World’s Greatest Garden Photography Competition

The world’s greatest garden photography competition joins forces with Thompson & Morgan

IGPOTY black and white winnerThompson & Morgan is pleased to announce its collaboration with IGPOTY (International Garden Photographer of the Year) with the introduction of a new special award, the ‘Joy of Gardening’.

Photographers will enter images of Thompson & Morgan products that they’ve grown and the winners will not only get to showcase their gardening successes, but will also be able to advance their name in photography by appearing at the IGPOTY launch event at Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew and have their winning photograph published in the annual IGPOTY book.

The winner will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the Keukenhof Gardens, Holland with IGPOTY managing director, Tyrone McGlinchey, who will share his wealth of photographic knowledge.

The award sets out to celebrate all things grown from Thompson & Morgan products, from the smallest seedling to the largest fruit tree. The IGPOTY judges will be looking for inspirational photographs that connect people and plants through the joy of growing, and that encourage others to get involved with gardening.

IGPOTY’s manager, Curtis McGlinchey said: “There are so many brilliant and worthwhile parallels between our two businesses that this special award makes perfect sense. For us it’s all about accessibility and inspiration, as we strive to help people engage with nature on a creative level.

We hope to: introduce more people to the rewards of gardening, highlight the attainability of sustainable living, increase awareness of the natural world and champion the accessibility and effectiveness of photography as an art form.”

“We’re excited to offer this new special award in collaboration with IGPOTY”, said Clare Dixey, Thompson & Morgan’s marketing services manager. “As one of the UK’s largest mail order seed and plant companies, with a long tradition of excellence in gardening and horticulture, we’re always keen to encourage people to garden and to grow. To be able to see fabulous photographs of our plants flourishing in people’s gardens, will be a proud moment for us.”

To enter, go to https://igpoty.com/competitions/thompson-morgan-joy-of-gardening-2017/

The closing date for the IGPOTY Thompson & Morgan special award is 31st October 2017.

Chelsea Gold hat trick for Great Pavilion potato display

For the third year in a row, Morrice and Ann Innes of Newmachar, north of Aberdeen, have won a prestigious RHS Chelsea Gold Medal for their potato exhibit in the renowned Flower Show’s Great Pavilion. However there are no flowers on their stand which is sponsored by Thompson & Morgan; only potatoes.

Gold award winners Morrice and Anne Innes

Their award-winning potato display of 154 different varieties aims to highlight the diversity and versatility of the nation’s favourite vegetable, whilst tracing the origins of some of the potatoes in Morrice’s extensive collection of some 500 varieties.

The gold award winning Chelsea display of 154 varieties.

In 2015, Morrice and Ann won the first ever Chelsea Gold Medal for a potato-only display in the show’s 150 year history. They won again in 2016 and have again been awarded Gold today, scoring the maximum number of points possible in all three marking categories.

Displayed on the stand this year is a selection of Wild Solanum potato plants, grown by Morrice and Ann, and by Thompson & Morgan’s Joseph Jarrold and Sharron Cook. Also on show are tubers of Solanum Tuberosum, cultivated from wild species of the group Stenotomum, as well as a selection of mini tubers which are in the early stages of new variety production.

Thompson & Morgan’s commercial director, Paul Hansord, said: Amid all the glamour and colour of the world’s most celebrated flower show, it’s great to see a homage to the humble potato win another Gold Medal. Morrice and Ann have put on a fantastic show again this year.”

Colin Randel commented: With their display, Morrice and Ann tell the tale of the potato. There is an incredible array of colours, shapes and sizes, from very old heritage tubers, right up to our new variety, Vizelle, which will be available exclusively from Thompson & Morgan in September ready for the 2018 growing season.”

RHS Chelsea Best New Plant announced

Thompson & Morgan is delighted to have been recognised in the prestigious Best New Plant 2017 category at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show for a newly developed and very different type of hibiscus, HibisQs ® Petit™ Orange.

Chosen from an impressive list of finalists, HibisQs® Petit™ Orange had previously been awarded the ‘IPM Innovation Award 2017’ in the Flowering Pot Plant category at IPM Essen in January.

“Everyone at Thompson & Morgan is delighted that HibisQs® Petit™ Orange has been placed in the top three of the Best New Plant category. It’s great to see a stunning exotic plant such as this being given the recognition it deserves. Its flowers really have to be seen to be believed!” said Paul Hansord, Thompson & Morgan’s commercial director.

From new breeding and selected from tens of thousands of seedlings, HibisQs® Petit™ Orange differs from other traditional hibiscus with its smaller, vibrant orange, bicoloured flowers, its naturally compact habit and its small and shiny leaves. The plant is aimed at consumers who want a more minimalist, but still exotic product that is suitable for display in the home or on the patio or balcony during the summer months. Flowers are plentiful and long-lasting, blooming from May until the first frosts, while the shiny, dark green foliage provides the perfect backdrop and is an added decorative bonus.

