Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Valerie Harrod Acclaimed ‘The People’s Sweet Pea’

August 29th, 2013 | Competitions, Events, News, The flower garden | 0 Comments

Sweet Pea Valerie Harrod

Presenting the Sweet Pea Valerie Harrod

Visitors to Mr Fothergill’s sweet pea competition, held at Capel Manor College in early July 2013, had the opportunity not only to see plenty of beautiful blooms grown by everyday gardeners and serious exhibitors, but also to vote for their all-round favourite from a selection of 12 varieties presented for their inspection. It may only have been a bit of fun, but the company took notice of the ‘people’s choice’ and is now offering seed of Valerie Harrod on its website.

Valerie Harrod was a runaway winner, so we felt he had to offer it in our range”, explained Mr Fothergill’s technical manager Tracy Collacott, who staged the blooms for the public vote. “It’s a smashing orange pink variety and the most successful exhibition variety in its colour, so it makes sense to offer it. On top of that, it is large flowered and well scented”.

In second place was the lavender-flowered Maestro, bred by the late and renowned Bernard Jones, and in third place was Mr Fothergill’s Chelsea Centenary, which it launched in 2013 to mark the 100th birthday of the Chelsea Flower Show. A ‘multiflora’ bearing up to seven blooms per stem, Chelsea Centenary is also a lavender variety and was shortlisted for the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year.

To buy seed of Sweet Pea Valerie Harrod go to  A packet of 20 seeds costs £2.45.

Sweet Pea named in honour of Sir Henry Cecil

August 9th, 2013 | Events, News, The flower garden | 0 Comments

Sweet Pea Sir Henry Cecil

Sweet Pea Sir Henry Cecil

A beautiful new sweet pea bred by the world’s leading hybridist and introduced for the 2014 season by Mr Fothergill’s has been named Sir Henry Cecil in honour of Britain’s greatest racehorse trainer, who died earlier this year (2013).   The sweetly scented chocolate flake variety was officially ‘christened’ by Lady Cecil at the Kentford, Newmarket, seed company’s annual press open day in early August.

“We knew Sir Henry loved his flower garden as a form of relaxation from the pressure of training racehorses, and so we were honoured when Lady Cecil agreed to our request to name the new variety in his memory”, said the company’s joint managing director John Fothergill.  “He was also greatly admired and loved not only by the racing community, but by the whole of our home town of Newmarket and beyond”.

Sweet Pea Sir Henry Cecil was bred in New Zealand by the renowned Dr Keith Hammett and is available exclusively from Mr Fothergill’s.  Such is his reputation that Mr Fothergill’s now puts a special flash on all its sweet pea variety packets bred by him to highlight the fact.  A packet of 20 seeds of Sweet Pea Sir Henry Cecil costs £1.99.

In a training career at Newmarket which spanned more than 40 years, Sir Henry won 3431 races worldwide, 25 British Classic races, had 75 successes at Royal Ascot and won 10 trainers’ titles.  Of the many top-class horses he trained the most famous is Frankel, which won 14 races and retired unbeaten in 2012.

Mr Fothergill makes a rare appearance at the Centenary Chelsea Flower Show

June 13th, 2013 | Events | 0 Comments

mrfSeedsman Mr Fothergill, or the pictorial representation of him on the company’s seed packets at least, may not be quite as old as the Chelsea Flower Show, but the sprightly old gent was spotted at the centenary event this week. It was thought to be the first time he has been seen in public.

The firm’s product manager David Turner entered into the spirit of things by dressing up as the character on the Suffolk firm’s stand in Eastern Avenue, where he generated much interest among visitors.

He enjoyed it so much that he’s planning to attend other events as Mr Fothergill later in the gardening show season, so watch out for him!

Mr Fothergill’s sweet pea Chelsea Centenary was shortlisted for the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year.  It introduced the variety, bred in New Zealand by Keith Hammett, to British gardeners for the 2013 season.  It’s a stunning variety of sweet pea with a wonderful fragrance and long stems for cutting. You can pre-order your autumn sown plants now to be ahead of the pack for spring planting in 2014.

Mr Fothergill’s goes on tour to China

June 13th, 2013 | Events | 0 Comments

Mr Fothergill’s Directors John Fothergill and Tim Jeffries have just returned from a mini tour of China.  The pair went as guests of a garden centre group which stocks Mr Fothergill’s seeds, who had invited them to speak.

John and Tim spent their time their illustrating seed sowing, and discussing how the British like to work in their gardens.  Home gardening is new to Chinese people and while space is often limited, there are opportunities for container gardening.  The emerging rise of a middle class in China is also seeing families that now have gardens too.  The pair’s audiences at their speaking engagements were all new gardeners eager for information and guidance on their hobby.

“We spoke on British gardening and growing from seed.  Gardening is new to the people we talked with and so we found that there is a thirst for knowledge.  Growing from seed is complicated to people who have not done it before, but there’s so much that can be done that is so easy,” explains Tim.

“The quality and variety of seeds that is available from the Mr Fothergill’s full range was really interesting for the people we spoke with.  The germination success rates we have at Mr Fothergill’s is also appreciated, as indigenous seed companies in China have tended to have erratic germination levels.”

John and Tim gave presentations at the Hortiflorexpo in Shanghai, the major horticultural show in China which was open to both the public and trade visitors.  They also visited two garden centres in Shanghai and Wuxi, and the highlight of their tour was a talk at the magnificent Shanghai Botanical Gardens.

“The growth and development within China is a sight to behold.  John and I were warmly welcomed everywhere by a courteous and curious public and hosts and we had a great time talking about a subject that is our first passion,” says Tim.