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. 

 

 

Our Award winning seed range with the RHS exceeds sales expectations

June 22nd, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Now stocked in over 1,000 retail outlets and approaching its second season, the Award of Garden Merit range from Mr Fothergill’s and the RHS is set to continue its success into the 2019 season. We can report that 2018 sales into garden centres have reached 137% of target for the vegetable collection, whilst the flower range is at 125%.

From the 61 flowers and 55 vegetables available in the range, Erigeron Profusion and Courgette Defender F1 top sales of individual varieties since the launch, whilst four new specially selected AGM varieties have been added for the 2019 season:

Onion (Spring) Matrix (RRP £2.50 for 350 seeds) is a winter hardy variety, slow to form bulbs and shows good disease resistance to ensure stems remain in top condition for longer.

Sweet Corn Mirai Gold F1 (RRP £3.05 for 35 seeds), a naturally bred variety with unbelievably sweet tasting cobs. Each is up to 20cm in length and packed with extra-tender kernels.

Pea Starlight (RRP £2.75 for 300 seeds) is a top-quality variety producing generous, wilt resistant and extremely reliable crops. Pods are uniquely held above the canopy for easy picking and well filled with delicious, medium-sized peas.

Sunflower Teddy Bear (RRP £2.35 for 20 seeds) is the new flower addition. Compact and bushy, it is a well branched variety producing lots of double, uniquely soft-to-the-touch blooms.

Mr-Fothergills-RHS-sunflower-teddy-bear-seeds      Mr-Fothergills-RHS-Pea-starlight-seeds

Ian Cross, our Retail Marketing Manager commented “We are proud to be the RHS’s preferred seed partner and are delighted with how the range continues to be received by our trade customers and their customers alike. We have picked only the very best varieties to include in the collections so that every gardener, from the amateur to the enthusiast, can be assured of getting the results they want.”

Each variety in the RHS AGM range has received the prestigious Award of Garden Merit – a mark of quality awarded to garden plants with excellent garden performance.

Plant associations the 19th century way

June 22nd, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

"harmony of colouring" 19th century style

So, the other day I was browsing through the June 1852 issue of the Floricultural Cabinet magazine – the way you do – and I came across some interesting observations about plant associations.

“We have frequently called attention of our young readers,” says Joseph Harrison who “conducted” the magazine, “to the desirability of paying strict attention to the judicious arrangements of flowering plants, as regards height and harmony of colouring.

“It is true,” he goes on,” that, of late years, this subject has become a matter of study amongst gardeners and great changes for the better have taken place in this respect; still we are far from supposing that we have arrived at perfection.

“Always bear in mind – if beauty, order and effect are desired – that attention to this, next to a well laid-out flower-garden, is essential to their full development.

“In producing well-arranged contrasts, the different shades of colour must be as distinct from each other as possible: for instance, white should never be placed in contact with yellow, or deep blue with crimson; but white forms a good contrast with blue or red, blue to orange, yellow to purple or violet, dark crimson to light blue, and scarlet should be placed near those which have profuse green foliage, as red and green form the best contrast. Orange and violet do well. Greenish-yellow and rose contrast well.”

This is what I’ve referred to in the past as the “right between the eyes” style of plant association: the bolder and brighter the contrast the better. And it works.

Of course, not everyone enjoys that approach. For many of us, a calmer and more harmonious arrangement of pastels is preferable – but this was clearly not in vogue in 1852.

Growing Sweet Corn from Sowing to Harvest

June 20th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

There’s something pretty special about a handsome stand of homegrown sweetcorn. But the real prize lies in harvesting it. Picking the cobs, then excitedly peeling back the sheath to reveal those full, creamy kernels is just magical! And there’s no better treat than cooking them straight away for the sweetest possible taste. If you fancy growing your own sweetcorn this year, you’re in good company. Here are some tips to set you up for sweet success…

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Growing Super Sweet Corn

Grow sweetcorn in a spot that receives plenty of sunshine, in soil that’s been enriched with a lot of well-rotted organic matter such as compost. Corn’s lofty habit and feathery tassels makes it an attractive plant in its own right.

Hybrid varieties are usually the most reliable choices for cooler climates. If you want especially sweet cobs, then choose varieties described as such – many will even have the word ‘sweet’ or ‘sugar’ in the name.

 

How to Sow Sweetcorn

Corn loves the warmth and won’t tolerate frost. While the seeds may be sown directly outside once the soil has warmed up, the safest way to sow is into pots in the protection of a greenhouse, polytunnel or cold frame. That way you can begin sowing three to four weeks before your last frost date and enjoy a head start on outdoor-sown corn – a huge advantage in shorter growing seasons.

Sow eight to ten seeds half an inch (1cm) deep into four inch- (10cm) wide pots. You can use any general purpose or seed-starting potting mix. Alternatively, sow into smaller pots or plug trays, sowing two seeds to each pot or module then removing the weakest of the two seedlings.

