Graham Rice

April 26th, 2018 | News | 2 Comments

Graham Rice is an award-winning writer on plants and gardens.

 

A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, he gardens in Northamptonshire where he looks after his cottage garden, his trial garden and an allotment. Graham has won seven awards for his writing, and is the former Gardening Correspondent for The Observer and The London Evening Standard, and now writes for Gardeners’ World magazine, Amateur Gardening and The Garden, the Royal Horticultural Society website, the Daily Telegraph and more. He has published more than twenty books including the Royal Horticultural Society’s Encyclopedia of Perennials, the most comprehensive book of its kind ever published. His most recent books are Planting The Dry Shade Garden and Powerhouse Plants.

Graham judged at the Chelsea and Hampton Court Palace Flower Shows for many years and continues to judge Royal Horticultural Society trials of annuals and perennials.

Also, his voice can be heard every week on his folk music radio show, The Wagonload of Monkeys.

 

 

Mr Fothergill’s Easy Grow Guides: How To Grow Carrots

April 24th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

 

 

Carrots are one of those vegetables that you can grow at home in your garden really easily and taste *better* than what you can buy in the shops.  A freshly pulled carrot from the plot tastes better than even the best quality organic carrot in a little boutique farm shop.  This is because the sugars in a freshly pulled root haven’t had time to turn to starch, and so the very best tasting carrot is eaten straight from plot to pot to plate.

You can sow carrots from early spring until mid-summer.  Try out different varieties to give you an array of colours from the regular orange through to the deepest of purples and reds, or to the other end of the colour spectrum with pale yellow and cream roots.

You can sow carrot seeds regularly – try every three week intervals – to ensure you have a continuous supply for the kitchen.  Towards the end of the sowing season, sow varieties that stand well in the soil as it turns colder during winter and you can maybe manage to supply yourself with carrots all year round.  No more tasteless supermarket carrots!

Our best selling carrots are reliable for beginner growers and seasoned gardeners alike, so think about trying from the following selection if you are growing for the first time, or if you want to try something new then explore the many carrot varieties on offer in our website 

  • Autumn King 2: A reliable maincrop that has a long season and a Best Buy variety recommended by gardening press and consumer groups.
  • Carrot Nantes 5: A delicious early variety good as ‘finger’ carrots. The blunt-ended roots have an outstanding flavour.
  • Royal Chantenay 3: Distinctly sweet tasting and succulent, short conical roots that can be used whole as ‘baby’ carrot or left to mature.
  • Parmex: A super early, round carrot, suitable for raising under glass, in the flower garden or on patios. Ideal for shallow soils.
  • Resistafly: A British-bred variety with improved resistance to carrot fly.  The roots have superb colour, a small core and a sweet taste.
  • Harlequin F1: Highly attractive Nantes variety with an unusual mix of colours, from purple and orange to yellow and white.
Mr-Fothergills-Carrot-Resistafly-F1-Seeds

Carrot Resistafly F1 Seeds

Mr-Fothergills-Carrot-Autumn-King-2-Seeds

Carrot Autumn King 2 Seeds

Mr-Fothergill-Carrot-Harlequin-F1-Seeds

Carrot Harlequin F1 Seeds

Mr-Fothergills-Carrot-Royal-Chantenay-3-Seeds

Carrot Royal Chantenay 3 Seedsw to

Pastel poppies

April 20th, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Poppy 'Falling in Love'

There are two main kinds of annual poppies. There are those derived from our native field or corn poppy, Papaver rhoeas, and those derived from the Asian opium poppy, P. somniferum. This week I’m taking a look at field poppies, next week opium poppies.

Papaver rhoeas is the scarlet annual poppy of our cornfields, although these days we only see it when the plough goes a little deeper and long buried dormant seeds come to the surface.

The first named variety was introduced after the Reverend Wilkes of Shirley in Surrey noticed a wild form with a white edge to the petals. From this plant he developed single- and double-flowered varieties in softer colours and without the black blotch at the base. These are still available as ‘Shirley Single Mixed’.

By the 1960s bright reds had crept back in so the Suffolk painter Cedric Morris developed a strain made up of soft misty and smoky shades, picotees and flowers with delicate veining. From these were developed ‘Dawn Chorus’ and ‘Falling in Love’, blends of doubles in softer shades.

There’s also the original wild corn poppy, ideal for annual meadows, and ‘American Legion’, with a white blotch on each petal.

Sow them all now, either by scattering the seed through your borders (some packets contain 2000 seeds, so you’ll have plenty!) or by sowing in patches or rows. You can also sow in the autumn, the flowers will start to open earlier than those of spring sown plants.

