Posts Tagged ‘trials ground’

Brian’s Lifetime in Horticulture is Just What the Doctor Ordered

August 15th, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

Mr Fothergill's Trials Manager Brian Talman at their August Press Day being presented with an Acer Shirasawanum Jordan by Joint Managing Directors John Fothergill and David Carey to celebrate his 60 years in horticulture

Mr Fothergill’s celebrated 60 years in horticulture for their Trials Manager Brian Talman at their August Press Day with a presentation of an Acer Shirasawanum Jordan in a premium pot with a personalised inscription. Acers are one of Brian’s favourite plants and the gift follows earlier celebrations and gifts within the company.

The company marked the occasion when the trials were looking at their best and in front of the gardening journalists of the UK. As he celebrates 60 years working in horticulture, Brian muses how his working life could have been quite different if he had not heeded the advice of a family-friend doctor. “As a Surrey teenager I passed an engineering exam in 1959 to become an apprentice, but because of my asthma the doctor said a factory environment would be bad for me and I would be better working outside”.


Brian noticed local seed company Nutting & Sons of Merstham was advertising for a trials assistant, so he applied for the post, was taken on a five-year apprenticeship, at the end of which and while still a teenager, he was appointed flower seed manager on a six-month probation. “Although I was never told the company was satisfied, I suppose it must have been because I stayed until 1983”, laughs Brian.


During that time the company moved to Cambridgeshire. In 1983 Brian was approached by Chicago-based Ball & Co and invited to set up a British trial ground, which he managed until 2002 when he decided to set up his own plant company Talman’s Plants Nursery, which in turn led to him working with Mr Fothergill’s. In the early days of this association, Brian grew all Mr Fothergill’s plants at his
own nursery because there were no facilities at the seed company’s Kentford, Suffolk, base. Through the years, Brian has supervised the development of the Kentford trial including the development of polytunnels to facilitate all germination and growing on-site.

Brian's 60th anniversary cake. It features a shovel with his name, Brian Talman, on it, with a message that says "Brian 60 years, still digging it" as well as mini seed pot decorations - all 100% edible!

Mr Fothergill’s commercial director Tim Jeffries takes up the story. “We know how fortunate we are to have Brian running our trials, which several independent experts have told me are the best of their kind in Europe. His plant knowledge and understanding and his growing skills are unparalleled. He is a key member of our specialist horticultural team”. Brian Talman is more modest. He simply says “I can honestly say I have loved every minute of the past 60 years. While every day may have its challenges, every day I work with plants is a joy”.

 

Brian’s Lifetime in Horticulture is Just What the Doctor Ordered

February 20th, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

Mr Fothergill's trials manager Brian Talman celebrates 60 years working in horticulture

As Mr Fothergill’s trials manager Brian Talman celebrates 60 years working in horticulture, he muses how his working life could have been quite different if he had not heeded the advice of a family-friend doctor. “As a Surrey teenager I passed an engineering exam in 1959 to become an apprentice, but because of my asthma the doctor said a factory environment would be bad for me and I would be better working outside”.

Brian noticed local seed company Nutting & Sons of Merstham was advertising for a trials assistant, so he applied for the post, was taken on a five-year apprenticeship, at the end of which and while still a teenager, he was appointed flower seed manager on a six-month probation. “Although I was never told the company was satisfied, I suppose it must have been because I stayed until 1983”, laughs Brian.

 

During that time the company moved to Cambridgeshire. In 1983 Brian was approached by Chicago-based Ball & Co and invited to set up a British trial ground, which he managed until 2002 when he decided to set up his own plant company Talman’s Plants Nursery, which in turn led to him working with Mr Fothergill’s. In the early days of this association, Brian grew all Mr Fothergill’s plants at his own nursery because there were no facilities at the seed company’s Kentford, Suffolk, base. Through the years, Brian has supervised the development of the Kentford trial and the installation of state-of-the art greenhouses.

Mr Fothergill's trials manager Brian Talman celebrates 60 years working in horticulture

Mr Fothergill’s commercial director Tim Jeffries takes up the story. “We know how fortunate we are to have Brian running our trials, which several independent experts have told me are the best of their kind in Europe. His plant knowledge and understanding and his growing skills are unparalleled. He is a key member of our specialist horticultural team”. Brian Talman is more modest. He simply says “I can honestly say I have loved every minute of the past 60 years. While every day may have its challenges, every day I work with plants is a joy”.

Seeds Tested Whatever the Weather

August 9th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

As all gardeners know, 2018 has been a challenging year weather-wise and Mr Fothergill’s, the UK leading seed company, can confirm it from their Suffolk weather station data!

In the February to August period the range of temperature was 41C, between -7.2c and +33.8C.
After a particularly cold and wet winter, where temperatures were at freezing from early October and still very cold well into May, the weather changed dramatically. The great drought then arrived in the main growing period with 54 days of no rain – only 21 mm coming on the day the heatwave broke on Friday 27th July when the temperature also peaked at 33.8C.

In June and July 2018 Mr Fothergill’s experienced 33 days where the temperature was over 24C. In June and July 2017 there were only 6 days including the annual high of 27C!

From January to the end of July 2018 Mr Fothergill’s received 230mm of rain which is actually more than the same period in 2017. The difference was distribution with most of that rain coming in the first three months of the year and little since while it was more evenly spread over the six month is 2017.

Despite the vagaries of the UK weather, the seed trials were doing their job at Mr Fothergill’s and looked superb. In this way the company are testing all their varieties in real life conditions to ensure everything is fit for purpose for the home gardener.

Rachel Cole, Seeds Manager at Mr Fothergill’s said: “The weather is different every year and that’s why our trial grounds are so important to us. We can be sure of the quality of everything we sell and absolutely certain things will perform in UK conditions, however varied. Our weather station has proved invaluable in allowing us to track performance against conditions.”