Archive for the ‘News’ Category

November Gardening Advice

November 1st, 2017 | News, The flower garden, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Cold temperatures and winter rain bring a certain feeling of urgency to garden work through November. The trick is to work with the weather not against it. Pay attention to weather forecasts and plan your time in the garden accordingly. November is an excellent time to dig new beds and turn over existing borders for example but you need to work in dry conditions – treading over wet soils will ruin their structure, doing more harm than good. The focus for the month is maintenance and tidying, whether it be clearing spent stems or whole plants from borders, a full greenhouse clean, or keeping on top of autumn leaf fall. The bare root season gets underway this month, making it the perfect time to plant new trees, shrubs, soft fruit and fruit trees.

In the flower garden

Tulip planting
November is the best month to set out Tulip bulbs. By leaving it as a late task, soils will have cooled enough to have eradicated diseases in the soil which could infect your bulbs – Plant tulips in earlier in September with other spring flowering bulbs, and there is a greater risk of tulip fire infection.
Set tulips in free-draining soil, as least three times the depth of the bulb, with the pointed tip facing up. Alternatively set them in large patio containers filled with bulb fibre compost. For extra impact in containers set two or three layers of bulbs per pot, for tiered colour come spring. Little to no maintenance is needed as winter wet will settle them in.

Last chance winter bedding
If you are still to set out your designs for winter and spring colour, time is now against you. Plants need time to settle in and send out new roots ahead of prolonged periods of frost and freezing temperatures. Wall flowers, bellis, violas and primroses make excellent spring subjects for sunny borders, patio pots and hanging baskets. With Christmas fast approaching, why not think about festive planters and hanging baskets to welcome visitors to the home over the holiday season.

Lilies for summer
Lily bulbs can be potted up now and left in a sheltered spot outside for colour and scent next summer. If you have the space in a cool porch or unheated greenhouse the pots can be brought under cover in late winter to encourage an early display of colour in late spring or early summer.

Perennial tidy
Continue to work through mixed and perennial border this month, cutting out spent foliage and stems now that plants are in full dormancy. Decorative seedheads can be left in place, not only to look stunning when covered in a hard frost; they will also provide a winter food source for birds and other wildlife. Once tidy, plant crowns should be surrounded with a protective layer of mulch (leaf mould, garden compost, bark chippings etc) to keep the worst of winter frost away from fleshy roots and dormant shoots.

Whole plants can still be lifted and divided to ease congestion in the border and ensure strong flowering. Divisions can be potted and swapped with friends or set back out in the border to fill any gaps that showed this year.

Perennials in pots
Permanent patio pots will benefit from some winter protection. This is done for one or two (or both) reasons. Covering patio pots in bubble wrap, hessian sacking or horticultural fleece with prevent frost prone material such as terracotta, from cracking and will also add an insulating layer to prevent frost damage to roots inside the pots.

Lift tender tubers after the first hard frost
The general advice for overwintering dahlias, tuberous begonias and cannas is to leave them in situ until the first hard frost has blackened their foliage. They are then cut down to ground level, lifted and stored in cool but frost-free conditions ready for replanting next spring. However, if frosts are late in your region, or you live in a particularly cold part of the country, there is a risk that a hard frost can be accompanied by a hard freeze, making it impossible to lift the tubers from frozen ground. Here is pays to lift tubers ahead of the frosts. In warmer locations that generally receive milder winter temperatures and less rainfall, the tubers may be left in situ and covered with a deep layer of straw or mulch to keep the frosts away.

Early hellebores
Despite their common name of Christmas roses, Hellebores rarely flower in time for the festive season. To ensure some floral colour the Christmas, cloches can be placed over plants to provide extra warmth and protection.

On the veg patch

Sow broad beans
In mild areas, broad beans can be successfully sown this side of winter for earlier crops next year. Even in colder regions you can make a start outside by planting under cloches or tunnels, or started in pots in an unheated greenhouse or cold frame. Not all broad bean varieties are suited to autumn sowing. For the best sowing success this November try Bunyards Exhibition, Aguadulce or Superaguadulce.

