Posts Tagged ‘sweet peas’

Royal Hospital Chelsea 2017 Calendar and Scarlet Tunic

November 22nd, 2016 | News, The flower garden, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Chelsea 2017 CalendarMr Fothergill’s is continuing its fundraising links with the Royal Hospital Chelsea (RHC) through a special offer on a new 2017 calendar featuring the Hospital’s famous Pensioners, and seed of a new sweet pea named Scarlet Tunic in their honour.

RHC 2017 Calendar
Entitled ”Laughing at Ourselves Yet Again”, the calendar is the work of writer, designer and illustrator Robin Ollington, who has a long association with the RHC. The inspiration for these very popular calendars originated in 2012, when he was involved in the collection of Pensioners’ memoirs.

While interviewing, Robin’s creative eye spotted various events and occasions that lent themselves to cartoon treatment and so the annual appearance of “Laughing at Ourselves” was born. Since then it has developed a loyal following. For example, the adventures of Ted, the fictitious ex-POW, who cannot get over his escape complex, are greatly anticipated, and some situations for cartoons are often suggested by the Pensioners themselves.

Sweet Pea Scarlet Tunic
Sweet Pea Scarlet Tunic was named in honour of the famous Chelsea Pensioners red coats and is a delightful blend of red shaded blooms. It can be sown where it is to flower, it’s an outstanding mix of large flowers. Ideal for garden displays and as a cut flower.

We hope Britain’s gardeners will help it to raise more funds for the RHC. Our customers have already helped the company raise more than £50,000 for the RHC through sales in 2015 and 2016 of its poppy Victoria Cross. Sweet pea Scarlet Tunic continues that backing for the veterans of the British Army. We were recently honoured by being granted Corporate Patron status by the Hospital.

Order your charity calendar and help raise money for the Royal Hospital Chelsea Appeal Ltd. The calendar and a packet of Scarlet Tunic seed costs just £12, with £6 being donated to the Hospital.

Sweet Pea September – Getting Ready for Autumn Sowing

September 15th, 2016 | The flower garden | 0 Comments

Sweet pea SeptemberHere at Mr Fothergills we have a vast range of sweet pea seeds suitable for Autumn sowing. These beautifully scented blooms make dwarf hedging or can climb up trellis and are super cut flowers. We know the sweet pea has a special place amongst our gardeners’ affections and we’re delighted to offer a huge range of varieties to you. Nothing can beat the sweet pea for all round performance – garden decoration and wonderful fragrance in the garden and the vase.

All varieties in this post can be sown this Autumn for vigorous plants which are more resilient in dry conditions, and will flower for longer with larger flowers from May onwards.

In addition to these varieties of sweet pea, we still currently have the new Sweet Pea Scarlet Tunic. These are special sweet pea seeds and for every packet sold, 25p has been donated to the Royal Hospital Chelsea charity. So far, this has raised over £53, 542 for the Royal Hospital Chelsea. We’d love to keep this figure rising, so if you would like a fragrant, hardy annual sweet pea then why not try the Scarlet Tunic.

These Sweet Peas despatch now, ready for sowing throughout Autumn. Let us know which of the Sweet Pea variety is your favourite. 

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 http://www.mr-fothergills.co.uk/sweetpeacomp  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.

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.

What to do in the garden in October

October 2nd, 2014 | Garden Diaries, The flower garden, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

As summer started to edge gently into autumn during September, misty mornings gave way to plenty of still-warm days, even if conditions remained overcast rather than sunny for much of the time.  We received very little rainfall in this most westerly corner of Suffolk, and September has been generally a very pleasant month, providing us with, as it often does, an ‘Indian summer’ to enjoy before autumn arrives.

As October now gets underway, autumn now seems to be well and truly on the way, although at the end of September our trial field in Kentford was still full of colour from all the flowers and full of vegetables ready for harvesting.

