Posts Tagged ‘rhs’

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.

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.