Posts Tagged ‘Sweet Pea’

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.

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.

There’s still time to sow sweet peas in time for Mr Fothergill’s July challenge

January 21st, 2015 | Competitions, The flower garden | 0 Comments

Sweet Pea selection

Anyone who likes the idea of winning a slice of the £2,500 on offer in Mr Fothergill’s national sweet pea growing competition to be judged in July 2015 still has time to sow sweet pea seed.  The event, which began in 2013, is to be held on Saturday 18 July 2015 at Capel Manor College in north London.

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 packing and mailing sweet peas through the post, ensuring postal entries arrive in good condition.

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.

The company’s John Fothergill stressed the competition is again aimed at ordinary gardeners rather than exhibitors, and that each bunch of mixed blooms will be judged on its overall appeal.  “Entrants do not have to be expert growers.  We want as many people and schools as possible to have a go and join in the fun,” he said.

You can request a copy of the Mr Fothergill’s Seed Catalogue online, which features an extensive range of sweet peas, or by telephone 0845 371 0518 or write to Mr Fothergill’s, Gazeley Road, Kentford, Suffolk CB8 7QB.  Alternatively, you can take a look at the sweet peas on offer online at

Sweet Pea Pandemonium wins Award of Garden Merit by the RHS

December 4th, 2014 | News, The flower garden | 0 Comments

Sweet Pea PandemoniumA sweet pea introduced exclusively by Mr Fothergill’s has been awarded the prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM) by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).  The variety Pandemonium was given the accolade following a trial held at the Society’s Wisley garden and assessed by the Sweet Pea Subcommittee and National Sweet Pea Society.

Sweet Pea Pandemonium was bred in New Zealand by the world’s pre-eminent hybridiser of the Lathyrus genus Dr Keith Hammett.  On hearing of the success, Keith commented “I am delighted Pandemonium’s garden-worthiness has been acknowledged by the RHS, and that it is so popular in the UK, my country of birth.”

Mr Fothergill’s has developed close links to Keith Hammett, and its other recent exclusive sweet pea introductions include Jimelda, Sir Henry Cecil and Chelsea Centenary.  Pandemonium is a large flowered Spencer type with frilled pink ‘flake’ blooms borne on long, strong stems.  Ideal for cutting and garden display, Pandemonium is very sweetly scented.

A packet of 20 seeds of Pandemonium is priced at £2.09, available from Mr Fothergill’s retail stockists throughout the UK and from the company’s Seed Catalogue 2015 or online.  Telephone 0845 371 0518 or write to Mr Fothergill’s, Gazeley Road, Kentford, Suffolk CB8 7QB to order a catalogue or to purchase this product.