Thompson & Morgan sweeps the board at the Grow Your Own Great British Growing Awards for the third year in a row
This week we’re celebrating our success in the Grow Your Own magazine’s annual Great British Growing Awards. We’re so proud to have won gold in five categories – Best Fruit and Veg Seed Range, Best Plug Plant Range, Best Online Retailer and Most Innovative Growing Product for its revolutionary TomTato® plant. We were also awarded silver for our award-winning incredicompost® in the category Most Effective Composting Product.
Clare Dixey, Thompson & Morgan’s marketing services manager commented:
“We’re thrilled to have been voted the winner in five categories of the 2016 Great British Growing Awards. We’re particularly proud to have won Best Online Retailer. Knowing that we’re up against some very serious competition in the horticultural online marketplace, this really means a lot.”
The well-known and well-respected gardening magazine invited its readers and online visitors to vote for their favourite gardening companies. Over 12,000 people voted.
The Great British Growing Awards are nominated and voted on by the British gardening public, which makes these awards all the more impressive. Thompson & Morgan prides itself on its wide product range and high levels of customer satisfaction. The fact that the nation’s army of gardeners voted us Best Online Retailer over big players in the market, such as Amazon, is highly commendable.
Paul Hansord, Thompson & Morgan’s commercial director said: “To be so highly rated by the great British gardening public is a true testament to all the hard work and effort that the people at T&M put in to ensure that our products and service are the best in the business”.
Always striving to provide gardeners with the very best customer experience, Thompson & Morgan is now able to offer its customers a new interactive element to its catalogues. Working in conjunction with Layar, a global leader in augmented reality and interactive print, T&M’s products are coming alive in the pages of its plant catalogues this spring.
Easy to use and extremely user-friendly, Layar is the world’s most popular platform for augmented reality. The company aims to ‘bridge the gap between the print and digital worlds’ – meaning that their technology can make printed images ‘come alive’ on the screens of our smart phones and tablets.
Since launching the Layar facility in January of this year, Thompson & Morgan has noticed that an increasing number of its customers are using Layar to view pages in its spring catalogues and are enjoying the new interactive digital experience.
Once customers have downloaded the Layar app onto their smart phone or tablet, they can scan the pages in the T&M catalogue which display the Layar logo. The scanned page then comes to life! Users can tap their device’s screen to view ‘how to’ videos and photo galleries; to buy products; to contact Thompson & Morgan and to share content on social media.
If it all sounds a bit sci-fi and techy and like something from a film starring Tom Cruise, then go to www.thompson-morgan.com/layar for more information and tips on how to get the most out of this fantastic technology.
Thompson & Morgan’s marketing services manager, Clare Dixey said ‘We’re really excited to be offering an augmented reality experience to our customers. T&M is keen to stay abreast of developments in technology which can provide our customers with an enhanced experience. We’re aware that not all of our customers will use the facility, but we’re noticing a good number of customers are enjoying the added content and ease of browsing and ordering’.
With spud prices set to soar for retailers and consumers, Thompson & Morgan brings down the price of seed potatoes and repeats its mantra to ‘grow your own’.
According to sources such as the Financial Times (Feb. 3 2017) and London-based data firm, Mintec (30 Jan. 2017), UK potato prices are up 30% year-on-year due to a decline in production. Their figures show a reduction in UK potato output for 2016/17 of 5%, whilst yields for the 2016/17 season are estimated to be down 8% on last year due to adverse weather conditions seen throughout the growing season. At 5.2 million tonnes, the total UK potato crop was the fourth smallest on records going back to the 1960s. (AHDB Potatoes analysis)
However, while retailers and consumers keep a keen eye on rising potato prices, horticultural mail order company, Thompson & Morgan has brought its seed potato prices DOWN for the 2017 season. As an example, the firm cites one of its most popular potato varieties, Lady Christl. Last year, a bag of 60 tubers of this favourite, creamy-fleshed, easy-to-grow variety was selling for £12.99; this year a 4kg bag containing 64-72 tubers is selling for £9.99 – that’s a per tuber drop in price of 23%!
“I really urge people – gardeners or not – to have a go at growing their own potatoes”, says Colin Randel, Thompson & Morgan’s resident potato expert. “Not only does it look likely that potato prices will go up in the shops, but you know what you’re eating when you grow your own. There’s no need to worry about the pesticides, the food miles, the months spent piled up in storage – you just dig up tasty, wholesome spuds from your garden or allotment”.
And you don’t even need a garden or an allotment; you can easily grow potatoes on your patio or balcony. There really is nothing like the satisfaction of tipping a crop of home-grown potatoes out of a handy grow bag just in time for supper.
For Thompson & Morgan’s full range of potatoes, go to http://www.thompson-morgan.com/potatoes-inspiration and for tips on growing potatoes at home, look at T&M’s handy guides How to grow potatoes in the ground, How to grow potatoes in bags and Potato Selector Guide.
An odd-looking tuber vegetable is proving to be a surprise best-seller for mail order horticultural firm, Thompson & Morgan.
