dislikes full sun, and it’s even more important than for other basket plants that it stays moist. I’d also suggest either growing it as a specimen, without companions, or perhaps with only white trailing lobelia for company

Either way, ‘Santiago’ is a valuable addition to the rather small selection of blue-flowered basket plants. Why not give it a try?

Our Night Rider to Make his Garden Releaf Debut

March 7th, 2018 | Events, News | 0 Comments

Richard Keegan, National Field Sales Manager here at Mr Fothergill’s, began his training for the 100-mile Garden ReLeaf bike ride on 16th March with a 5-mile cycle-ride in the dead of night as he was so embarrassed that someone might see him. He came back “knackered” and realised the gravity of what he had just agreed to do!


Matt Jackson ready for anything!

The problem started for Richard soon after Business Development Manager, Matt Jackson, suggested the ride. After agreeing, he realised he didn’t even have a bike, so he had to borrow his partners bike and raise the saddle!

Training has continued and Richard comments: “After buying a little bit of kit – shorts, shoes and helmet – borrowing a bike from a mate and a lot of training rides in the snow, ice, rain and wind (a lot of the last two) I completed my first big ride last Saturday 74 miles. I’m really not sure how the day itself will go, but I am hoping riding with other people will make the whole thing easier but whatever, it’s all for a great cause!”

Richard will be joined by Matt Jackson who ran the 20-mile walking course last year! Like Rich, he has trained hard and has also bought a new bike, lots of winter gear and a turbo trainer! Matt says, “it’s been miserable at times training in this rotten weather but as long as we raise plenty of money for charity it is worth it!”

Richard and Matt are part of the Team Lightning Seeds from Mr Fothergills. They will be joined on the day by 20-mile walkers Tim Jeffries, Jeremy Sharp, Ian Cross, Alison Mulvaney and Chris Owen. In addition, staff at the Kentford HQ will be completing various fund-raising events in the Mr Fothergills HQ

To support the team, visit our JustGiving page by clicking here.

New Vegetable Varieties in our Seed Range

March 6th, 2018 | News, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

We have strengthened our vegetable seed range with the introduction of nine new and two exclusive varieties for the 2018 season, all of which promise excellent yield and flavour.

Carrot Speedo (RRP £2.29 for 350 seeds) is a fast growing and early maincrop ‘Nantes’ variety which matures 90 days after sowing. It has a uniform, cylindrical shape and smooth skinned roots. This high quality carrot has good external and internal colour and a well-rounded tip at maturity.

In support of Fleuroselect’s Year of the Pepper campaign we have introduced the exclusive Pepper (Hot) Curry Pepper (RRP £2.45 for 10 seeds). It produces 15cm long fruits on compact plants. It is full of hot flavour, can be used both fresh or dried and is at its best when still green or light green.

Another new pepper added to the range is Pepper (Hot) Havana Gold (RRP £2.69 for 10 seeds). It is a vigorous plant, great for large crops of attractive fruits. Havana Gold has the amazing habanero flavour but with half the heat. Perfect fresh or dried and suitable for freezing.

Mr-Fothergills-Carrot-Speedo-Variety Mr-Fothergills-Pepper-Hot-Curry-Pepper-Seed-VarietyMr-Fothergills-Pepper-Hot-Havana-Gold-Seed-Variety








Besides peppers we have also introduced a selection of other varieties including Pea (Mangetout) Sweet Sensation (RRP £2.69 for 150 seeds), well-known for good resistance to mildew. It is an early crop variety producing sweet and crunchy pods.

Broccoli (Autumn) Covina (RRP £2.45 for 50 seeds), quality harvests over a long season. It produces solid, domed heads with medium sized beads.

Carrot Purple Sun F1 (RRP £2.99 for 350 seeds), a maincrop sweet nantes type, with rich purple flesh throughout.

Leek Navajo (RRP £3.49 for 50 seeds), distinguishes itself with extreme hardiness for crops throughout winter, producing long, easy to clean shanks.

Lettuce Thimble (RRP £2.05 for 200 seeds), resistant to bolting and tipburn diseases, producing dense heads of crisp leaves. This mini-romaine type can be cooked, grilled or used fresh in salads.

Tomato Sweetbaby (RRP £2.29 for 10 seeds) is an indeterminate outdoors or greenhouse growing variety that produces delicious and sweet, small cherry-sized toms.

Make Your Own Seed Starting Mix

March 5th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

It’s that time of year again: seed sowing time. Sowing the first seeds of the growing season is always incredibly exciting. Think about all the fresh, home-grown products to come.

If you are planning on starting to sow in containers, you will need seed starting mix. And since buying this is often quite expensive, we will show you how to make your own.


Seed starting Mix

The perfect seed starting mix, should not be too high in nutrients, which could harm delicate seedlings. The mix should also hold on to moister without becoming soggy. Overly wet conditions can rot seeds and encourage fungal diseases such as damping off.

Here is a very simple recipe: It’s a soilless recipe so it’s beautifully light and fluffy. All the ingredients are natural too, promoting good strong growth and healthy, happy seedlings.

Seed-starting-mixBegin with 2 parts compost as your base. All parts measured by volume; So it doesn’t matter what you use to measure your ingredients, as long as you are consistent.

The compost adds slowly released nutrients to the mix, which will help to feed seedlings as they grow. You can use your own garden compost or buy some.

Break up clumps with your hands or screen/sift it to get a fine even texture.

Then add 2 parts coir or coconut fiber. If your coirs come in a block, rehydrate it first by soaking it in a bucket of water until you can easily break it apart. If you prefer you could substitute well-rotted leafmould instead of the coir.

Finally, add 1 part perlite, which will both lighten the mix and improve its air content. You can substitute perlite with sand, but it will give you a heavier mixture.

Mix all the ingredients together, create a consistent mix with all the ingredients evenly distributed. Once done, store the seed starter mix in a lidded container or in a plastic sac. Store your mix in a dry cool place.


Using your seed starting mix

Moisture your seed starting mix a little bit before using it, for it to be damp but not sodden. You can use your mix for sowing into plug trays, plastic pots, seeds trays or any other container suitable for seed sowing.

Gently press down your seed starting mix as you fill your container and take particular care to properly fill out the corners. Top up with more mix if required. Sow your seeds according to the package’s instructions and water. Watering requires some care if you don’t want to blast the mix out of the container.

Once the seedlings have germinated, it is best to water them from below. Put your containers in shallow trays of water, until the surface of the mix is moist.



Potting on

Many seedlings need potting on into larger containers at least once before it’s time to plant them out. Most will be happy in the same seed starting mix. But for hungrier seedlings like tomato for example, they will appreciate something a bit richer. Adding some worm compost, gives it the nutritional boost for after.


Container Potting Mixes

Try this potting mix for plants to be grown in larger containers.

Combine 2 parts garden compost with 1 part coir or leamould. Now add some perlite for drainage. 2-3 generous handfuls to every 10 gallons or 40 liters of the coir/compost mix. A similar amount of worm compost can also be added for hungry plants. Or incorporate a slow release organic fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Plants grown in the same container for a very long time need a potting mix that holds its structure. Loam or good quality garden soil offers this.

Simply combine 1 part loam or garden soil with 1 part garden compost. Then add some slow releasing organic fertilizer.


Making your own potting mix will save you a lot of money, but the other benefit of these recipes is that they can also be tweaked depending on what you are growing.



These are just a few tips and ideas to help you create your own sowing mix. If you have any additonal tips let us know which ones in the comments below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page and tell us what you would recomend.