Garden Centre Retail?s trip to the Mr Fothergill?s open day

On Wednesday August 13, Suffolk based seed company Mr Fothergill?s opened their doors to the gardening media. The company, established in 1978, has now got over 2000 varieties in retail, of which two are new ranges, each with six varieties – Joe Wilkinson of the Garden Centre Retail team, explains what happened at the open day.

After an introduction from Jonathan Fothergill, Ian Cross talked about the retail ranges, one of which is a new veg line added to the existing Sarah Raven and Johnson?s branding ? all to be retailed at ?5.99. The other new range will be released in partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), with new upmarket branding. 25 pence of the packet sales will be donated to the RSPB. This range is aimed at gardeners that wish to encourage birds, butterflies and bees into their gardens, and each packet or set of packets have a decal explaining which species they are best for.

Mr Fothergill?s is pushing their gift ranges too, with new ranges of gifts aimed at non-gardeners. The gifts include vegetable seed kits, children?s sets and a brand new range of seeds to create a new garden. In the box, designed to look like a box of chocolates, comes a planting plan and packets of annual and perennial seeds, with the annuals to be replaced each year.

Brian Tamlin led a tour around the working trial grounds, which are there to help the company decide on what its next offering is. The trial grounds allow Brian to inform the powers that be on whether the seeds will suit the gardeners that will buy the seeds ? he checks for uniformity, resistance to pests, colours and form. This year, it?s been made harder for him, with the weather really affecting the trials. The pests have been at an all-time high on the showground, and many of the flower species have been affected by a lack of vernalization ? the days have been warm enough, but for best results, the nights haven?t been cool enough.

The Mr Fothergill?s team also announced that through their poppy sales, they have raised over ?24,000 for the Royal Hospital Chelsea. They hope that next year, they will be able to do the same for the RSPB.


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