Exotic hibiscus overtake traditional poinsettia in battle for Christmas number one, but scented hyacinths still can’t be beaten.
The UK’s biggest online plant retailer has announced its top plant predictions for Christmas following early sales analysis of its seasonal gift catalogue. No surprises that old favourites like amaryllis and Christmas cactus are on the list, but with house plants in general seeing a resurgence in popularity with the British buying public, some brand-new exotic additions have made it into the Thompson & Morgan Christmas Top 10 Sellers for 2015.
Hibiscus ‘Festive Flair’
Poinsettia, a time-honoured Christmas favourite and last year’s no.2, has fallen out of the Top 10 for the first time. Taking its place is the exotic-looking Hibiscus ‘Festive Flair’, which brings a tropical touch to festivities without the fussiness of poinsettia. The large festive blooms stand up to the ravages of central heating and cold draughts much better than the coloured foliage of poinsettia, and will keep on going through January and beyond, bringing weeks of colour in the drabbest part of the year.
Thompson & Morgan Gifts Manager Alice Speedie said: “Poinsettia are a great option for Christmas display but they can be a little tricky to keep in perfect condition, particularly the cheap supermarket imports – set close to heat sources or a draughty window, the foliage can quickly crisp or wilt. They also need a bit of specialist care and exact daylight hours to get them to flower again. Hibiscus however are much easier to care for and will bloom through the year in most households.”
The hibiscus still has some work to do in reaching no.1. The top slot has been held by scented hyacinth ‘Pink Pearl’ ever since the mail order specialist, best known for its offering of vibrant garden plants, started its Christmas gift lines back in 1999. Alice adds: “While we’re seeing increased interest in new exotics like hibiscus and Dendrobium orchids for Christmas display, it seems you can’t beat a bit of yuletide tradition. We supply our hyacinths in timeless bespoke containers, and give them the VIP treatment in order to guarantee quick colour and scent soon after delivery.”
While the traditional pink-flowered Christmas cactus remains a strong contender in 2015, it has a new multicoloured rival snapping close at its heels. Christmas Cactus ‘Tricolour’ offers red, pink and white blooms in one pot, seemingly from the same plant. To create the effect, Thompson & Morgan sets three plants into one large pot creating a most striking display.
All items from the Thompson & Morgan Christmas Gift Catalogue are delivered direct to friends and family if preferred, and are all presented in gift wrapping or decorative pots with a personalised gift message, providing stress-free Christmas shopping from the comfort of home with no need to hit the high street. If you are a last minute shopper you can place orders right up until 6pm on 20th December for guaranteed delivery in time for Christmas.
For a catalogue call 0844 573 1818 or view the range online at www.thompson-morgan.com/christmas-gifts
Thompson & Morgan Christmas Top 10
There is nothing more exciting than rushing downstairs to open the door of your Christmas advent calendar for your tasty treat, even when you are told to eat your breakfast first. Young or old this tradition is enjoyed by all, but why stop at chocolate?
Between 1st and 25th December we’re offering you the chance to win some fabulous prizes and giving you some great offers!
Prizes and offers in our Christmas advent calendar include 1 x £250 worth Thompson & Morgan E-Voucher, a Deluxe Gardening Hamper worth £74.99, 25% off seeds and many more.
For your chance to win these great prizes and view the offers, simply click on today’s date on the calendar and follow the on screen instructions. Each competition/ offer will run from 00:00:00 (GMT) until 23:59:59 (GMT) on the designated day.
Make sure that you come back and visit this page every day from 1st to 25th December so you don’t miss out on your chance to win or pick up a bargain.
Enjoy your Christmas treats!
Thompson & Morgan
Black Friday UK is becoming more popular every year, and since its origination in America it has become highly recognised worldwide. Black Friday occurs the day after thanksgiving and unofficially marks the start of the Christmas shopping season. With deals dominating both online and in-store, you are sure to grab yourself a bargain!
To celebrate Black Friday, Thompson & Morgan are offering you 20% off everything online! Starts Friday 28th until midnight Monday 1st December. Use order code TWEB75YZ in your shopping basket.
