Posts Tagged ‘mr fothergills’

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

Mr Fothergill’s display of Zinnias leaves Brian California dreaming

September 2nd, 2013 | News, The flower garden | 0 Comments

“The best show of zinnias I have seen anywhere at any time outside of California!” is how Mr Fothergill’s trials manager Brian Talman describes the display of these half-hardy annuals on the company’s Kentford, Suffolk, trial grounds during the summer of 2013.  Brian has been a professional grower for 50 years, so his view is always highly regarded by his colleagues.

Zinnia from Mr Fothergills“The weather this summer has been a key to their success”, says Brian.  “They really love the heat, although as they are grown close to a belt of trees they do not get full sun all day long.  And it’s important to remember they dislike root disturbance, so we sow seed in cells and transplant very carefully”.   He has also found zinnias do well when seed is sown directly in the flowering position.  They have out-performed all other annual genera in 2013 by standing the early wet spell and long hot summer better than most.

Brian and his team have noticed zinnias attract a large number of beneficial insects and a good range of butterflies.  They are also superb for cutting, as the strong-stemmed heads will last for several days in water.  The display on Mr Fothergill’s trial ground was still in full flower at the end of August with the promise of it lasting until at least the end of September.

Among Mr Fothergill’s introductions for 2014 is Zinnia Zahara Sunburst, a compact growing bicolour which becomes smothered in blooms all summer long.  A packet of 25 seeds costs £3.99.