‘HibisQs® Petit™ Orange produces twice as many flowers as traditional Hibiscus and its blooms last for twice as long’

Thompson & Morgan urges Brexit Brits to grow their own

As Britain’s formal exit from the European Union was triggered this week, various companies and a major Dutch bank, reported concerns over prices of fruit, vegetables, flowers and olive oil rising by as much as eight percent.

In its report, Weighing up Future Food Security in the UK: The Impact of the Brexit on Food & Agribusiness in Europe and Beyond, Rabobank, the second largest bank in the Netherlands, specialising in food and agriculture financing and sustainability-oriented banking, said that although details of British trade agreements are unknown, the cost of exports will undoubtedly increase.

Whether you’re for or against the UK’s exit from the EU, there’s no doubt that Brexit will have implications on our imports of fruit and vegetables and other foodstuffs. According to Rabobank, the UK is only 60 percent self-sufficient in terms of food. The report suggests that administrative border checks alone could lead to a hike in prices of between five and eight percent.

What can the British consumer do?

“We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again”, said Paul Hansord, our commercial director, “grow your own!”

“It’s a no-brainer as far as we’re concerned and we’re here to help with lots of ‘how to’ videos and advice on our website. People are so used to getting all their food from shops and supermarkets, but if prices go up as suggested, due to import costs once we’ve left the EU, we’ll need to grow a lot more of our own produce.”

“The fact is that it’s really not difficult to grow at least some of your own fruit and veg. Home-grown is always going to taste better than shop-bought and when you grow your own, there’s no need to worry about pesticides, food miles, the weeks that some shop-bought fruit and veg spend in cold storage; you just pick it or dig it up, and enjoy it – fresh and wholesome – straight from your garden or allotment.”

For help and guidance on growing your own fruit, vegetables and flowers, go to www.thompson-morgan.com/gardening-guides , www.thompson-morgan.com/gardening-for-beginners or www.thompson-morgan.com/how-to-garden

How to Plant up Hanging Baskets

Hanging baskets are a really easy to way to create a stunning display in your garden without too much hard work! Simply choose your colour scheme, buy your hanging basket plants and follow the 3 main principles detailed below and you’ll be sure to have a mass of colour adorning your walls and fences…

 

1. Choosing the right hanging basket

Any type of container can be used as a makeshift hanging basket – we’ve even seen old clothes used as planters! But the easiest way is to invest in an Easy Fill Hanging Basket. These are long-lasting and easy to plant up plus thanks to the little gates around the sides when you insert your plants you won’t damage their roots .

 

2. Choosing your hanging basket plants

If you are planting up a winter hanging basket, you can’t go wrong if you choose our Winter Hanging Basket Plant Collection. Or you could visit our annual bedding pages for a wide selection of pansies, primulas, primroses and other winter bedding varieties.

For the best displays, first you need to decide on a colour scheme, then choose a mixture of trailing and upright plants. Trailing geraniums should be planted on the outside of your basket so they can trail and tumble all summer long. You can then plant an upright geranium in the centre of your basket to give your display height.

Fuchsias also make great basket plants. As with geraniums, use trailing varieties on the outside and then upright varieties in the centre.

If you prefer a mixed display then browse our selection of other hanging basket plants for some inspiration – begonias, petunias, lobelia and verbena all make wonderful hanging basket displays.

When it comes to how many plants to plant in your hanging basket we always say the more the merrier – pack them in for a full display which will look beautiful cascading and tumbling from the baskets (one little plant won’t make much of a display!). But, as a general guide we’d say 5-8 plants in a 12″ basket but if they do not have too much of a bushy habit then 10-12 plants would create a lovely full display.

 

3. Looking after your hanging basket plants

Feeding and Watering

The main thing to remember with hanging baskets is that the plant is completely dependant on you for it’s water and nutrition – a plant in the ground can send its roots out to forage through the earth for water or nutrients – a basket up in the air can’t send a long root down to the ground.

Before planting add some Incredibloom® into the compost. This will give your plants all the nutrients they need to put on a great display all season long. Tests have shown this plant food to help your plants produce up to 4 times as many flowers!

Once planted up make sure your hanging baskets are kept moist – never bone dry and never sitting in puddles. We recommend a good soaking and then leaving them to drain and dry a little until it is moist before watering again. Best to water early in the morning or in the evening to reduce water loss to evaporation.

 

Shaping your plants

Once the plants start growing they will take on their own shape – if you think a plant looks a bit straggly then prune a bit off to tidy the shape. Some like wild baskets and some like neat so it’s to your own preference. Just make sure that you don’t get carried away though as too much pruning can also remove some of the flower buds!

To prune your hanging basket plants cut at the stem just above a leaf joint – the plant will heal over at that point. To stop your plants getting taller nip out the growing tip at a leaf joint. Sometimes we are a little fearful of cutting and trimming our plants in case we cause any damage, but there’s not much that can go wrong. I always think of it as trimming your own hair when it’s got a bit untidy – a little trim up is better than a mad chop that leaves you with a wonky fringe! Mind you, if I ever do trim my own hair, my hairdresser tells me off!

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