Posts Tagged ‘rhs’

Our Award winning seed range with the RHS exceeds sales expectations

June 22nd, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Now stocked in over 1,000 retail outlets and approaching its second season, the Award of Garden Merit range from Mr Fothergill’s and the RHS is set to continue its success into the 2019 season. We can report that 2018 sales into garden centres have reached 137% of target for the vegetable collection, whilst the flower range is at 125%.

From the 61 flowers and 55 vegetables available in the range, Erigeron Profusion and Courgette Defender F1 top sales of individual varieties since the launch, whilst four new specially selected AGM varieties have been added for the 2019 season:

Onion (Spring) Matrix (RRP £2.50 for 350 seeds) is a winter hardy variety, slow to form bulbs and shows good disease resistance to ensure stems remain in top condition for longer.

Sweet Corn Mirai Gold F1 (RRP £3.05 for 35 seeds), a naturally bred variety with unbelievably sweet tasting cobs. Each is 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.

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

Mr-Fothergills-RHS-sunflower-teddy-bear-seeds      Mr-Fothergills-RHS-Pea-starlight-seeds

Ian Cross, our Retail Marketing Manager commented “We are proud to be the RHS’s preferred seed partner and are delighted with how the range continues to be received by our trade customers and their customers alike. We have picked only the very best varieties to include in the collections so that every gardener, from the amateur to the enthusiast, can be assured of getting the results they want.”

Each variety in the RHS AGM range has received the prestigious Award of Garden Merit – a mark of quality awarded to garden plants with excellent garden performance.

What’s selling at Chelsea?

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

Borage - much in demand at the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show

On the last day of the Chelsea Flower Show, let’s look back through the eyes of David Turner, Mr F’s Product Manager, who’s been on the stand at the show all week: talking to visitors, finding out what they’re interested in and selling seeds. Yesterday afternoon I asked him what visitors have been looking for.

Borage has been asked for a lot,” he told me, “it features on a number of the show gardens and that reminds people what a good plant it is – both useful and attractive. But, apart from coriander, there’s been less demand for herbs than usual.

“Any individual varieties with yellow flowers have sold well as they also feature on a number of show gardens – if only we sold yellow lupins! And we’ve sold out of the simple scarlet field poppy, with the centenary of the armistice coming up poppies are on people’s minds.

Peas and beans always sell well, and that has continued this year in spite of the fact that there’s hardly a pea or bean plant to be seen at the show.

“Our new Optigrow range of primed vegetable seeds has done very well after it won the Chelsea Garden Product of The Year award. Parsnip and parsley, seeds that especially benefit from the treatment, are doing especially well.

“And we’ve recently partnered with the RHS in introducing a range of Award of Garden Merit flower seeds and Award of Garden Merit vegetable seeds and this has also proved popular.”

It’s interesting, isn’t it, that visitors’ enthusiasms are sparked both by what they’ve seen at the Show and what they already have in mind. And after the Show, it’s all available on the Mr F website at mr-fothergills.co.uk.

Chelsea Flower Show marks The Wedding

May 20th, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

"A Royal Celebration" by Hillier Nurseries greets vistors as they enter the Great Pavilion.

I’ve been here at the Chelsea Flower Show, on Saturday!, taking an early look, and yesterday’s Royal Wedding has made an impact here. Well, after all, the Show is run by the Royal Horticultural Society so it’s to be expected that the exhibitors, and especially the Royal Warrant holders, will be making the most of the occasion.

And, to be honest, most of the exhibitors who are making connections with the wedding are doing so in a legitimate way. Perhaps the most impressive evocation of the Wedding is the special display entitled Royal Celebration staged by Royal Warrant holder Hillier Nurseries. They’re the most successful Chelsea exhibitor or all time and have won seventy two (72!) consecutive Gold Medals at the Show. Their Royal Celebration greets visitors as they enter the Grand Pavilion.

Two pairs of corten-steel staircases with their dark coppery colouring provide an unexpectedly complimentary background for the display focused on flowers and foliage plants with royal connections.

Foxgloves, both the traditional white that featured in the flowers in St George’s Chapel for the wedding, and modern types (above), are set against a background of other flowers in bridal white: pinks, viburnums, roses and the lovely ‘Bridal Bouquet’ agapanthus (below). If only those staircases and their display was larger!

In a complimentary display, as visitors enter the London Gate from the direction of Sloane Square station, Kitten Grayson Flowers have staged another welcome. An English oak on one side and a Californian cedar on the other symbolically link together overhead and the plantings below again feature the white foxgloves from St George’s Chapel.

There are more Chelsea Flower Show Royal Wedding connections and tomorrow I’ll take a look at some of the other flowers from the Chapel and those in the wedding bouquet and how they’re featured at the Show.

* The Chelsea Flower Show on TV: BBC1, 6pm tonight, with Sophie Raworth and Joe Swift.

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.