Posts Tagged ‘rhs’

Mr Fothergills and the RHS

October 18th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Heirlooms from the new RHS collections: Nemesia 'St George' and Beetroot 'Cylindra'

Mr F is continuing to enrich its relationship with the Royal Horticultural Society. Not only do Mr F have an RHS committee member, former Chelsea Flower Show judge and author of RHS books writing this blog every week(!), but a few years ago Mr F launched two new ranges of varieties that have been awarded the prestigious Award of Garden Merit.

Now, in another step in this developing partnership, Mr F are launching sixteen new RHS seed collections.

Eight vegetable seed collections and eight flower seed collections each consist of six varieties approved by the experts at the RHS. They include Award of Garden Merit varieties and also varieties specially selected to thrive for gardeners with less experience. They include varieties, such as the excellent Cosmos ‘Dazzler’ in the Flowers for Cutting collections and ‘Minibel’ bush tomato in the Vegetables for Containers collection, that have not been available from Mr F up to now.

The Flowers for Drought Resistance and the Flowers For Hanging Baskets collections are especially welcome along with Vegetable Superfoods and Vegetables for Heirloom Crops.

The other thing to keep in mind is that these collections retail at only £4.99, for six packets of seed – the bargain price of 83p per packet, way below the regular Mr F price. And, of course, these RHS collections contain the same high quality, germination tested seed as all the other Mr F packets.

These new collections are great shortcuts to choosing the right varieties and, dare I say it, also make ideal gifts for upcoming the holiday season.

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.

Plants for Pollinators: Native plants or garden flowers?

November 23rd, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Plants For Pollinators available from Mr F

It’s easy to think that to attract native pollinators to our gardens we need to plant native plants. But it turns out that this is not necessarily true, which is just as well because garden plants tend to be more colourful then natives.

The Royal Horticultural Society conducted some very diligent research, counting insect visitors to native and non-native plants in carefully controlled experimental plots.

These are their conclusions, and I’m going to quote their advice in full because it makes it very clear that to attract encourage pollinators we do not need to plant only native plant species.

The RHS says:

• In your garden the best strategy for gardeners wanting to support pollinating insects in gardens is to plant a mix of flowering plants from different parts of the world.

• As part of this mix aim to have more plants that are native to the UK and the northern hemisphere than the southern hemisphere. Exotic plants can be used to extend the season (especially late summer flowering) and provide nectar and pollen for some specific pollinators. Many gardeners in the UK already adopt this approach since native and northern hemisphere plants are usually very reliable in a UK climate and a smattering of more exotic plants helps provide flowers up to the first frosts and often introduces unusual flowers colours and shapes.

• Regardless of plant origin (native or non-native), the more flowers your garden can offer throughout the year, the greater the number of bees, hoverflies and other pollinating insects it will attract and support.

Mr Fothergill’s highlights over two hundred plants as being attractive to pollinators and other insects. Start with these.

‘Teddy Bear’ is back in favour

November 2nd, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Sunflower 'Teddy Bear'

The new ‘Sun King’ sunflower was one of the hits of this summer in my garden. Its densely double, rich yellow flowers stood out for months, both in the garden and when cut.

But it’s tall, mine all reached at least 2m in height which in many of today’s gardens is rather awkward. They also needed stout support and while the flowers repay close inspection, you wouldn’t really want to grow them on a patio or a balcony. But there’s a shorter version.

I’ve been uncomplimentary about ‘Teddy Bear’ in the past, it’s a variety that’s been around for a while but a few years ago I found that my plants were not all double and were also all different heights, 60cm or 1.2m is a big difference. So I stopped growing it.

But in the 2017 Mr F trials I noticed that it was back to its original quality. It’s also recently received an AGM for use in containers and the RHS assessors commented: “striking double, large heads, rich yellow-orange, floriferous, performing well over a long period.” Fair enough.

My point is now that its quality is back and that the RHS has awarded ‘Teddy Bear’ the much coveted Award of Garden Merit, it’s been added to the Mr Fothergill’s AGM seed range for the coming season. So it’s available on the special Mr F AGM garden centre seed rack, on the Mr F website and in the Mr F seed catalogue.

Next year I’m going to grow ‘Sun King’ and the back of the border and ‘Teddy Bear’ in front where it will hide the bare stems of its taller cousin. I’m already looking forward to it.