Posts Tagged ‘summer garden’

Mr Fothergill’s Seeds Celebrates 40 Years of Success with Ruby Garden at Capel Manor

September 5th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

In the last 40 years Mr Fothergill’s has proved to be a king of innovation, being the first seed company putting seed fill on the packets, adding modern QR codes that link to valuable growing guides and launching Optigrow – ‘the most exciting development for home gardeners since the introduction of F1 hybrids’.


But more than this, we believe gardening is all about fun, enjoying nature and growing your own from seed. We share enthusiasm, expertise and passion with all hobby gardeners. Helping new growers and experienced ones is our priority, as well as being known for our big choice of both traditional and unusual seed varieties, wildflowers and exciting heirloom seeds.

To celebrate this success, we supplied the students at Capel Manor College with seeds and plants in shades of red with the aim of transforming the Mr Fothergill’s garden into a ruby themed dream – creating a stunning summer flower display for our 40th anniversary whilst helping them with their studies. Capel Manor College educates new generations of horticulturists, offering a range of courses for those who are interested in plants, trees and the environment.


Some of the highlights from this display include Amaranthus Velvet Curtains, winner of an RHS Award of Garden Merit for reliability and good performance. A half hardy annual border plant with unusual rich, dark crimson foliage and flower heads that turn to seed and retain their colour for a long season of interest. Also a great cut flower, fresh or dried.

Begonia Starshine Red F1 is an exceptional begonia with an enormous amount of flower power – they really do keep on flowering come rain or shine, for months on end. This half hardy perennial is tough and resilient, perfect for creating cascades of colour in hanging baskets and containers.

Stunning Gailardia Firewheels flowers for most of the summer with single burgundy blooms based on long stems. A magnet for butterflies and other pollinators, making an outstanding addition to borders and wildlife areas with its long-lasting blooms.

Sweet Pea Scarlet Tunic was named in honour of the famous Chelsea Pensioners red coats and is a delightful blend of red shaded blooms. Mr Fothergill’s raised over £70000 for Royal Hospital Chelsea from the sales of Poppy Victoria Cross and Sweet Pea Scarlet Tunic.


Pim Dickson, Horticultural & Technical Content Manager comments: ‘The Ruby Garden was created as a part of our Ruby Anniversary celebration. It’s a beautiful showcase for some of our most popular, as well as more unusual red flowered varieties, all of which produce a mass of flowers all summer long. Every year we design new spring and summer gardens and supply the seeds so horticultural students from Capel Manor College can grow the plants, plant them out and maintain the gardens as part of their studies.’

A dedicated leaflet can be found in The Ruby Garden greenhouse and at the Capel Manor Gardens entrance, which includes a map and details of all the flowers, along with a few words about Mr Fothergill’s anniversary.

To find out more about these seeds and the rest of the Mr Fothergill’s range, log on at


Care and Cultivation of Raspberries

March 2nd, 2015 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

When you receive your new raspberries,  unpack and check them immediately to ensure they are what you ordered and in the condition you’d expect.

What to do First

raspberry plants and canes from Mr Fothergill'sBare-root canes – After unpacking, inspect the roots and, if dry, stand the plants in a bucket of water for up to an hour (not longer) to moisten the root system thoroughly.

Plant as soon as possible but, if ground is not ready or too wet, temporarily ‘heel’ the plants into a shallow trench on a spare patch of ground, covering the roots with moist soil.

Alternatively, if there’s no ground available in a workable condition, wrap the roots in damp hessian or newspaper to protect them from drying and stand the plants in a cool shed or garage until conditions improve.

Potted canes – Water them if they look dry and plant as soon as possible. If ground is not ready or soil conditions are unsuitable, stand them temporarily in a sheltered place outdoors. Check them regularly to ensure they don’t dry out.


Soil Preparation and Planting

Raspberries will remain in the same patch of soil for a number of years and need good soil preparation as well as a strong support system. A slightly acid soil suits them best and on heavy soil they will do better if planted on a raised bed or ridge.

unusual raspberry plantsChoose a sheltered, sunny area of the garden away from cold drying winds. Although raspberries tolerate part shade, they fruit best in sun.

Plant in rows 1.8m (6ft) apart, each running north to south to catch maximum sunlight and supported on a system of posts and wires about 1.8m (6ft) in height. Strain wires horizontally between the posts at 60cm (2ft) intervals, starting with the first wire at about 45cm (18in) from the ground and rising to the last wire at about 1.7m (5½ft) high.

Raspberries require a well-drained, rich, moisture-retentive soil to thrive, so dig out a trench where the row is to be and incorporate plenty of well-rotted organic matter like farmyard manure into the soil at the bottom.

Be sure to remove all perennial weeds as you dig and, just before planting, rake in a dressing of a balanced fertiliser such as growmore or blood, fish and bone to give the plants a boost this season.

Plant bare-root canes with the roots well spread out in each planting hole, setting the plants out 40cm (16in) apart. The uppermost roots should be no more than 5cm (2in) below the soil, since deeper planting will discourage plants from producing new canes this season. Set potted canes so that the tops of the rootballs will be about 2.5cm (1in) below the soil surface. After planting, tread the soil around the roots to firm the canes in.

Finish by cutting the stem growth back to approximately 25cm (10in) above soil level. Plants establish much better if they are not allowed to fruit in their first season.

Since raspberries are often attacked by birds, particularly when grown on allotments, take this opportunity to provide supports for bird-proof netting. A permanent fruit cage, though initially expensive, is the easiest to manage.


Aftercare Tips

Raspberry Polka canes from Mr Fothergill'sRaspberries benefit from an annual mulch of organic matter, like well-rotted manure or good quality, weed-free garden compost, to suppress weeds and conserve soil moisture. Spread it thickly every spring on the surface of the ground while the soil is still moist from winter rain. Gradually over the years it will improve the soil’s structure, drainage qualities and ability to hold plant nutrients in the root zone.

Each year in March, at the same time as you mulch, top-dress the plants with some balanced compound fertiliser and a high potash fertiliser to encourage flowering and fruiting.

When you weed round raspberry canes, be careful with the hoe, since these are shallow-rooting plants which are easily damaged by an over-enthusiastic hand.

In dry weather, and particularly on light soils, give canes a generous watering about every two weeks



Summer-fruiting varieties carry fruit on wood produced in the previous season. Each year, immediately after you’ve picked the crop, cut the fruited canes back to the ground. Then select the healthiest and most vigorous of the young growth produced in the current season, cutting out the rest. Tie in the new canes so that they are spaced about 7.5-10cm (3-4in) apart on the wires. You should aim to have 6-8 fruiting canes each year per raspberry ‘stool’ or plant.

At the end of the winter, cut the new canes back to about 15cm (6in) above the top wire. If this is not done the tops may later snap off under the weight of fruit.

Autumn-fruiting (Primocane) varieties are pruned in exactly the same way, cutting the old canes back to soil level each year. However, since these fruit on the current season’s wood, prune the canes in February. The strong growth made during spring and summer will carry fruit in the autumn of the same year, at the tip of each cane.