Posts Tagged ‘AGM’

Terrific ‘Toto’ rudbeckias

March 29th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Rudbeckia 'Toto Mixed'

On my first trip to California, long ago, I remember visiting one of the world top flower breeders. They developed new geraniums and petunias and marigolds and all sorts of new summer flowers for containers and borders. And they were working on rudbeckias.

At that time, rudbeckias were more or less yellow and they were tall. Developments were mainly in terms of how reliably double they could be made and whether or not the best doubles produced enough seed to sell.

But on that California visit I found rudbeckias were being created that were only a foot high. Not only that, but they came in mahogany and chestnut shades, as well as yellow and orange, and they also included some striking bicolours. They were called ‘Toto’.

Since then the ‘Toto’ rudbeckias have been refined and improved and they’re still available, as young plants and as seeds, and are still popular. Quite right too. Not only that, but ‘Toto’ has also received the prestigious Award of Garden Merit.

Their dark-eyed single flowers look right up at us, individually they’re very long lasting, collectively the display lasts for months as the buds open in a steady succession – and they’re so easy to deadhead!

Grow them at the edge of large containers, as specimens in smaller ones, in groups at the front of borders. They’re robust and easy to raise from seed.

Just give them sunshine.

New Introductions in Mr Fothergill’s RHS Award of Garden Merit Seed Range

January 25th, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

If you are thinking of what reliable and prolific plants to grow this upcoming spring, Mr Fothergill’s has got some great options to choose from in the RHS endorsed flower and vegetable seed ranges.

Among the top selling varieties are Courgette Defender F1, Runner Bean Firestorm, Lettuce Sioux and Erigeron Profusion.

RHS Onion (Spring) Matrix - A New Introduction in Mr Fothergill’s RHS Award of Garden Merit seed range

New to the range for next season, Mr Fothergill’s has introduced Onion (Spring) Matrix (RRP £2.50 for 350 seeds), a winter hardy variety which is slow to form bulbs and shows good disease resistance.

Sweet Corn Mirai Gold F1 (RRP £3.05 for 35 seeds) produces unbelievably sweet tasting cobs, up to 20cm in length and packed with extra-tender kernels.

Pea Starlight (RRP £2.75 for 300 seeds), is a top-quality variety producing generous, wilt resistant and extremely reliable crops. Pods are uniquely held above the canopy for easy picking and well filled with delicious, medium-sized peas.

Runner Bean Stardust (RRP £3.55 for 50 seeds), is a modern variety bred in the UK and ideally suited to our climate, giving maximum crop yields. The self-fertile white flowers give fantastic results as well as a sweeter tasting pod.RHS Sunflower Teddy Bear - A New Introduction to Mr Fothergill's RHS Garden Award of Merit Seed Range

Sunflower Teddy Bear (RRP £2.35 for 20 seeds) is a compact and bushy, well-branched variety producing lots of double, uniquely soft-to-the-touch blooms.

The RHS Award of Garden Merit is a mark of quality, awarded to garden plants with excellent garden performance. Each award is given only after a trial at an RHS garden and judged by a team of experts.

Visit your local garden centre, head over to mr-fothergills.co.uk to shop or request your copy of the latest Mr Fothergill’s seed catalogue here.

RHS Award of Garden Merit seed range Offers Sowing Success for Home Gardeners

February 13th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Mr Fothergill’s marks its RHS preferred partner status with the launch of a trusted AGM seed range for 2018

Gardeners can make their selections for 2018 from a brand new flower and vegetable seed range, safe in the knowledge that the varieties have been tried, tested and recommended by experts at the Royal Horticultural Society.

The launch of our RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM) seed range follows our appointment as preferred partner for licensed seed products for the RHS, a testament to the quality of Mr Fothergill’s seed. Ian Cross, retail marketing manager at Mr Fothergill’s, said: “We trial all varieties in UK conditions before releasing them into our general seed range, but we have gone even further in the search for trusted garden varieties with our new RHS AGM collection. We have worked closely with the RHS to develop a range that we all agree is the best it could possibly be for home gardeners.”

To carry the prestigious AGM logo, all plants in the range have been grown and tested in RHS Gardens and judged by a forum of industry experts. Plants only receive the award if they are proven to have excellent garden performance and are stable in form and colour. They also have to show reasonable resistance to garden pests and diseases.

Cathy Snow, RHS licensing manager, adds: “The AGM ‘seal of approval’ tells gardeners that the plant performs reliably in the garden and is the ultimate guarantee of quality. Mr Fothergill’s has a well-earned reputation for its passion to supply the very best quality gardening products and we are delighted to be partnering with such a highly respected company. Mr Fothergill’s seeds are the only RHS endorsed seed range available.”