Sweetcorn hates the cold and is best started off in a greenhouse, polytunnel or cold frame

Keep pots moist as they grow on. Ideally they should be about six inches (15cm) tall by the time you’re ready to plant them outside. Harden off the plants as your recommended planting time approaches by leaving them outside for increasingly longer spells over the course of about a week.

 

Mr-Fothergills-patch-of-growing-sweetcornHow to Plant Sweetcorn

Sweetcorn is wind-pollinated, so instead of planting them in a long row, set your plants out in a block for the highest chance of success. If the corn isn’t well pollinated, it will still grow but will be missing many of the kernels from the cob.

Remove your young plants from their pots, then very carefully tease their roots apart. Try to retain as much of the soil around the roots as possible. Now plant your sweet corn 18 inches (45cm) apart in both directions. Dig a hole for each plant, feed the roots to the bottom of the hole then firm the soil back in.

Sweetcorn is best grown in blocks rather than rows for the best harvests

Sprawling squashes make a great companion for sweet corn. The squash will carpet the ground and help suppress weeds as the sweetcorn grows skywards.

 

 

Caring for Sweetcorn

Remove any weeds that pop up within your sweetcorn by hand and continue weeding while you are still able to get between the plants. Sweetcorn is sturdy and shouldn’t need supporting. It will appreciate watering in very dry weather, particularly from late summer as the tassels appear and the cobs begin to form.

Sweetcorn is ready to pick when the tassels turn dark brown

 

When to Pick Sweetcorn

The cobs are ready to pick when the tassels at the end turn dark brown, usually around six weeks after first appearing. If you’re unsure whether a cob’s good to go, try the fingernail test. Peel back the top of the protective sheath then sink a fingernail firmly into a kernel. If it exudes a creamy liquid, it’s ready. If it’s not quite there the liquid will still be watery, and if there’s no liquid the cob is already past its best.

To harvest, twist the cob and pull it away. Aim to enjoy your harvested corncobs as soon as you can. Try it boiled or barbecued then served up with lashings of butter and pepper!

Corn is sweetest cooked as soon as possible after harvesting

Do you know there are even some gardeners who swear by getting a pan of water on the boil before harvesting their sweetcorn so it can go from plot to pan in mere seconds?

 

These are just a few tips and ideas to help you grow your own sweetcorn. If you would like to share any tips for growing or enjoying super sweet corn, then please, comment below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page.

Ferns come out of the shade

June 15th, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Athyrium otophorum var. okanum

We tend to think of ferns as plants for shady places and it’s true that for many of them full shade is essential. But some thrive in full sun or partial shade with just one proviso – they must have wet soil.

This makes them ideal plants for pond margins, those areas around the edges of the pond that are sunny but where the soil is always damp.

The royal fern, Osmunda regalis, is a tall and impressive plant – stately, almost – that can reach 2m in height when happy. It grows wild in Britain and you’ll see it mostly in the west and south where it grows on river banks and lakesides, in wet ditches and around the edges of wet woods.

The erect, pale green fronds often turn yellow or orange in the autumn and surround vertical stems topped with bold rusty tufts that look a little like brown flowers, but which are in fact packed with dusty spores.

Although less tolerant of sun than the royal fern, there’s another much smaller and more manageable waterside fern that will grow in a combination of sun for part of the day and moisture. This is a very pretty form of lady fern, Athyrium otophorum var. okanum. It’s often suggested that it demands full shade, but I’ve found that it’s happy in some sun if the roots are never allowed to become dry.

What marks this plant out is the creamy colour of the young fronds and the rich red colouring of the stems and veins which becomes more intense as the fronds mature.

Rarely reaching more than about 60cm, this Asian species also makes a fine specimen for a cool corner of the patio, stand its pot in a saucer to collect moisture and keep the roots damp.

In fact, I’ve also seen the royal fern grown in a pot – but you’ll need a very large one.

We are Boosting our Plant Tonic Offering with NEW Seasol 4-Litre

June 12th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Buoyed by recent sales of our Seasol 1-litre product, which is now stocked in over 650 retail outlets nationwide, we are launching the seaweed-based plant tonic in a 4-litre format for the 2019 season.

Ian Cross, our Marketing Manager comments “The great thing about Seasol is that because it is a natural plant tonic, you can use it regularly throughout all stages of growth, from seed to mature plant, unlike chemical fertilisers. The new 4-litre bottle will not only give our customers great value for money, but as you can use Seasol on most areas of the garden, at any time of the year, it also won’t run out as quickly.”

Mr-Fothergills-new-plant-tonic-Seasol-4l

Seasol, a seaweed-based complete garden health treatment is derived from a blend of the finest brown kelps and is proven to stimulate root development. The tonic also promotes healthy growth of plants, flowers and vegetables, enhances flowering and fruiting and increases resistance to heat, drought, frost, pests and diseases. It can be applied directly to soil or foliage, contains beneficial micro-nutrients and is also rich in trace elements.

New Seasol 4-litre has a RRP of £19.99 and is available for retailers to purchase as outers of two.

To find out more about Seasol and the rest of our Mr Fothergill’s range, log on at www.mr-fothergills-trade.com or telephone 01638 554111.