Photo 11-09-2014 12 57 20

On the whole, we feel this summer has been one of the better ones, although the above-average temperatures we experienced for so much of the time meant many of our annual flowers ‘went over’ rather more quickly than we would have liked.  We are never satisfied, are we?

 

Jobs in the flower garden in October

Sweet Pea ErewhonWe always like to begin October by looking at sweet peas.  To many keen growers of this favourite annual this is the start of the sweet pea season with seed being sown either in pots to over-winter in a cold frame or greenhouse, or direct in the garden in the plants’ flowering position.  Many sweet pea enthusiasts make their sowings during the first fortnight of the month, but there is a no hard-and-fast rule about this.  Late September through to mid November is the ‘window’ in which many people sow their seed.

There is no doubt that sowing sweet pea seeds in autumn has many benefits.  The resulting plants, which are usually hardy in all but the severest of winters, have a head start come next spring.  They flower earlier and longer than those plants produced from spring-sown seed, so we get more bunches of flowers and for longer.

We offer one of the finest ranges of sweet peas and have a good relationship with Dr Keith Hammett from New Zealand, who is the world’s best breeder of these beautiful flowers.   Browse our range of sweet pea seeds and take a pick of what you fancy in your garden this season.

Calendula grown by one of our Nation of GardenersIt really is not too soon to start thinking about next year’s display of hardy annuals either, so why not direct-sow seed of subjects such as calendula, nigella, candytuft and cornflower during October?

The soil will still be warm, so seedlings will germinate quickly and make enough growth before any hard frosts arrive later in the year to see themselves through the winter, bursting into flower early next summer considerably earlier than seedlings produced from spring-sown seed.  If you have never tried this method before, it really is well worth a go!

While roses are generally given their main prune in February or early March, just before the new season’s growth begins, it is a good idea to cut them back by about half during October, as this stops them being rocked and sometimes disturbed by the wind.  Shrubs such as buddleia and lavatera would benefit from the same treatment.  After giving rose a ‘half-prune’ collect up any remaining foliage from the soil to prevent the development of fungal diseases which can attack the plants.

Tulip bulb collectionThis is the month when many of us start planting spring-flowering bulbs.  Hyacinths, daffodils (narcissi) and croci (we still use the old fashioned plural!) can all be planted during October, but delay tulip planting until late in the month or into November, as this will tend to help them prevent being attacked by tulip fire disease.  We think all these bulbs look best planted in informal drifts and close together to create dense patches of colour.  Remember too the great majority of spring bulbs can also be planted in containers where they will flower successfully.  Bulbs are surely the easiest of all flowers to grow – it is virtually a case of plant them and forget them!

Pansy BeaconsfieldAs half-hardy annuals, bedding and container plants start to fade, pull these up and add them to the compost heap.  They can be replaced either by pansies, violas, primroses and polyanthus, which will all give a welcome splash of colour during milder winter spells, or by spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and hyacinths.  Dwarf daffodils are particularly versatile because they look great in beds and at the front of borders and are also perfect for planting in containers close to the house.  Remember to plant a tub or two of hyacinths near the house too, so you can appreciate their heady perfume every time you come out of the door next March and April.

If dahlias are still flowering into October, keep removing any dead-heads to encourage them to keep on blooming until they are cut down by the first frosts of autumn.  No need to lift the tubers until the foliage has been blackened by a hard frost or two.  Only store sound specimens, keeping them somewhere dry, cool and frost-free over the winter.

 

Jobs in the vegetable garden in October

Brussels sproutsWe particularly enjoy October in the vegetable garden, as this is the month when the traditional winter vegetables are just becoming ready to harvest.  Parsnips, leeks, Brussels sprouts, savoy cabbages and kale now take over from summer crops of runner and French beans, courgettes and sweet corn – and are every bit as eagerly anticipated.

We know you can buy so many vegetables all the year round from the supermarkets, but we sometimes wonder where the fun is in that?  As a certain book tells us ‘To every thing there is a season‘, and this is the season for parsnips and Brussels sprouts!

