Posts Tagged ‘mayflower’

Mr Fothergill’s Names its New Sweet Pea Mayflower 400

January 27th, 2020 | News | 0 Comments

Leading sweet pea seed supplier Mr Fothergill’s has introduced a new and exclusive ‘Spencer’ variety for the forthcoming season as part of the 400th-anniversary commemoration of the sailing of the Mayflower to the new world in 1620. Sweet Pea Mayflower 400 (RRP £2.40 for 20 seeds) is a ‘Spencer’ type, bred by world-renowned hybridiser Keith Hammett, and produces frilly flowers in a pastel pink flake on a cream background. It is vigorous and free-flowering, with a medium scent.

The Mayflower transported the first English Puritans, known today as the Pilgrims, from Plymouth to the ‘New World’ of America in 1620. All 102 passengers, from England and Holland, established a Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts.

Their story is one of suffering and survival in a harsh environment. The Voyage is one of the most famous in early American history.

Mr Fothergill’s Commercial Director, Tim Jeffries said, “We are delighted to be able to introduce this wonderful Sweet Pea from renowned breeder, Keith Hammett. By naming it as ‘Mayflower 400’ we and the gardening public can play a part in celebrations planned for 2020.”

Chief Executive of Mayflower 400, Charles Hackett commented on the new sweet pea, “I am delighted that the commemoration of the Mayflower’s voyage will be marked by having its own sweet pea named ‘Mayflower 400’. The breadth of events and activities marking this historic voyage is incredible and to have our own sweet pea flowering in the commemoration year will add another unique aspect to the year of the Mayflower 400.”

Sweet pea is available from Mr Fothergill’s retail stockists throughout the UK and from the company’s latest Seed Catalogue or online. Visit your local garden centre for the full range or head over to

Sweet peas can take the cold

January 3rd, 2020 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Sweet peas 'Blue Shift', 'Spanish Dancer', 'Erewhon' and 'Gwendoline'

I’m always bashing on here about how important it is to sow sweet pea seeds in the autumn, to grow the strongest plants that will flower for the longest possible time. But you know what? It doesn’t always happen. Life gets in the way.

But if you have any sort of protection – a cold frame, some plastic cloches, even a low fleece tunnel you used to keep carrot fly off the carrots – anything that provides a little protection will help January sown sweet pea seeds germinate a little more quickly and grow a little more strongly.

And here’s something to think about. In 1909, at Cornell University in New York state, they sowed a sweet pea trial. They sowed the seed in succession in October and November, and some of it germinated before winter set in while some germinated in the following April.

But here’s the thing. New York state is cold in the winter, far far colder than here. We’re talking about temperatures getting down to -23C to -29C. And whether the seeds germinated before the winter or later, they flowered the following summer. This proves they can take the cold.

I’d suggest sowing in 12cm pots, six seeds in each, and standing them under the cloches or fleece. To be honest, slugs and mice will be more of a danger than cold so be sure to take precautions.

Varieties? Well, the new and exclusive varieties like ‘Mayflower 400’ and ‘Our Harry’ might well sell out so they should be high on the list to order and sow now. There’s also one you should never be without, ‘Gwendoline’ (bottom left), for its beautiful colouring and powerful fragrance.

I’d also remind you about three varieties in unusual colourings that I recommend. ‘Blue Shift’ (top left) changes colour from reddish mauve to true blue, ‘Spanish Dancer’ in cream (almost yellow) and rich and rosy reddish pink and finally ‘Erewhon’, a reverse bicolour with purplish blue lower petals and pink upper petals.

All are well scented and won’t disappoint. Just be sure to keep the slugs and snails off.