Posts Tagged ‘annuals’

Best seed raised flowers of 2016

December 30th, 2016 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Over this last summer I visited the extensive trials at Mr. F a number of times, took a look at various other trials around the country and grew quite a few seed-raised flowers myself. Every year I’m reminded of what great value seed-raised annuals are – summer seasonals as they’re increasingly being called – and this year was no exception.

Three stood out – well, actually, about a dozen stood out but there’s only room for three. (Click the pictures to enlarge.)

Calendula 'Snow Princess'Calendula ‘Snow Princess’ First, new this year, a calendula that while perhaps not quite as white as it’s said to be, is certainly the only calendula approaching white. I wrote about it previously here back in November. It’s a lovely thing, creamier towards the centre and white at the tips of the petals. It bushes out well without pinching, flowers early and continually and when I cut it for the house I found that it lasted well. Its colour is soft and appealing, with none of the garish orange of many calendulas.

It started to develop a little mildew late in the season – by which I mean October! – but it seemed to keep flowering happily anyway.

Order seed of Calendula ‘Snow Princess’.

Aster 'Duchess Blue Ice', Phlox 'Moody Blues'Phlox ‘Moody Blues’ I was struck by a number of blue, and blue-and-white, annuals this year although unfortunately not all of them are available. Phlox ‘Moody Blues’, in a harmonious range of blue tones with some blue-and-white mixed in, is lovely and easy to grow from a direct sowing outside.

I arranged it with the pretty bicoloured aster ‘Duchess Blue Ice’, Ageratum ‘Blue Mink’ and some pink flowers from the Achillea ‘Summer Berries’ mixture.

Order seed of Phlox ‘Moody Blues’.

Zinnia 'Zinderella Peach'Zinnia ‘Zinderella Peach’ Finally, as The Year of The Zinnia approaches, I’d pick out Zinnia ‘Zinderella Peach’. Mr F grew about one hundred and fifty zinnias this last year, looking for the very best to add to the range for next year but I reckon that the best is already in the catalogue. In fact I wrote about it in November 2014.

Each anemone centred flower of Zinnia ‘Zinderella Peach’ is a lovely combination of peach and apricot tones and, unlike many of the varieties that were tested, there were no irritating off types. Everyone I showed it to loved it. I’m going to order two or three packets next year.

Order seed of Zinnia ‘Zinderella Peach’.

Still Discovering Annuals

December 23rd, 2016 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Iberis umbellata (candytuft) 'Pink Flash' and Viscaria 'Rose Angel'

Back in the year 2000, I was on the front cover of the Mr F catalogue. My book, Discovering Annuals, had just come out and planting ideas that I’d developed in my garden and which were featured in the book were included in the catalogue. You could even ask for free planting plans and the cover showed one of my annual plantings.

Mr Fothergill's catalogue for 2000The idea of the book was to show how colourful and interesting planting schemes using hardy and half-hardy annuals can be, like bringing together the two easy annuals above, Iberis umbellata (candytuft) ‘Pink Flash’ and Viscaria ‘Rose Angel’. I also wanted to steer gardeners away from the pitfalls of unpredictable mixtures and to focus on choice varieties in individual colours.

Well, in some ways I think I succeeded and in others, not so much. These days, everyone certainly focuses more on individual colours and on grouping different plants together to create a harmonious display. This is especially true when we plant tubs and baskets. But varieties of seed raised annuals in individual colours are being supplanted by patio and container plants raised from cuttings, such as the Surfinia petunia and Temari verbena in similar harmonising colours to the annuals, below.

One reason for this is that there is more profit for the grower in cuttings-raised plants that can be patented than there is in seed of annuals. Mr F, of course, brings you the carefully chosen best of both. And there are still some superb seed-raised annuals being released and next week I’ll be picking my top three seed raised annuals – new and old – from the last year.

Discovering Annuals is still available in hardback from amazon.co.uk
Discovering Annuals is also still available in paperback from amazon.co.uk

And click here to request your free 2017 Mr Fothergill catalogue

Surfinia petunia and Temari verbena

An annual not to be denied – that’s Sweet Pea Sir Henry Cecil

February 18th, 2016 | News, The flower garden | 0 Comments

Sweet Peas in skip

Mr Fothergill’s prides itself on the quality of its flower seeds and offers a particularly large range of sweet peas to UK gardeners. It introduces new varieties of the much-loved annual every year, among which is the sweetly scented chocolate ‘flake’ variety Sir Henry Cecil.