Early sales show that Erigeron Profusion, a hardy perennial and Ammi majus, an easy to grow cut flower are the top choices from the flower seed range, whilst Broad Bean Imperial Green Longpod and Sweet Corn Lark F1 are favourites in the vegetable seed collection.

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Available now from selected garden retailers and on our website, the range comprises 61 top-performing flower varieties and 57 choice vegetables all winners of the RHS AGM award.

Not only will gardeners be guaranteed excellent performance from the new range, they will also be doing their bit for local wildlife and the charitable work of the RHS. The flower varieties in the collection have, wherever possible, been selected from the RHS Perfect for Pollinators list, maintained by RHS entomologists and beekeepers.

View the range at selected garden retailers or visit www.mr-fothergills.co.uk

RHS Award Winner: Lovely Lavatera

January 26th, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Lavatera 'Silver Cup'

Back in 1978 the very first Silver Medal was awarded by Fleuroselect, the across-Europe flower seed awards organisation that trials new varieties in 20+ countries and gives awards to the very best. It went to Lavatera ‘Silver Cup’ (it wasn’t until 1989 that the first Gold Medals were awarded).

But here’s the thing. Forty years after it received its Fleuroselect Silver Medal, ‘Silver Cup’ is still going strong. Not only is it still around, but it received the RHS Award of Garden Merit in 1996 and still retains both that and its Fleuroselect award. And it’s a star of the new RHS range of award-winning flowers from Mr F.

I rated it so highly that I put ‘Silver Cup’ on the front cover of my first book about annuals back in 1986. Here’s what I said then:
“It is a hardy annual to sow in spring or autumn which grows to about 2ft (60cm) making bushy plants branching from low down if thinned to about 15in (38cm).

“The flowers are stunning. Big, soft pink, open bells up to 2in (5cm) across with dark veins, they appear from mid-June to the autumn. Lavateras like sunshine and any soil which is reasonably fertile and well-drained. The only problem is that in hot dry summers they tend to give up flowering rather early in the season leaving a singularly unattractive clump of dead twigs. So soil that retains a little moisture helps. Ruthless thinning at the seedling stage will encourage branching low down to give a succession of flowers.”

And then I wrote: “‘Silver Cup’ is ideal in the favourite pink, blue and silver schemes with tall or short ageratum, silver foliage cinerarias and pyrethrums, and maybe white petunias and Salvia farinacea ‘Victoria’.”

The advice still stands. Even after all these years Lavatera ‘Silver Cup’ is still a star.

  • Please take a look at my article on RHS award-winning dogwoods for winter twigs in this week’s Amateur Gardening magazine – print edition only.

RHS award winners: Essential climbers

January 5th, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Ipomoea 'Heavenly Blue' and Mina lobata

The new collaboration between Mr F and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) features seeds of flowers and veggies that have been awarded the prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM). I discussed these new ranges briefly here last year but I thought, as seed sowing season approaches, I’d take a closer look at some of the floral highlights. And the ipomoeas are especially interesting.

There are two AGM ipomoeas in the Mr F catalogue and, at first sight, they look completely unrelated.

Mina lobata (above right) features in the RHS range and, although long known by that name, it’s now been recognised as so similar to ipomoeas that it needs to be classified as one: so it’s now known, botanically, as Ipomoea lobata.

Fiery orange buds are held along arching stems, maturing to yellow and then cream but even as they pass their peak the new flare and the flowers stay tubular. It makes a great deal of growth, reaches 1-8-2.4m depending on the richness of the soil and the watering, and needs stout support. It flowers for months. Sow in frost free conditions from April.

The closely related Ipomoea ‘Heavenly Blue’ (above left) is also an AGM variety but has been listed for years so is not in the new RHS range. It’s very different, with large flared sky blue flowers that open early in the day and close by afternoon – which is why it’s called morning glory. It reaches the same height as Mina lobata but its growth is less bushy and dense. It’s one of the most beautiful of garden climbers, no garden should be without it.

Just to emphasise how varied the ipomoeas are, Mr F also lists two special varieties of sweet potato grown for their coloured foliage; they’re ideal in sunny containers and trail neatly. These foliage varieties of Ipomoea batatas do not have AGMs – but I suspect this is only because the RHS has not yet held a trial.

I think these varied ipomoeas deserve a try, don’t you? I’ll be growing them all this year.