Posts Tagged ‘sunflower’

Grow the Biggest Sunflower Head with Mr Fothergill’s and BBC Children in Need

March 26th, 2019 | Competitions, News | 0 Comments

Grow the Biggest Sunflower Head with Mr Fothergill's and BBC Children in Need

Calling all sunflower growers!

Now that spring is in the air, why not have a go at growing one of the UK’s favourite flowers and enter our competition to grow the biggest sunflower head.

Sunflowers are easy to grow, so it’s also the perfect challenge for children – they can challenge their friends or get their school involved.

How to Enter

The competition is open to anyone and any type of sunflower can be grown, but we would recommend Mr Fothergill’s Sunflower Pudsey (RRP £1.99) – for each packet sold, Mr Fothergill’s will donate 30p to BBC Children in Need. You could also turn the challenge into a fundraising event for BBC Children in Need – take a look at their website for loads of great ways of doing this here.

You have until 30th September 2019 to grow and measure your sunflower. Post us a picture on Facebook or Twitter of your flower head with proof of its size – use a tape measure to show the width of the flower head, not including the petals.

  Grow the Biggest Sunflower Head with Mr Fothergill's &  BBC Children in Need

There will be 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes for the 3 largest sunflower heads.

Mr Fothergill’s Top Tip

For larger sunflower heads, try applying a feed and water well only once the flower head starts to appear. And of course, you could always try talking and singing to it! We’d love to hear your own tips – share on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #SunflowerTips.

Good luck, and happy growing!

The Prizes

  • 1st prize: £50 worth of Mr Fothergill’s seeds
  • 2nd prize: £30 worth of Mr Fothergill’s seeds
  • 3rd prize: £20 worth of Mr Fothergill’s seeds

The Rules

  • The winners will be chosen after the competition closes at midnight on 30 September 2019.
  • There are three prizes.
  • The 3 largest sunflower heads will be chosen based on the photos submitted proving their size. The judge’s decision is final.
  • There is no cash alternative, the prize is non-transferable and may not be substituted by the winner.
  • If you are not the sunflower grower and the photo you submit is not your photo, we reserve the right to disqualify you – only your own picture of your own flower please!

Mr Fothergill’s Sunflower Pudsey (RRP £1.99) is available from selected garden retailers and Homebase stores, and online at www.mr-fothergills.co.uk.

Make a difference with Mr Fothergill’s and BBC Children in Need

November 13th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Together, let’s make a difference and grow seed! 30p from each packet of Sunflower Pudsey and Pumpkin Pudsey will go to BBC Children in Need.

We are delighted to announce our new partnership with BBC Children in Need, launching two new seed packets for children – Sunflower Pudsey and Pumpkin Pudsey. 30p from each packet sold will benefit BBC Children in Need, to help make a real difference to the lives of children all across the UK. Let’s join together and have some fun growing the tallest sunflower and scariest pumpkin and help make a difference.

BBC Children in Need believe that every child in the UK should have a childhood which is safe, happy and secure and allows them the chance to reach their potential. To help achieve their vision, they provide grants to projects in the UK which focus on children and young people who are disadvantaged. They currently support 2,400 of these projects. Since 1980, over £800 million has been raised in aid of BBC Children in Need.

Mr-Fothergills-Sunflower-Pudsey-in-aid-of-BBC-children-in-needFothergills

Sunflower Pudsey flowers the same year as sown. Easy, fast-growing with huge heads on giant stems. 75 seeds for only £1.99!

Pumpkin Pudsey is perfect for carving at Halloween – with sweet tasting orange flesh it’s perfect for pies, too. 100 seeds only £1.99!

For more information on BBC Children in Need and all the great work they do, head to www.bbc.co.uk/childreninneed.

‘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.

Halloween Finale for Staff Competitions at Mr Fothergill’s

October 31st, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Each year the trials team at Mr Fothergill’s organise fun growing competitions for the staff to have go at.

This year volunteers could grow the tallest sunflower or the heaviest pumpkin. The ones with artistic flair could grab any pumpkin from the field and carve it for Halloween display.

