Early indications are that garden centres and their customers are putting their weight behind Mr Fothergill’s campaign to raise funds for the work of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in the centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War (2014).? The Suffolk seedsman reports it has sold several hundred counter-top display units of its fund-raising Poppy Victoria Cross just four weeks after it was launched to retailers.? And repeat orders from stockists suggest the sell-out has already begun.? Mr Fothergill’s has pledged 25p to the RoyalHospital’s charity from every packet of 250 seeds priced at ?1.85 it sells via its retail stockists during 2014.
“The support the initiative has received from our stockists has been nothing short of amazing”, reports Mr Fothergill’s product manager David Turner.? “So much so we are having to reprint packets and display units to keep up with demand from garden centres.? The Royal Hospital Chelsea has really struck a chord with them and with gardeners”.
Poppy Victoria Cross is remarkable for the bold white ‘cross’ it bears across its single red flowers, which are borne through the summer.? Easy to grow and quick to flower from a spring sowing, this form of Papaver somniferum is ideal for informal borders and cottage garden settings.? Its distinctive ‘pepper-pot’ seedheads are also useful in dried arrangements when flowering ends.
Established in 1682 by Charles II to provide a safe home for military veterans ‘broken by age or war’, the ChristopherWren-designedRoyalHospital admitted its first pensioners in 1692.? The scarlet tunics and black tricornes of its residents and the Royal Horticultural Society’s Flower Show held in the RoyalHospital grounds every May are equally well known and respected around the world.
The Royal Hospital’s fundraising manager Kate Marsh explained ” Donations from the sale of Mr Fothergill?s Victoria Cross Poppy will enable us to improve the facilities and living conditions of the Chelsea Pensioners as well as helping us to secure a future for those young soldiers serving in the British Army today”