Why not take advantage of Thompson & Morgan’s Black Friday deal and buy your Christmas gifts. Take a look at the top Christmas gifts from this year’s range. The customer favourite Gardenia ‘Snowball’ will fill your home with Christmas scents. The gorgeous pearlescent blooms and glossy evergreen foliage make a classy statement, further boosted by an exotic perfume to delight the senses. Presented in a zinc cachepot, it will grace any home with a lasting display of opulent beauty and scent. Normally £17.99, but if you buy two or more you can buy them for only £16.99 where you will still be able to enjoy 20% off!!
Thompson & Morgan’s favourite is the second early cropping potato, Potato ‘Jazzy’. The small potato that packs a big punch! Enormous yields have been produced in their trials – both in the ground and in potato bags. The small waxy tubers are much more versatile than other salad potatoes and literally bursting with flavour – whether you boil, mash, roast or steam them. This exciting new second early variety has been awarded an RHS AGM for its superb garden performance. So why not try Potato ‘Jazzy’ now and make use of Thompson & Morgan’s Black Friday offer!
Our Christmas gifts for gardeners range is new for 2014 to bring you some added inspiration to find that perfect Christmas gift. Christmas is the perfect time to buy your loved one something they need, would like or don’t know they need! As a gardener there is always something that can come in handy. From some new tools, garden vouchers, a watering can or simply a new indoor plant, there is plenty for you to choose from.
You can view our full Christmas gifts for gardeners range here. Why not take a look at all our other Christmas gifts for 2014 including Christmas gifts for her, Christmas gifts for him, Stocking fillers and many more.
Here are our top picks for your green fingered loved one;
Sometimes a gardener can happily and easily spend all day attending their garden or allotment. Our multi use tool and tuck box is the perfect accompaniment to a hard day’s work. Not only will your gardener stay organised, but an extra compartment enables them to take their snacks along too.
Where would a gardener be without their tools, other than left with in a slight pickle? Our Rosa Chinensis Gardening Tools is a collection of award winning gifts for gardeners using iconic imagery from the RHS Lindley Library. The collection includes, trowel and fork, secateurs, pair of gloves and a kneeler, which you can buy individually or as a full collection.
Our Gardener’s Delight Hamper is full of treats and nick nacks, perfect for any gardener. Our hamper collections arrive in a quality wicker basket which can also be used for storage in the garden shed or in the home. Our delight basket includes; 15 packets of seed, trowel and fork, DVD, plant labels, £5 voucher, 3 catalogues, 750g incredibloom®, Secateurs, 3 flower pouches, 20 coir seed/cutting pellets and 20 pricking out pots!
In ‘Ho ho sow’, Jane Scorer shares some great ideas for Christmas gifts.
Are you in the midst of your Christmas shopping? If you are, then I bet you can feel an oppressive weight on your shoulders, that burden of what to buy for people this year. What do you buy for the ones who have everything they need? You’ve done pants and novelty socks to death, you’ve racked your brains for inspiration and you still haven’t got a clue.
Take my advice… buy them all seeds!
Buying seeds as Christmas gifts takes the stress out of Christmas shopping
Wisdom has it that you should choose presents which you, yourself would enjoy. Well, I can’t think of anything I would rather have than seeds – they are pure hope in a packet. The promise of colour, scent and… the return of the sun. All that optimism in a tiny, wrinkled seed!
Many of us have children to buy for, and even if they only have a tiny growing space, like a windowsill, it’s still worth choosing seeds as part of their gift. They won’t want to wait for months to see a result, and you hope to get them hooked on growing, so choose something with a quick return. You might just give them a gift which will last a lifetime – a passion for gardening and growing things. The obvious choices are mustard and cress as the results can be eaten very quickly, and they will grow happily in a tiny space. If they enjoy trying new vegetable tastes and textures, you could buy them alfalfa or mung beans so that they can be eating the germinating sprouts in days.
If the children you buy for have access to a patch of garden, then there are so many more seed options to explore. Sunflowers are an obvious choice, and there are lovely varieties to try like Thompson & Morgan’s dark reds, ‘Claret F1 Hybrid’ and ‘Velvet Queen’. The seeds themselves are very tactile, and large enough for small fingers to plant easily. Although there will inevitably be a wait for germination, that will be richly repaid after the seedling appears, as growth will be rapid – and measurable!