The tallest Sunflower reached 3.06m high and was grown by Lisa from the IT department. She not only watered them every day, but also gave them names, talked to them and sung from time to time.

Lisa commented: “I enjoyed the competition and looking after my sunflowers. Everyday watering with the addition of Seasol every two weeks did the trick. Moreover, when you talk, you release carbon dioxide which plants use to produce food, therefore helping them to grow. I also believe that all living things are somehow connected, so just like animals and people, they need to feel a sense they are loved. I spent 5 mins every evening after work telling them about my day! Now, when it all finished and they died I really miss my three plants I used to talk to.”

12 people took the challenge to grow the heaviest pumpkin. Rachel from our trials team won the competition with a pumpkin weight of 24.3kg. Production director Jeremy gained 2nd place with a 19.5kg fruit and mail order manager Paul was just behind him with 18.7kg.

Rachel said: “It was an amazing summer and pumpkins are very thirsty. I fed the pumpkin only a couple of times with Seasol, I watered every other day in the height of the summer, a whole watering can full at a time as I felt it needed it. It was only when it got a little cooler that the pumpkin got bigger, it ripened well and I did not realise how heavy it was until I tried to lift it!”

At Mr Fothergill’s the growing season ended with the pumpkin harvest and carving competition this year. Eight judges scored six amazing entries. Gladys the Witch created by Carol, Lindsay and Hannah was the judges’ favourite, followed by an eye ball carved with attention to detail by Suzi. Joint 3rd place went to Colin’s Polar Bear Mafia and Jeremy’s Little Boo. All participating employees put much effort and creativity to create a stunning Halloween display.

Gladys-the-witch-stole-1st-place-of-Mr-Fothergills-pumpkin-carving-competition

Congrats-to-Suzi-on-2nd-prize-of-Mr-Fothergills-pumpkin-carving-competition-with-eerie-eye-ballWell-done-to-Colin-for-joint-3rd-place-with-Polar-Bear-Mafia-creation

SWell-done-to-Jeremy-for-joint-3rd-place-with-Little-Boounflower Giant Single costs £1.40 for 75 seeds, Pumpkin Atlantic Giant priced £3.05 for 10 seeds.

Mr Fothergill’s has a wide range of pumpkins and squashes that will look great on Autumn displays, many of them having amazing flavours when cooked. They are available from Mr Fothergill’s retail stockists throughout the UK, from our latest Seed Catalogue or online. Visit your local garden centre for the full range or head over to www.mr-fothergills.co.uk.

King of the sun

August 3rd, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Sunflower 'Sun King'

One of the great things about being able to visit the trial ground at Mr F is that it’s possible to see all the varieties of a single plant growing side by side. This year, it’s nasturtiums (more on them another time) and last year I paid special attention to the sunflowers. This one, ‘Sun King’, really stood out.

I used to grow a double flowered variety called ‘Teddy Bear’ but I found that it had become less and less consistent, especially in terms of its height: It’s supposed to be relatively short, about 60cm, but some were noticeably taller than the others and that sometimes made for a very odd looking group.

‘Sun King’ reaches 2m and they’re all consistent at about that height. The flowers are larger too – and don’t they look spectacular, packed with petals around that vivid green eye.

I raised them by sowing three seeds in 9cm pots, in April, and keeping the pots in the cold greenhouse. They were soon through – well, the ones the mice didn’t get were soon through – and by that time the greenhouse door and all the vents were open and so hardening off wasn’t really necessary.

I planted the whole potful of seedlings when they were about 10cm high, watered them in with liquid feed and away they went. When they were about 60cm tall I supported them with a 1.2m bamboo cane to each group of plants intending to add a stout dahlia stake later but that never happened. And they stood tall and upright through the hammering rain and the wild wind without the extra support.

I haven’t picked any yet, I should have sown a few more potfuls after the episode with the mice so there’d be plenty. But they’re branching well and just one head, in a heavy vase on the kitchen table, will be just the thing.