All go for garlic
Garlic crops can be planted this month in mild areas with low rainfall and free-draining soils. Individual cloves should be set out in well fed soils, spacing 15cm (6in) apart in rows spaced 30cm (12in) apart. The cloves should be set just below the soil surface.
gardeners in colder regions and those working with heavy clay soils should instead set their cloves in module trays in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse.

Pigeon patrol
With natural food sources declining over winter, leafy brassica crops become a target food source for pigeons. Bird scarers can be set around your crop but the most effective control is to cover plants with netting.

Winter brassica care
Cold, wet conditions bring the risk of grey mould and brassica downy mildew to winter brassicas. Safeguard your Christmas Brussels sprouts and other overwintering brassicas by removing any yellowed leaves, as this is where problems always start.
While inspecting your sprouts think about staking any plants that appear tall and leggy, this will prevent wind rock, which can weaken plants and reduce their cropping potential.

Veg patch tidy
Keeping the veg patch clean and tidy over winter is essential for the ongoing health of your plot and future crops. An untidy growing areas littered with plant debris allows pest and diseases a better chance of overwintering to cause problems next season.
Clear soils of all plant debris – if material looks diseased, do not compost it. Either add to household waste or add to the autumn bonfire.

Bare root Fruit
Bare root plants offer the most economical way of bringing fruit to the garden.  soft fruit canes and fruit trees are lifted from the field while dormant and sent out with no soil or compost on the roots, for immediate planting on delivery. The dormant plants are simply set into garden soil or containers to the same soil line that will be apparent on the base of the plant. Fruit trees should be staked after planting. Soft fruit canes should simply need firming in well.

Winterise your Greenhouse

Keep things ticking over in the greenhouse with some winter prep:

  • Clean glass to maximise natural light levels
  • Add an insulating layer of bubble wrap on the inside of the greenhouse
  • Install an electric heater or paraffin heater to prevent freezing temperatures.
  • Install lighting so you can keep working during short winter days (opt for a grow light for the benefit of your plants).
  • If your greenhouse is clear of plants, think about having a deep clean with disinfectant such as Jeyes Fluid

Top tip for winter house plants: Set houseplants on trays of damp gravel, this will raise humidity around the plants, helping to combat the dry conditions of a heated home over winter.


Mr Fothergill’s Flower Mixes are Given a Fresh New Look

October 31st, 2017 | News | 0 Comments

Hardy annual seed mixes are great value and perhaps the easiest way to grow flowers.
This season Mr Fothergill’s has given its range of flower mixes a refresh. The new design incorporates bigger pictures and new pictorial instructions to make preparation and sowing even clearer.

The generic look of the new packaging is modern and draws the attention of flower-minded customers. Packed in outers of 8, the mixes are available in four themes:

Wildlife Attracting Flowers – a special blend for beneficial insects, rich in nectar and pollen, that also provides seed for hungry birds in the autumn.

Cottage Garden Flowers – traditional cottage garden favourites, created to provide a beautiful display of colour throughout the summer months. Also contains flowers that are great for cutting.

Blue Flowers – blended mixture designed to create a coordinated border in vibrant shades of blue and purple for a relaxed and tranquil atmosphere. It is Mr Fothergill’s bestselling flower mix.

Red Flowers – a designer mix created to provide striking, vividly coloured flower garden with plenty of eye-catching shades blooming over a long season.

Each box contains 20g of hardy and half-hardy annuals, mixed with a natural carrier to give up to 20sqm coverage. All have RRP of just £3.99.



More Australian Seaweed Sets Sail for Mr Fothergill’s

October 27th, 2017 | News | 0 Comments

Due to increased demand from retailers, Mr Fothergill’s is set to receive delivery of another container of Seasol seaweed concentrate from Australia in the coming months.

