The Cynical Gardeners trip to the
Mr Fothergills open day.
Some stuff to look out for.
I was recently invited to the Mr Fothergills Press Day where the organisation launches new seed ranges and sundries to the press.
Recently Mr Fothergills acquired the tool company DARLAC this was due to retirements, there are plans to leave to company name unchanged as it is a recognized brands that continues to win Best Buy Awards.
We were also shown Seasol which is Mr Fothergill Australia’s top-selling seaweed based plant food. It’s now going to be more widely available in the UK from next year.
We where also introduced to a new development called Optigrow, is a new advancement in seed germination whereby seeds have been primed to germinate more quickly. We were told unlike chemical seed coatings commonly seen on the market, Optigrow uses just water and air to get the seed biologically ready for germination, breaking dormancy prior to use. It is then quickly dried back to a storable state for packing, just like any other seed. The treatment means seeds wake up and get underway within hours of hitting the soil.
We were shown some germination trials of seed treated with the Optigrow technique.
The treated seeds did indeed germinate fast than the untreated seeds, I will certainly be trying some seeds from this range next year to see just how good it is.
Other news included a new range of seeds with RHS preferred partner status, the launch of the trusted Award of Garden Merit seed range for 2018.
And also Love Your Garden presenter David Domoney has joined forces with the vegetable experts at Mr Fothergill’s to develop David Domoney’s Get Growing seed range for the 2018 season. The collection comprises 56 of the most popular vegetable varieties in the Mr Fothergill’s range, plus 10 easy to use seed mats and tapes for no-effort sowing.
We were allowed to roam the outdoor trial grounds to view the many varieties that may or may not make future catalogues, there where examples of seed mats, cut flower collections, fruits, cut and come again salads and all other array of seedy delights to be seen. I was particularly taken with a trial of blight resistant outdoor grown tomatoes. At the time of my visit the varieties Crimson Crush & the smaller fruiting Mountain Magic were proving very favourable.
Whilst roaming the trials field, I noticed a very bright red Marigold glowing in the drizzly weather, Red is not a usual colour for Marigolds, but this line of plants was very bright and impressive, further inspection relived it to be Marigold (French) Fireball F1 which is included in the 2018 seed catalogue.
I was very lucky to be given a packet of the Marigold Seeds to try next year.
We were also allowed to roam in the polytunnels to view the salad crops, I also picked up a few tips on how to improve my sweet Pepper production along the way.
(It appears 3 plants into 1 litre bottomless pots planted in the top of a normal sized grow bag is sufficient for a good crop, and lots of plant stalking.)
Another new exciting plant to look out for next year is a new Annual Verbena called Verbena Scentsation.
We were told that each year the seed specialist grows over 2,000 varieties to assess its extensive range of flower and vegetable seeds for garden performance. When trials manager Brian Talman caught a particularly sweet fragrance while reviewing summer bedding plants, his nose led him to a rather unusual find – an annual verbena, not only pretty enough for patio pots, but also with the potential to be a scented star in vases and posies.
Again I was lucky enough to be given a packet of seeds to try next year, and I shall be reporting back.
There was also news of a new Sweet Pea named after Lady Salisbury, a highly fragrant grandiflora with picotee blooms.
The new sweet pea blend is named after college patron Lady Salisbury. Lady Salisbury is a passionate gardener as reflected in the magnificent grounds at Hatfield House. She has visited the Mr Fothergill’s trials ground in previous years and demonstrated a keen interest in the work of the Suffolk seedsman in ensuring the quality of seed supplied.
Finally we were given some information of the 2018 flower and fruit of the year.
For 2018 its the French Marigold and the Pepper (Chili & Sweet).
Many thanks to Mr Fothergills for inviting me to the open day and putting up with all my many questions.