Tour of MrFothergill’s Seed Trial Grounds

Photo : Silene Blue Angel. New for 2018/19

Growing plants from seed is a passion for me. It’s an affordable way to bulk up annual, perennial and biennial displays in the garden. And each year I try something new, as well as sticking with tried and trusted old favourites.

Next spring, I’ll be adding Silene Blue Angel to my seed sowing plans. It’s one of the new varieties on offer at Mr Fothergill’s. And this week I was absolutely delighted to be invited to view the trial grounds at the company’s headquarters in Suffolk.

These are the plants that caught my eye. The silene was top of my list. A hardy annual, sown in March and planted out in early June. Plants form neat cushions 25cm tall. For a continuous display, I’ll sow a few seeds at two to three week intervals. I’m picturing drifts of electric blue flowers running through the borders and flowering all summer long.

Brachycome Blue Star is another new variety available for 2019. I’m going to partner it with this one I spotted from the Brachycome Blue/White Mix range. I’ve always loved any kind of daisy flower.

Regular readers know I also love sweet peas. I grow a range of heritage and modern varieties along a rather wonky hazel wigwam structure. Next year I will be adding new variety Capel Manor to the garden. It’s a pretty pinky blue and has a delicate, though not overpowering scent.

I always plant cosmos in the cut flower garden. They are easy to grow and provide flowers from early summer right through to the first frosts. I spotted this beautiful new white variety called Snow Puff. Bees seem to love cosmos, so that’s a bonus too. I’m always trying to find ways to help pollinators.

Here’s some photos of the trial grounds. It was fabulous to wander about amongst so many beautiful flowers, jotting down names for future planting plans. The scent in the heat of the day just added to the wow factor.

Mr Fothergill’s is celebrating its 40th anniversary. In May, the company won Product of the Year at RHS Chelsea for its new Optigrow range of seeds. Optigrow is a revolutionary non-chemical seed priming treatment that uses only water and air to get the seeds biologically ready for germination. I’ll be trying out some of the 19 vegetable varieties available – including tricky to grow parsnips- next spring. I’ll need to write another post about all the new vegetable varieties. There are quite a few I’ve made a note of. And there are many more new flower varieties. I’ve just picked out a few. I’ll definitely have to write another post soon….

Please share this via any social media you like, and don’t forget to say hello in the comments box below. Let me know what new seed you are planing to try out for the spring growing season. I am @kgimson on twitter and karengimson1 on instagram.

30 thoughts on “Tour of MrFothergill’s Seed Trial Grounds

  1. I was particularly pleased to read this post, Karen, because of the blue silene – I have grown this under the name ‘viscaria’ but had been unable to buy any this year under that name. It was so easy to grow and flowered for ages so I am thrilled I now know how to find it again!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fantastic day out. Lucky you. I’m sure you took plenty of photographs. I too am addicted to sowing seeds and my list of what to grow next year gets longer every day. I will have to do some selecting. I do like the look of that cosmos though, I’m adding that. How tall is it? I’m now following you on Instagram. I am @floralacre

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just followed you on Instagram. That cosmos was about 50cm, but they did say everything was dwarfed by the drought this year, so I expect it will be taller next summer. Thanks for reading and getting in touch.


  3. Katy that lucky to be in the test grounds of Mr Fothergill surrounded by thousands of flowers. The photos are magnificent. The Silene Blue Angel is very beautiful. The association of Brachycome Blue / White Mix looking like daisies I love. The Capel Manor Sweet Peas have a divine color and if they are perfumed they can be more requested. The Cosmos Snow Puff already commented -divine-. You have to write another blog please explain the new method of making seeds and vegetables. It has been a fantastic visit, I loved it. Give your Mother on my part love and memories. To your family love and health. To you Karen love and take care. Loving greetings from Margarita.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Snow Puff! As I said yesterday, I love that Cosmos – especially with a name that’s straight out of a Disney movie. I’m going to be sowing my first batch of sweet peas in a couple of months and may well look out for Capel Manor as that’s where I did my design training. Brachysome might also go on my list – the words ‘drought tolerant’ kinda leapt out at me after the summer we’ve had! It will be very interesting to see what else you grow – what a treat to visit the trial grounds. I’m totally envious! 😉 x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Caro. Would you like to come with us next year? I can put your name down as a guest, if you like. I’d really recommend a visit. So fascinating to see behind the scenes too. All the machines putting seed into packets. Very interesting.


    • Thank you Mike. Thanks for reading. Must admit, I usually go for single flowers. But this one seemed to have an extra sparkle somehow. I might have been swayed by the number of bees on it. Have a great weekend 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A beautiful place to visit and wander amongst those flowers. I have bought quite a lot of seeds having decided this is a more economical way of planting as I’ve been buying plants online. I’ve bought Nigella, Cosmos, Scabious, Exochorda, Poppy, Armenia and Lisianthus, to name a few, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them grow. I can also get more variety this way rather than going to the local nursery.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They all sound wonderful Jane. Good luck with your planting. Thanks for reading and for getting in touch. After all the terrible drought and heat, I’ve sort of given up on this summer. It’s so welcome to look forward to next spring sowing projects.


Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. It's nice to know I'm not talking to myself on here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s