You can even cut them for a vase: dip the cut stems in boiling water for 20 seconds then arrange them in tepid water. They’ll last for ages.

How to plan a low maintenance garden?

April 18th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

For many of us, a low maintenance garden is a must. But don’t worry, low maintenance doesn’t have to mean bland or a garden completely paved over! Growing a gorgeous garden, which is easy to look after, simply requires a little bit of forward planning.

 

Mr Fothergills gardening advice on how to create a Low Maintenance gardenSimplify your Lawn

Small, awkward shapes of lawn take longer to mown. Simplify things by straightening or smoothing edges. Lawns with hard edges are easier to mow with a wheel mower and leave clippings on the grass. No need to dispose of them and they’ll feed the lawn too.

Even better, is to replace out of the way areas of lawn with beautiful wild flower meadows, which only need trimming occasionally. Opt for a native wild flower mix suitable to your local conditions.

 

Plan an Efficient Garden Layout

Keep the shapes of borders and beds straight or gently curved. Raised beds clearly delineate vegetable and herb drain areas and can help to bring the growing area closer to the gardener so they’re easier to tend. Bring elements of the garden that require more maintenance closer to where you’ll access them, or closer to your tool shed, so you don’t have to carry your equipment to far.

You can also replace narrow winding paths, with wider and straighter paths.

Remember that thirsty plants need regular watering, so grow for example salad leaves closer to a water outlet. If you have little time to water, consider installing an automatic irrigation system. Pots can require a lot of maintenance, so consider grouping containers together, or using fewer larger pots slows the rate to which they dry out while making watering much quicker.

 

Low-Maintenance Crops

If you are looking to save time, then grow bigger vegetables that don’t need regular maintenance. For example, pumpkin and winter squash need little more than occasional watering once they are planted; while a block of corn will outgrow any weeds and can normally be left to its own device until its harvest time.Growing-pumpkins-in-your-easy-maintenance-garden

For easy growing leaves; try chard and perpetual spinach, which will give a steady supply of leaves with little fuss. If picked regularly continuing for anything up to a year.

Soft fruits like currants or autumn fruiting raspberries are a great choice for a low maintenance garden; because once they are, they’ll only need pruning once a year.

Similarly, free standing fruit trees such as apples and pears, need minimal pruning and will give years of service in return.

 

Easy-care Garden Plants

Trees and shrubs tend to be lower maintenance choices in most gardens. Pick one suited to your soil and climate as they are more likely to thrive without any special care. Common easy care shrubs include Euonymus, berberis, magnolia, and hardy herbs such as lavender. Many grasses require cutting back just once a year, for example miscanthus; while ground covering perennials like begonia or geranium will leave little room for weeds.

Don’t forget bulbs too. Many of which will naturalise and pretty much look after themselves.

Keep on top of weeds with thick mulches of organic materials such as bark chippings, which will help to feed the soil and the plants growing in it as they gradually rot down.

 

 

These are just a few tips and ideas to help you create an easy maintenance garden. If you have any additonal tips on how to make life easy in the garden, comment below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page and tell us what you would recomend.

 

Boosting Gardens with Natural Seaweed Goodness

April 16th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Seasol Seaweed Concentrate is an all-natural plant tonic for the healthy growth of plants, flowers, vegetables and even lawns. It is derived from a blend of the finest, sustainably harvested kelps from the oceans around Ireland, Norway, Canada and Tasmania.

Seasol contains useful micro-nutrients, is rich in trace elements and has been proven to provide excellent chemical-free plant nourishment.

Mr Fothergill's Seasol Seaweed concentrate plant tonicField observations our trial grounds, support laboratory findings and other growing trials that highlight Seasol’s ability to also improve resistance to insect and fungal attack while reducing the symptoms of stress from excessive heat, frost damage and transplanting.

As well as being applied directly to soils for uptake at the roots, Seasol can also be applied as a foliar spray for fast absorption of nutrients. Spent spring bulbs may also benefit from a feed of Seasol, to encourage strong flower growth the following year.

Seasol can be applied at any time of year on all garden plants and is available now in selected garden retailers and online at www.mr-fothergills.co.uk, with a RRP of £7.99.

 

Here are ten reasons to try Seasol:Mr Fothergill's Seasol Seaweed concentrate plant tonic

  • Increased number of flowers per plant
  • Increased yield on fruit and vegetable plants
  • Stimulation of root system for improved mass
  • Extended cropping and flowering times
  • Increased nutrient uptake
  • Increased resistance to insect attack
  • Increased resistance to fungal problems
  • Increased tolerance to hot and cold extremes
  • Reduced transplant shock
  • Increased drought tolerance