Sunflower seeds – the perfect Christmas gift for children
Children also enjoy novelty, so it might be worth trying Thompson & Morgan’s ‘Snake Gourds’, which produce snake like fruits that can be painted when dried. There is also an easy-to-grow ornamental cucumber, ‘Hedgehog’, which produces a fascinating variety of striped and prickly fruits.
Any seeds chosen for children to grow should germinate easily and reasonably quickly, so that success is only a seed tray away. A negative experience is hardly going to encourage a small, potential gardener. The plants themselves should be tough, vigorous and hard to kill off!
Adolescents are notoriously difficult to buy for, and unless a present hits the spot precisely, it will remain untouched and unused. Seeds are only a couple of pounds a packet though, so if your teenager’s imagination does not ignite, then you haven’t broken the bank. What might appeal? Maybe something exotic, dark and unusual, like sweet pepper ‘Black Knight’ or tomato ‘Black cherry’. Teenagers usually love to eat! Unless your teenager is an experienced gardener, then any seeds chosen would have to be easy to germinate and grow.
For adults, it is more about matching the seeds to an individual’s interests and character. A traditional vegetable grower, who sticks religiously to the same varieties every year, might relish the challenge of unusual varieties like dwarf bean ‘Purple Teepee‘, zingy ‘Rainbow Beet’ or courgette ‘Zephyr’, (which is yellow with a green tip). The same is true of the traditional annual grower, who may, without question, grow the same lobelia and marigolds every year. Encourage them to widen their horizons with new annuals such as yellow and white nemesia cheiranthus ‘Shooting Stars’, whose name describes it perfectly… and it smells of coconut!
Give unusual seeds as gifts to tempt gardeners into trying something different
Passionate gardeners love to try new things and to grow plants they have never grown before. Even someone with a tiny garden could find room for an unusual annual climber, and a good one to try is cobea scandens, with large purple or white flowers. It germinates very easily and grows on well, flowering from late summer onwards. The ‘cup and saucer’ blooms are truly spectacular. Another unusual annual climber is mina lobata or ‘Spanish Flag’, so named because it displays all the colours of the Spanish flag. It is quite vigorous and will ramble over walls and fences.
Ageing or less mobile gardeners can be a problem to buy for, but seeds solve the present predicament yet again! For example, cacti seeds are easy to grow and a mixed packet is full of surprises. It is fascinating to watch the young plants develop and grow into different shapes and sizes. They germinate more easily and quickly than you might think and within a couple of years, they will be reasonably substantial plants, requiring minimum care. Succulents and ‘living pebble’ plants (lithops) are also interesting options.
There are some seeds which you should never buy for a gardener, and I speak from personal experience here! Never buy seeds which will turn an interest into an obsession. That means no auriculas, dahlias, giant veg seeds or alpines. Buying any of those could mean that you see very little of the person you bought them for, as they will be in the greenhouse constantly, or whizzing round the country to show and exhibitions.
So, what would I like Santa to bring me, in his sack? Now, I grew ‘Bishop’s Children’ this year and was amazed by how large and floriferous the plants were in the first season. I vowed I would grow dahlias from seed every year from now on. So, I would be delighted to find dahlia variabilis ‘Redskin’ in my stocking on Christmas morning. It is a mix of dark foliaged dahlias with flowers of varying colours, all compact and free flowering.
Last summer, I visited Sissinghurst garden and fell in love with ‘love in a mist’, such a traditional annual, which is often overlooked. In my own garden I have grown an unnamed variety, saving the seed every year, and scattering it the following spring. The blue of the flowers has become more and more washed out over the years. Sissinghurst grows the most spectacular sapphire blue with a darker blue eye, and the nearest match I can find to it is nigella damascena ‘Oxford Blue’. Go on Santa, get me some!
So, there you are, all your Christmas presents sorted now, and you get a good excuse to spend hours trawling through the seed catalogues too.
You can read more of Jane’s blog posts at Hoe hoe grow