Exclusive new sweet pea for Mr F

September 20th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Sweet Pea 'Mayflower 400' and 'Our Harry'

Mr Fothergill’s have a fine reputation for sweet peas, with an astonishing seventy four varieties in the mail order catalogue and every one graded for the strength of its fragrance.

Every year Mr F checks in with sweet pea breeders around the world, trials possible new introductions and selects the very best new varieties to add to the range. This autumn sees the introduction of two new sweet peas, including another – an exclusive from New Zealand’s Keith Hammett, the world’s most innovative sweet pea breeder.

His latest new variety is ‘Mayflower 400’. This is a prolific variety with prettily ruffled cream flowers overlaid in pale pastel pink – “pink flake” is the classification. It is, of course, well scented.

‘Mayflower 400’ is launched to mark the 400th anniversary of the departure of the Mayflower from Plymouth carrying the first English puritans, now known as the pilgrims, for the new world in 1620.

“We are delighted to have a great relationship with breeder Keith Hammett and to obtain this wonderful new sweet pea ‘Mayflower 400’ so that gardeners can celebrate in the anniversary year,” said David Turner of Mr F.

But it’s not only new sweet peas from the other side of the world that have caught the eye. ‘Our Harry’ has been around for a while and over the years it’s been increasingly recognised as one of the best blues around. The gently waved standards, the upper petals, are rich lavender blue, slightly paler at the edges, while the lower petals, the wings, are slightly darker and folded down strongly. The stems are long and strong and especially good for cutting and the scent is good.

Next month is the prime time for sowing sweet peas, so get your order in soon for ‘Mayflower 400’ and ‘Our Harry’, not to mention your pick of the other seventy two varieties in the Mr F range.

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Is one of our best known gardening writers. A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Graham was previously Gardening Correspondent of The Observer.
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