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. 

 

 

Ties on for Tim Again as Mr Fothergill’s Seeds Raises Money for BBC Children in Need

November 15th, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

Once again, the team at Mr Fothergill’s Seeds have donned their finest ties to help raise money for BBC Children in Need – an idea which came about as Tim Jeffries, Mr Fothergill’s Commercial Director is the last and only person to ever wear a tie in the office! And this year their colleagues in Australia have done exactly the same. Tim again donated £1 for each person wearing a tie with the company’s joint Managing Directors John Fothergill and David Carey matching his donation.

Mr Fothergills UK office taking part in Ties for Tim to raise money for BBC Children in Need

Mr Fothergills Austrailia office taking part in Ties for Tim to raise money for BBC Children in Need

‘Ties for Tim’ is part of a week of fundraising activities at the Mr Fothergill’s offices in Newmarket, with staff also taking on the challenge to ‘Be the Masterchef’, the Children in Need annual duck race and coming dressed up in their Pudsey inspired yellow or spotty outfits, with all proceeds going to BBC Children in Need.

The money raised during the week will be added to sales of Mr Fothergill’s Sunflower Pudsey and Pumpkin Pudsey seed packets, with 30p from each going directly to BBC Children in Need. To date, this donation has reached over £24,000.

Tim commented “It’s fantastic that everyone at Mr Fothergill’s gets behind such an important cause, having fun in the process. If only everyone came to work looking as smart as they did on Monday! But it’s just as important that our retail customers and their customers are engaged and we have seen that through sales of our Sunflower Pudsey and Pumpkin Pudsey seed packets.”

Sunflower Pudsey and Pumpkin Pudsey have an RRP of £1.99 and are available from selected garden retailers, online at www.mr-fothergills.co.uk and in Homebase stores.

Dainty daisies for autumn and spring

November 15th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Bellis (Daisy) 'Bellissima'

I once found a dainty little double flowered daisy in my lawn. Well, patch of grass (and weeds, clearly) would have been a better description but I dug it up and kept it going in a pot for a couple of years before it faded away.

Double flowered lawn daisies were already grown in gardens and given long winded Latin names as long ago as the 1600s and it’s from these distant cousins that today’s double daisies are derived. And what great spring flowers they are.

Some, I have to say, carry flowers that are so huge that they collect rain and weigh down the stems after just a shower. ‘Bellisima’, though, has medium sized flowers that combine impact with self supporting stems. There are four colours: deep red, rose pink, white and a pink that fades to white. They won’t reach more than about 15cm in height at most and, unlike most other double daisies, they have one other special feature. They might well already be in flower.

Most of these dainty little daisies need a cold spell to prompt them to flower, so they don’t usually get going till spring. Not so ‘Bellisima’, which flowers without a cold snap. It’s usually in flower in October and November and in a sheltered porch flowers will keep coming through the winter before developing a second peak in spring.

And if Mr F have any dwarf tulips or chionodoxa left, slip them in between the ‘Bellisima’ daisies when you’re planting.

Give Pests the Boot!

November 13th, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

A gardener tending to their garden in the winter

Tidying up the garden for winter is a balancing act. On the one hand, you don’t want to leave hiding places for pests to overwinter. But on the other, you want to ensure that beneficial bugs – including pest predators – have somewhere safe to sit out the cold so they’re about for the next growing season. The advice we’re given to banish pests often has the unintended effect of discouraging beneficials too. So what is a wildlife-friendly gardener to do?

Read on or watch the video and we’ll help you to achieve that all-important balance.

Should I Cover or Expose Soil?

Perhaps the greatest area of confusion lies around whether or not to cover the ground or leave it exposed to the cleansing effects of frost and hungry birds. In general, it’s best to follow nature’s lead and keep soil covered during winter. Lay thick mulches of garden compost, leaf mould or other organic matter over the surface to stave off soil erosion and sustain beneficial soil dwellers such as earthworms and ground beetles.

