Posts Tagged ‘sweet pea competition’

Sussex Gardener Wins Mr Fothergill’s Sweet Pea Competition Prize

July 20th, 2015 | Competitions | 0 Comments

Bags of postal entriesA bunch of eight sweet pea stems sent by post from East Sussex gardener Richard Baron scooped the £250 first prize in the General Postal Class in Mr Fothergill’s national competition held at Capel Manor College, Enfield, north London on Saturday, 18 July 2015. The event attracted postal entries from as far afield as Tyne and Wear, Co Tyrone, Somerset and Yorkshire. Miss L Smith of Burton on Trent and Janice Sharkey of Glasgow were second and third respectively, winning £150 and £100.

Mr Fothergill’s competition co-ordinator Pim Dickson, who also devised the postal method using a two-litre plastic soft drinks bottle to ensure safe transit of blooms, said he was delighted at the good condition in which they all arrived.

There was also a class for on-the-day entrants, who staged their exhibits during the morning, with similar levels of prize money. First prize was awarded to Alec Cave of Derby, with second prize going to Bill Jones and third prize to Derek Florin.

The Junior section of the competition was won by students of Access Group 2 from Capel Manor College. In second place was Bollington St John’s C of E Primary School from Macclesfield, with Montbelle Primary School of New Eltham in third.

The judges for the competition were John Fothergill of Mr Fothergill’s, gardening writer Peter Seabrook MBE and Stephen Dowbiggin OBE, principal of Capel Manor College.  Entries were judged on their overall appeal.

Sweet pea sowing at Woolaston Primary School

March 20th, 2015 | Garden Diaries | 0 Comments

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At the end of February we heard from our green fingered friends at the Woolaston Primary School gardening club.  This was a new group of reception class pupils at the school who were keen to embark on the new gardening year.  They had been provided with a whole treasure trove of Mr Fothergill’s seeds to sow in the lead up to the end of the school year in July.

To start their journey, in March the group of young gardeners have been sowing sweet peas: Galaxy Mixed and Tiller Girls.  All 28 children in the reception class at the school are now eagerly waiting to see whose will be the first to send up shoots…


Sweet peas germinated in a pupil's hand

How the children sowed their sweet peas (some top tips for any other young gardeners out there!)

Each child had three seeds to sow in their own 15cm pot. We set up a potting station with a tub of compost and they followed a five-step process:

  • Stir the compost to get rid of lumps
  • Fill the pot and firm it down
  • Poke three holes in the surface
  • Pop a seed into each hole and cover with a bit more compost
  • Use the watering can (there was much excitement about this, and some rather wet socks)


A few tips. And a few lessons learnt…

Watering sweet peas at Woolaston Primary SchoolSchool parent, Mary Hamblyn is involved in the gardening club and she is also keeping us updated here on the blog.  She reported that this first session was lots of fun for the children, but a steep learning curve for the adult helpers!

Of this inaugural gardening session Mary commented, “Working with small groups meant we could take a hands-off approach and let the class really take ownership of what they were doing. We just gave gentle prompts if needed and watched to make sure all the seeds made it into the pots.

“Class teacher Mrs Price had briefed the children earlier in the day. This was really helpful as once they were outside – and raring to go – we only needed to give simple instructions.”

However, there proved to be minor peril for shoes and socks in the form of a little too much fun with water!

“It didn’t take us long to realise that four and five year olds can’t resist playing with water. In the end we just used one closely guarded watering can, counting ‘one – two – three – stop!’ as each child watered their pot. Otherwise all the seeds would have floated away on a river of composty water,” observed Mary.

“We soaked our seeds before planting them. There is conflicting advice on this – some say it gives them a head start, others say it can make them prone to rotting. In the end we had to sow ours in two batches and the second lot were beginning to germinate by the time we got to them. We’re not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but we encouraged the children to handle them carefully and hopefully they’ll be OK. With a bit of luck we’ll be able to enter Mr Fothergill’s sweet pea competition in July.”

Sweet peas all in a row


Next time

In their next session the children will be planting Broad Bean Witkiem Manita, Garlic sets and Tomato Sub-Arctic Plenty so watch out for another update very soon.

How are you getting on in your school garden?


Mr Fothergill’s have supplied Woolaston Primary School with all the seeds they need to produce a really productive school garden this year.  The Woolaston Primary School gardening blog posts are written by school parent Mary Hamblyn.  She also blogs at  

How to plant sweet peas

March 5th, 2015 | The flower garden | 0 Comments

Sweet Pea JimeldaAfter you have sown and overwintered your sweet peas, it is time for many to take the next step and plant them out when conditions allow.