Autumn sown broad beans from our Nation of Gardeners

October means it’s also time to sow broad bean seeds and look forward to that early crop next May.  Aguadulce is a splendid choice, as is Bunyards Exhibition.  In colder areas the seed and seedlings will benefit from a little fleece protection.  Aguadulce produces small, fine beans of lovely quality and flavour, while ‘Bunyards’ generally gives larger beans and one or two more per pod.

Pea MeteorWhere you have a spare patch or two in the vegetable garden or on the allotment, how about an October sowing of early peas?  Meteor is probably still the best early pea for autumn sowing, even if it has been about for donkeys’ years!  It only grows to around 2ft tall, does well even in exposed sites and will provide you with that unforgettable first picking of home-grown peas early next summer.  It’s what vegetable gardening is all about, surely!

If you are growing pumpkins, squashes and marrows, cut these and bring them in before the first frosts arrive.  It is best if pumpkins and squashes can be left in the greenhouse or cold frame for a week or two to ‘cure’ before being put into storage.  Pumpkins will be in demand from youngsters as Hallowe’en approaches at the end of the month.

Runner beans will just about be over now, so they too can be pulled up and composted.  The top growth of Jerusalem artichokes can be cut down virtually to the ground, chopped up and added to the compost heap.  Maincrop carrots can continue to be lifted as required.  Our light, free-draining soil has yielded some excellent crops this year and the quality of some of the roots of our F1 hybrid varieties has been very good indeed.  The seed may be more expensive than that of open-pollinated varieties, but at harvest time it is easy to see how worthwhile the little additional cost is.

Chilli PeppersIf you have not already so, harvest any remaining chilli peppers.  Green fruits tend not to be as hot as orange and red ones, but take care when preparing any of them.  It is a good idea to wear disposable, clear plastic gloves when handling and chopping them because it is so easy to touch close to your eyes with your hand while preparing them, which is not a pleasant experience.  Remember that any glut of chillis can be frozen and used throughout the year until next year’s crop is ready.

There is still time to plant garlic, shallots and over-wintering onion sets in the garden in October to provide an early crop next summer.  Once planted, they require very little attention, but do keep any competition from weeds to a minimum.  They are much more susceptible to poor drainage than they are to low temperatures and, given good drainage, they are hardy even in very cold winters.  Garlic in particular generally produces heavier and better crops from an autumn planting than from a spring one.

The first frosts may mean winter is well on the way, but we welcome them if only because Brussels sprouts and parsnips both taste sweeter once they have been ‘frosted’.  It’s a matter of personal opinion, of course, but in our view a couple of frosts seem to concentrate the flavour of these vegetables.

 

Jobs in the fruit garden in October

Rhubarb

We know that technically rhubarb is a vegetable, but because it is used mainly in dessert dishes we think of it more as a fruit.  We have a real treat for all rhubarb lovers, because now they can enjoy those succulent, sweet sticks from September to November.  Our Livingstone rhubarb plant is the first autumn-cropping variety, it’s British bred and has had its summer dormancy eliminated; this is what causes rhubarb to stop cropping by the middle of summer.  So for the first time you can now combine fresh rhubarb with other autumn fruits to create mouth-watering desserts such as rhubarb, apple and blackberry crumble.

Livingstone yields an excellent crop of high quality, deep red skinned stems. It’s very easy to grow – just incorporate some bonemeal or organic matter when planting and, once established, it will crop heavily from September onwards.  It can be ordered from us now for planting this autumn.  It is delicious and we are sure you will enjoy it.

On already established plants in the garden you will now find that rhubarb leaves have died back.  The dormant crowns will benefit from a 3in mulch of well-rotted garden compost or farmyard manure.  If you feel any clump is now too large, lift and divide it, getting rid of the central section and re-planting the younger sections from round the outside of the crown.