An interior shot of composting leaf mulch leaf mould in a wooden compost binIn areas of the garden where pests have been a problem a good compromise is to delay laying down organic matter until midway through winter, or rake back mulches during cold snaps to temporarily expose ground. Raking or lightly forking the soil will help to reveal lurking grubs both to frosts and insect-eating birds, helping to dent their numbers before spring. This is a particularly good technique to use around fruit trees, bushes and canes, where leaves of any plants that were affected by pests or diseases should also be raked up and removed.

To Weed or Not to Weed?

When it comes to weeding, the best course of action depends on the type of weeds you’re dealing with.

Late autumn and early winter is a good time to get rid of perennial weeds, whose growth should hopefully have slowed enough for you to finally catch up with them! Be thorough and remove all of their roots too, otherwise they’ll just regrow again.

While weeding clears growing areas ready for springtime sowings, don’t be too hasty. Annual weeds like bittercress and deadnettle can be left to provide insect habitat and protect the soil over winter, before hoeing them off in the spring. Just be sure to remove them before they produce seeds.

Where possible, seedlings of self-seeding flowers such as calendula or nigella should be left to attract next season’s beneficial bugs because they’ll flower earlier than new sowings. And clumps of nettles left untouched in an out-of-the-way spot are a great food source for many beautiful butterflies and pest-hungry predators such as ladybirds.

Stop Pests Overwintering on Fruit Trees

A glue trap on a fruit tree in winter to deter pests such as winter moth caterpillarsThe bark on fruit trees offers good hiding places for pests like aphids and scale insects. Once all the leaves have dropped you can apply a winter tree wash to bare branches. This is a natural plant or fish oil-based treatment which should be sprayed on a windless day to avoid drifting. It will help to control pest numbers while causing minimal impact to other wildlife. But as with all treatments, it’s best to only use it if you’ve experienced pest problems on your trees during the previous growing season.

Paint tree barrier glues, or tie on grease bands around the trunks of fruit trees to help prevent damage caused by winter moth caterpillars. The sticky barriers prevent the egg-laying wingless female moths from climbing up into the canopy from ground level. Grease bands work best on trees with smoother bark where moths won’t be able to simply crawl under them, while glues are best for trees with deeply fissured bark.

Clean Greenhouses and Cold Frames

Winter’s a good time for a thorough clean of greenhouses and cold frames. Move everything out and clean greenhouse staging, all equipment and dirty pots and trays too. Leave it to dry while you then clean the glass using water with a little added natural disinfectant or greenhouse cleaning solution. Be sure to get into every corner, crack and crevice, any way you can!

Spaces for Beneficial Bugs

To keep beneficial bugs onside leave the rest of the garden a little wilder during the colder months. Allow grass to grow longer so caterpillars and other bugs can bury themselves into the thatch. Hollow stems and fallen leaves should be left where possible to provide habitat for all manner of insects. Old seed heads give shelter to ladybirds and other pest predators – and food for hungry birds. Cut them back in spring just before growth resumes. Hold off digging in ornamental borders until spring too – and then only if absolutely necessary – so that insects such as bumblebees can sit out the winter in peace.

You can provide additional homes for beneficial bugs by dotting bug hotels – big and small – around the garden, and, as long as you’re not in an area with termites, by creating log or stone piles, which will also prove popular with small mammals and amphibians such as toads.

So tackle pests where they have been an issue, but hang back from being too tidy to give the good guys have somewhere safe and secure to bed down for winter. Do you have any tips for booting out pests while giving beneficial bugs a helping hand? Comment below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page.

Vital violas for winter and spring

November 8th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Viola 'Sorbet Mixed'

There are two kinds of violets. Some are propagated from cuttings and although the flowers are very pretty and come in a wide range of colours and combinations their season tends to be short and the plants become straggly. But they’re hardy perennials and last for two or three years in the garden.