This short video shows you how to plant sweet peas, giving you some tips on how to pinch out your young seedlings to get the most out of them in the coming growing season.

If you didn’t sow sweet peas, then all is not lost. You can order sweet pea plants from the Mr Fothergill’s website and play catch up with your neighbours! Order now for delivery in mid-April.

Mr Fothergill’s July sweet pea competition is gaining lots of interest on social media

February 18th, 2015 | Competitions | 0 Comments

Sweet Pea Tiller GirlsNews of Mr Fothergill’s national sweet pea competition with £2,500 up for grabs has been causing quite a stir on social media, and especially among schools, which can receive a free packet of seeds to grow their plants for the event which takes place on Saturday 18 July 2015 at Capel Manor College in north London.  The company’s social media coordinator Debbie Porter says, “Lots of schools are signing up for their free packet of our new sweet pea Tiller Girls, while many people have been tweeting, having found the blog about the competition.  It’s creating quite an impact, and there is even a ‘just-for-fun’ category for gardening writers and broadcasters!”

Gardeners who fancy their chances of winning a slice of the £2,500 on offer in Mr Fothergill’s national sweet pea growing competition can still sow seed during February or early March to produce blooms for mid July.  Sow five or six seeds per 12cm pot of multipurpose compost at a depth of 1cm.  Water thoroughly, allow to drain and place pots on a windowsill, or in cold frame or greenhouse.  Do not water again until seedlings emerge, usually in seven to 14 days.  When two pairs of leaves have formed, pinch out the growing tip to encourage bushy growth.  Set out young plants individually 20cm apart, supporting them with a network of canes and netting.

Entrants may either post their blooms in a two-litre soft drinks bottle or come to the college on the day of the show to stage their flowers.  The company has devised a method of ensuring postal entries to arrive in good condition and details are available at the company’s website  There are six categories, first, second and third prizes for which are:

1     General Class £250/£150/£100.                        2     General Postal Class £250/£150/£100.

3     Individual Junior Class* £125/£75/£50.           4     Individual Junior Postal Class* £125/£75/£50.

5  School/Group Junior Class £250/£150/£100.     6 School/Group Junior Postal Class £250/£150/£100.

*These prizes will be given as Garden Centre Gift Vouchers.

You can view and order from our extensive range of sweet pea seeds from Mr Fothergill’s on the website, or by mail order from our catalogue.

Free Sweet Peas for schools, get a packet of sweet pea Tiller Girls for the Mr Fothergill’s sweet pea competition

January 22nd, 2015 | Competitions, The flower garden | 3 Comments

Mr Fothergill’s are offering free sweet peas for schools to the first 100 applicants.   Any of Britain’s schools which would like the chance to win £250 by growing sweet peas this summer for Mr Fothergill’s national competition are being given an added incentive by Mr Fothergill’s with the offer of free seed.  The company has a packet of 20 seeds of its brand new and exclusive sweet pea Tiller Girls, each worth £2.09, to give to the first 100 schools which contact it expressing an interest.  The judging will be held at Capel Manor College, north London, on Saturday 18 July 2015.  Tiller Girls is a very sweetly scented, large flowered mixture of attractive ‘flakes’.

Sweet Pea Tiller Girls from Mr Fothergill'sThere are two categories for schools’ entries – those staged on the day and those sent by post – each with a £250 first prize, £150 second prize and £100 third prize to be donated to the winning schools’ funds.  There are also two similar categories for individual youngsters, each with respective first, second and third prizes of £125, £75 and £50 in garden centre vouchers.

The prizes will be awarded to those entrants whose displays have the greatest all-round appeal in the opinion of the judges, one of whom will be the company’s John Fothergill.  He says “We want to encourage as many schools and youngsters to enter as possible and for it all to be as much fun as possible.  Sweet peas are easy to grow and everyone loves their flower form and fragrance.”

Entrants may either post their blooms in a two-litre soft drinks bottle or turn up at the college on the day of the show to stage their flowers.  Mr Fothergill’s has devised  a method of packing and mailing sweet peas through the post to ensure postal entries arrive in good condition.  Read more for full details of the competition.

To request a free packet of sweet pea Tiller Girls for a school, please write to Schools Sweet Pea Competition, Mr Fothergill’s Seeds, Gazeley Road, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7QB.  Remember to include the sender’s address.