David Carey, Mr Fothergill’s Joint Managing Director says

“We are delighted that Seasol has sold in so well to our retail customers in the UK. This exciting addition to the market will give gardeners the opportunity to garden in a more environmentally friendly manner and achieve overall better results in the garden. The big question is – will there be enough seaweed in Australia to keep up with our demand?…”

Seasol seaweed concentrate is an all-natural plant tonic, offering a complete treatment for all areas of the garden, promoting healthy growth of plants, flowers, vegetables and even lawns. It contains useful micro-nutrients and is rich in trace elements. Used regularly, the concentrate has been proven to provide excellent chemical-free plant nourishment.

As well as being watered directly into the soil for uptake at the roots, Seasol can also be applied as a foliar spray for fast absorption of nutrients. Mr Fothergill’s has also seen improved germination and increased initial root growth from seeds soaked in Seasol before sowing.

Seasol can be applied at any time of year on all garden plants and is available for supply to garden centres from January 2018. The 1 litre bottle has a RRP of £7.99 and is available in cases of 9 or as a floor standing display of 64.

Gardening Gift Ideas for a Happy Christmas

October 25th, 2017 | News | 0 Comments

If you are thinking of what to buy for your garden minded friends or relatives, Mr Fothergill’s has got some great options with a wide range of gifts for kids, beginners and addicted gardeners. Widely stocked by garden retailers, you can choose from a number of innovative gardening gifts from windowsill kits to fun ‘grass head’ kits for youngsters.

There are four windowsill kitsHerb 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 chives seeds, plus compost discs, while the Grow Your Own Pesto Kit includes basil seed, compost discs, a ceramic pestle and mortar, and instructions on how to make the much-loved Italian sauce for pasta. It has a recommended retail price of £6.95.

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 are 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 an elephant, dog, pig and duck, are becoming collectables. Children would also enjoy four new Smiley faces and four adorable cats. These gorgeous kits come with a pot, coco pellet, rye grass seeds, instructions and growing tips for easy and instant display in the home. Unlike traditional grassheads kits, these ceramic characters can be used again and again.

For anyone new to gardening, Mr Fothergill’s offers a patented GroBox (RRP £6.99) and GroMat (RRP £4.99) ranges of easy-to-grow, pre-sown gardening products. GroBox is a bio-degradable cardboard box of 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. GroMat is a two-metre, bio-degradable mat pre-sown with a mix of either flower or vegetable seeds, and can be rolled out as it is or cut to fit any size of plot, border or container.

For chilli lovers, there are Chilli Pepper Grow kits available in classic, great tasting, fiery red chillies and juicy medium-hot green chillies perfect for pizzas. Available as complete kit, with a 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 and at

Pumpkins at Kentford Trial Grounds

October 23rd, 2017 | News | 0 Comments

Pumpkins, squashes and gourds

With the arrival of Autumn on the Mr Fothergill’s trials ground closing down and clearing away starts in earnest but for some vegetables now is their time to shine. Cucurbits or pumpkins, squashes and gourds are perhaps best associated with Autumn harvests particularly around the celebration of Halloween. Martina, Mr Fothergill’s assistant trials manager, has gathered in the result of the summer’s growing to create an amazing display that shows just what fascinating and varied fruits these are.

Mr Fothergill’s trials include new lines that are being assessed as well as existing ones. The following current Mr Fothergill’s varieties can be seen amongst Martina’s colourful display;

Large pumpkin; Atlantic Giant – the biggest fruits and our best seller,

Medium pumpkins; Racer F1 and Charmant F1, a more manageable size, ideal for carving and culinary use.

Small pumpkins; Small Sugar and Rouge vif d’Etampes. These mini fruits are high in sugars with dense flesh making them ideal for cooking.

Among the squashes, you’ll see the teardrop-shaped Uchiki Kuri and the green-skinned Honey Bear F1. Both have sweet nutty orange flesh, best roasted with a little olive oil.

For pure decoration there are also the decorative gourdes, they grow in a wide range of shapes and colours. Though they are not edible they are fun, easy to grow and undoubtedly a fascinating addition to the autumn display.

Pumpkins, squashes and gourds