And then there are the seed-raised types which are more compact, more prolific, flower in winter and spring and come in a wonderful range of colours, with new ones added almost every year. But after spring, when they’re done, they really need to go on the compost heap.

Most of us have room for both types but at this time of year it’s the winter and spring flowering varieties that we need to get ordered and planted, they’re ideal for containers by the front door, and there are three lovely new colours released this season. All are from the Sorbet Series, by far and away the best of the neat and bushy violas.

‘Sorbet XP Yellow Blue Jump Up’ has yellow flowers with purple-blue tips to the tops of the petals and a neat little purple-blue chin. ‘Sorbet XP Neptune’ has a slightly more rounded white flower, whiskered in the centre and with a bold deep blue edge. ‘Sorbet Honeybee’ is a blend of pale terracotta, honey, gold and rich yellow with black whiskers. If you prefer a more traditional mixture ‘Sorbet Mixed’ is the one to look for.

The plants are often in bud when they arrive, plant them straight away and they’ll flower through the winter hitting their peak in the spring. The Sorbet violas are the best bushy violas on the planet. Give ‘em a try.

Christmas Gifts for Gardeners From Mr Fothergill’s Seeds

November 7th, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

Christmas is nearing once again! If you are thinking of what to buy for your friends and family, Mr Fothergill’s has got some great growing options for kids and beginners or experienced gardeners. Widely stocked by garden retailers and online, you can choose from a number of innovative gardening gifts from windowsill kits to fun ‘grass head’ kits for youngsters, which make perfect stocking fillers.

For anyone new to gardening, Mr Fothergill’s offers the patented GroBox (RRP £6.99) range of easy-to-grow, pre-sown gardening products. GroBox is a bio-degradable cardboard box containing four varieties of pre-sown vegetable or herb seeds in compost, which is planted, covered and watered in the garden or in a container. The range also includes a children’s flower garden and a children’s vegetable garden.

The GroBox collection - Childrens vegetable garden, Childrens flower garden, Easy herb garden and Easy salad garden

There are four windowsill kits – Herb Garden, Fragrant Garden, Strawberry Garden and Sunflower Garden – each comprising a galvanised metal windowsill container, seeds, compost and instructions. Each has a recommended retail price of £7.95. The Herb Grow Kit (RRP £10.95) has three galvanised pots on a tray, basil, parsley and chive seeds, plus compost discs, while the Grow Your Own Pesto Kit includes basil seed, compost discs, a ceramic pestle, mortar and instructions on how to make the much-loved Italian sauce for pasta. It has a recommended retail price of £6.95.

GroBox windowsill kits - Herb Garden, Fragrant Garden, Strawberry Garden and Sunflower GardenGroBox Grow Your Own Pesto Kit

Eye-catching grow kits in the caricature form of various animals would make ideal stocking-fillers to encourage youngsters to take an interest in growing from seed. The ceramic egg cup-style planters known as Munakuppi (Finnish for ‘egg cup’) Hair Grow Kits have a recommended retail price of just £3.95. Each Munakuppi includes two sachets of seed – basil for short ‘hair’ and ryegrass for long ‘hair’ – plus compost and growing instructions, so anyone can simply sow, water and watch the green ‘hair’ grow. The six hand-crafted animals, including a frog, dog, pig, duck, seal and cow are becoming collectables. Children would also enjoy any of four smiley faces or four adorable cats. These gorgeous kits come with a pot, coir pellet, grass seed and instructions. These ceramic characters can be used again and again.

Munakuppi Hair Grow Kits

For chilli lovers, there are Chilli Pepper Grow Kits available for classic, great tasting, fiery red chillies or juicy medium-hot green chillies, perfect for pizzas. Available as complete kits, with an RRP of just £4.99.

Mr Fothergill’s range of seeds and kits is available from garden centres, supermarkets and leading DIY stores throughout the UK.