An eagle-eyed member of staff recently noticed that amongst a few out-of-date and slightly damaged-by-damp packets of ‘Sir Henry’ which had been discarded, one had produced a fine crop of seedlings. “We worked out that the seeds in the packet were five years old, but it looks as though every one has grown and looks really healthy. Two of us could not bare the thought of the plants being discarded, so we have taken them home to grow in our gardens and, hopefully, produce a wonderful display”, said the firm’s Rachel Cole.

Sweet Pea Sir Henry Cecil, launched in 2013, was named in honour of the famous racehorse trainer who was based at Newmarket, very close to Mr Fothergill’s trial ground and headquarters. It is available from retail suppliers of Mr Fothergill’s and from the company’s catalogue.

To request a copy of Mr Fothergill’s Seed Catalogue 2016, go online at www.mr-fothergills.co.uk, telephone 0845 371 0518 or write to Mr Fothergill’s, Gazeley Road, Kentford, Suffolk CB8 7QB

Free Sunflower seeds with every seed order at Mr Fothergill’s

March 2nd, 2015 | News, The flower garden | 0 Comments

Free Sunflower Pacino ColaAnyone who places a seed order from the spring edition of Mr Fothergill’s mail order catalogue, published on 28 February 2015, may claim a free packet of sunflower seed in celebration of what has been declared the Europe-wide Year of the Sunflower.  The variety Pacino Cola (20 seeds per packet) is compact at just 50cm (20in) high, but produces plenty of medium to large blooms on well-branched plants all through the summer.

The Year of the Sunflower was the idea of Fleuroselect, the organisation which assesses new flower varieties from around the world to determine their suitability for European conditions.  Mr Fothergill’s Tracy Collacott is the sole UK seed company representative on the Fleuroselect Home Gardening committee.  “We hope as many people as possible will grow sunflowers in 2015, and to set the ball rolling we are delighted to send all our spring customers a free packet of this beautiful variety, which is particularly easy to grow and tailor-made for first-time gardeners”, says Tracy

Sunflower Pacino Cola has golden petals and contrastingly dark centres.  The neat, compact plants are ideal in beds, at the front of borders or in large terracotta pots, where they are sure to attract attention.  During the summer the large heads attract a wide range of beneficial and pollinating insects, while in autumn wild birds can feed on the seed heads.

You can order Pacino Cola or any other sunflower seeds from our extensive range from Mr Fothergill’s on the website, or by mail order from our catalogue.

Sunny Babe and Buttercream lead the way for Mr Fothergill’s Sunflower Year

February 17th, 2015 | News, The flower garden | 0 Comments

Year of the Sunflower seed stand

Mr Fothergill’s is putting its weight behind a Europe-wide celebration of the once-humble, but now trendy sunflower by introducing nine new varieties, including brand new  Sunny Babe and Buttercream F1, to its range of these bright, bold annuals for 2015.

The initiative comes from the home gardening division of Fleuroselect, the organisation which assesses new flower varieties from around the world to determine their suitability for European conditions.  Mr Fothergill’s Tracy Collacott is the sole UK seed company representative on the Fleuroselect Home Gardening committee.  2015 has been declared the Year of the Sunflower by the organisation, which hopes to see them grown in gardens everywhere.  Easy to grow, great favourites with children and now available in so many different colours and plant forms, sunflowers are really versatile subjects for modern gardens.

Sunny Babe is a multi-stemmed variety, producing an abundance of golden orange 3-4in wide single heads on plants which grow up to 5ft.  Buttercream F1 has soft, butter-yellow heads which are pollen-free.  Again multi-stemmed and reaching around 5ft, its blooms are slightly larger at around 6in across.  Both varieties are great for garden display and for cutting.

Other F1 hybrid sunflowers being introduced by Mr Fothergill’s include Infrared in a range of rich bicolour shades, Summer Breeze with unusually green centres and Copper Queen, a superior ‘take’ on the traditional sunflower and pollen-free.

You can order Sunny Babe and Buttercream F1, or any other sunflower seeds from our extensive range from Mr Fothergill’s on the website, or by mail order from our catalogue.