Oca is a knobbly root vegetable that looks a bit like an artichoke. Don’t worry though; they don’t have the same windy after effect! The tubers have a tangy lemon taste which becomes deliciously nuttier when cooked. The red-skinned variety available from T&M have a crisp pale orange or creamy-coloured flesh – fans of ‘eating raw’ can simply wash and slice their oca tubers into salads or crunch them as a tasty and wholesome snack. Oca becomes more starchy when cooked and can be enjoyed similarly to potatoes – boiled, baked, mashed and fried – whilst the shoots and the attractive shamrock-shaped leaves can be added to salads for a tasty citrusy tang.
‘We think that people are buying oca in response to more information being available about it’, commented Paul Hansord, T&M’s commercial director. ‘Oca is easy-to-grow and nutritious and, thanks to some good press recently, it seems to be increasingly appealing to health-conscious gardeners and foodies alike’.
Oca – aka New Zealand yam (it is grown commercially in New Zealand, hence its alternative moniker) – is cultivated extensively in the Andes where it is second only to the potato in terms of the most widely-grown root vegetable. T&M’s trials showed that the perennial oca plant performed well in the UK climate and did not suffer from blight or any noticeable pests. Oca is known to tolerate poor soils and different climatic conditions, which makes it ideal for any British kitchen garden. Plants are attractive too, so gardeners can also cultivate their oca in containers on the patio or decking area.
The nutritional and health-promoting benefits of oca make it well worth growing. It boasts a wide range of micro and macro nutrients including Vitamin C, iron, zinc, calcium, flavonoids, B vitamins and fibre. It is an excellent source of carbohydrates and phosphorus, as well as essential amino acids that promote the health and proper function of muscles, organs, nails, hair, skin and more. Oca is also notably low in calories.
Oca or New Zealand yam is available from Thompson & Morgan’s website www.thompson-morgan.com/oca . Due to the popularity of this nutritious, knobbly tuber and as T&M is only despatching oca until the end of March, customers are being offered 5 tubers for £4.50 and 10 tubers for £6.50 – half their original price. Gardeners will find full growing details for oca on the T&M website www.thompson-morgan.com//how-to-grow-oca-new-zealand-yam
Rosemary roasted oca: Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Wash and then cut any larger oca into chunks so that they’re all roughly the same size. Toss in just enough olive or sunflower oil to coat and then sprinkle with fresh rosemary leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes for very small ones, 20-25 minutes or so for larger oca. They’re ready when they feel tender when pierced with a knife.
Thompson & Morgan’s 3-in-1 concept now includes hebe and fuchsia.
When does 1 ever equal 3? With Thompson & Morgan’s 3-in-1 concept now extended to include hebe and fuchsia, gardeners can effectively plant one plant and it’ll grow into 3! Following the success of its Buddleja ‘Buzz® 3-in-1’, Thompson & Morgan is now selling hebe and fuchsia in the same way, giving gardeners the opportunity to seemingly grow one plant with 3 different flower colours – giving triple the colour in just one pot.
The Buddleja ‘Buzz® 3-in-1’ concept offers 3 plants in a single container. The plants grow in harmony together, creating a compact ‘single’ bush with 3 different coloured fragrant flower spikes – indigo, ivory and candy pink – which are all big favourites with bees and butterflies. T&M’s unique dwarf variety grows little more than 4ft (1.2m) high, but retains all the best qualities of its larger cousin, B. davidii.
Now applied to the ever-popular shrub, hebe, the 3-in-1 concept will create a patchwork effect with gardeners’ planting plans. The three varieties in the Hebe ‘3-in-1 Pot’ – ‘Bronze Baby’, ‘Blue Clouds’ and ‘Eyecatcher’ – grow together to make a really special feature on the patio as the three hebe varieties offer an interesting array of colour and textures. Hebes are great plants for providing impact and structure in the garden with minimum effort, whilst the flowers are a real magnet for bees and butterflies.
Also available this season is the Fuchsia ‘3-in-1 Pot’ featuring Thompson & Morgan’s three best-selling hardy fuchsias. Perfect for packing borders and containers with colour – especially where space is limited – these three fuchsias will grow together as one, with matched growing habits and continual flowering from June to the first really hard frosts. The three varieties are the hot pink ‘Shrimp Cocktail’, ‘Delta’s Sarah’ with its unusual lilac blue flowers, and magenta pink ‘Garden News’ which boasts stunning frosty pink sepals.
– All three of Thompson & Morgan’s 3-in-1 plants are rated ‘perfect for pollinators’ by the Royal Horticultural Society.
– A recent report published by Butterfly Conservation has revealed that more than three quarters of butterfly species have significantly declined in the past 40 years and is urging the British public to act by planting suitable supporting plant species
– Learn more about how to encourage bees to your garden
– Learn more about creating a haven for bees and butterflies in your garden.
– Buddleja ‘Buzz® 3-in-1’, Hebe ‘3-in-1 Pot’ and Fuchsia ‘3-in-1 Pot’ are all available
from £14.99 for a 9cm pot