Roses for Valentine’s Day – What is your favourite?

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching I thought I would have a look at some of the beautiful roses available. Roses come in a wide variety of colours, growing habits and sizes. Some like ‘Rose ‘Sweet Spot Calypso’ are great for growing in patio containers due to their low growth habit. This means you can have roses on a balcony, or even in a small garden, so no excuses for not being romantic.

Rose 'Sweet Spot Calypso'

Rose ‘Sweet Spot Calypso’

Climbing roses such as Rose ‘Climbing Masquerade’ are good at growing up trellises or walls and can therefore be trained to climb, making a beautiful archway down the garden where you can woo your suitors and impress them with your dreamy garden! These double blooms unfurl into a charming shade of yellow and then mature through tones of soft pink to a deep raspberry red colour. Other climbing roses are the beautiful, deep red Rose ‘Pauls Scarlet’ and Rose ‘Golden Showers’ in a bright, bold yellow will also climb up walls and trellises and look great all summer long. If you don’t have much space how about something smaller?




Minature Rose Standards are one of our easiest roses to grow, they are more reliable and floriferous than traditional roses and they too look great in containers on the patio.  They can also be included in your borders, with tones of red, yellow, white and pink these lovelies will be great for picking and giving to your beau when they come over for tea. If a miniature rose is not for you then how about the Rose ‘Giant Collection’? These extra special hybrid tea roses come in a host of colours, with Rose ‘Naomi’ being perfect for Valentine’s Day with its gorgeous shade of red in the traditional Valentines Day colour.

If red is your thing but you don’t want a giant rose then the eye-catching Rose ‘Red Fairy’ (Polyantha) may be for you.  This beautiful hardy shrub is perfect cut flower material and flowers right through summer, it has a neat, compact habit and makes a lovely patio shrub.

Rose 'Red Fairy'

Rose ‘Red Fairy’

Rose ‘For Your Eyes Only’ a Floribunda rose is an early flowering plant that continues right through until autumn. It was the Rose of the Year 2015 and is set to change the face of modern roses with its unique open flowers and central blotching. This compact rose has a short height and is best suited to ground cover or containers, so bunches of roses can be cut and added to a bouquet made at home.

All the roses in Thompson & Morgan’s selection have wonderful colours but the New Rose ‘Hot Chocolate’ is something different. With rusty orange blooms that open out to rich smoky browns, this scented rose has a rich and fruity perfume that will charm any would be suitor, and as an extra bonus it is disease resistant too. This repeat flowering rose continues through summer and into early autumn, making it a long lasting addition to your borders.

Rose Hot Chocolate

Rose Hot Chocolate

These are just a few of the huge range of roses available, and although they may take a while to establish they will always be worth it, just like your love who deserves nothing but the best our roses flourish well with the addition of our Incredibloom.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all…

Wendie Alexander
Currently at university I have nearly finished my English Degree. I have been at Thompson & Morgan for nearly 3 years. I am a keen gardener who wants to learn lots more!

incredicompost® rated best on the market!

Independent trials carried out by consumer group Which? Gardening have named incredicompost® as the best compost on the market. It was given an overall test score of 95 per cent, setting it well ahead of the next best performer, Verve multipurpose compost (B&Q) at 80 per cent. It came miles ahead of the worst performer – GroSure Peat-Free All-Purpose Compost with 4 Month Feed, labelled a ‘Don’t Buy’ product by Which? Gardening, having scored just 33 per cent in the trials.


We knew we were on to a winner with our first move into the compost market. Our aim with incredicompost® has been to develop a premium-quality product that brings consistency and reliability back to the compost market – something that has been missing since the increased use of green waste materials in many well-known brands, in a bid to reduce their peat content. Gardeners are keen to reduce their peat use but many have reported poor results with existing green-waste products.

incredicompost® addresses these consumer concerns. To reduce the peat in our blend we have instead included wood fibre, sourced from Irish saw mills, actually making use of a surplus by-product. This wood fibre is graded by chip size, so each time we make a new batch we can guarantee consistency from our ingredients, leading to consistent performance from the compost.


incredicompost® comes packed with trace elements and minerals and like many other products includes wetting agent for easy watering, plus a little pre-mixed fertiliser to ensure good early growth. What sets it out from the crowd is a pre-packed sachet of incredibloom® in every bag for mixing in at planting time, ensuring strong healthy growth for 7+ months – a little goes a long way! Separating the feed into a sachet prevents degradation (leading to a lack of nutrients for plants), a common problem with other pre-mixed, long lasting composts.

You can read the full Which? compost trial report in the Jan/Feb 2016 issue.

Thompson & Morgan
Since the first seed catalogue was published in 1855, Thompson & Morgan has grown to become one of the UK’s largest Mail Order Seed and Plant companies. Through the publication of our catalogues and the operation of our award-winning website, Thompson & Morgan is able to provide home gardeners with the very best quality products money can buy.

Thrive – the benefits of gardening

Thrive is the leading charity in the UK that uses gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people who are living with disabilities or ill health, or are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable.


This process is known as social and therapeutic horticulture (STH). It uses plants and gardens to improve physical and mental health, as well as strengthen communication skills. Using gardening as a safe and secure place to develop someone’s ability to mix socially and make friends and to learn practical skills is now a proven therapy.

Thrive horticultural therapists use gardening tasks to build a set of activities for each gardener to address their particular health needs, and to work on goals they want to achieve. Last year Thrive worked with over 1,440 client gardeners


What’s so special about gardening?

Gardens are peaceful and restorative. They provide a special place for rehabilitation and recovery. And, being given the opportunity to develop an interest in gardening will give a person benefits that can last a lifetime.

The benefits of an active interest in gardening are:

–          better physical health from exercise and learning how to use or strengthen muscles to increase mobility

–          improved mental health from gaining a sense of purpose and achievement

–          the opportunity to connect with other people – reducing feelings of being alone or left out

–          feeling better for being outdoors, in touch with nature and seeing plants grow, all things that are known to be important to us as human beings

–          the opportunity to learn new things.


More than good health

Improving good health and well-being are at the heart of therapeutic horticulture and there are also other benefits for people who take up gardening.

These benefits are: developing new skills, learning about food growing and what is good to eat, becoming fitter, boosting confidence with new-found knowledge and using this knowledge, and possibly a qualification in horticulture, to get a job.


About Thrive’s work

We work with a wide range of people… people who have injuries from accidents; people with learning impairment; people with mental illness; people with physical impairment such as sight or hearing loss; people with age-related conditions such as dementia, heart problems, diabetes or stroke; young people who have social, emotional or behavioural difficulties; and people who have ill health after leaving the armed forces.

We work in variety of ways. We run therapeutic programmes at our garden sites in London, Reading, Birmingham and Gateshead. We also go out to care homes, village halls, and community projects to encourage gardening activities. And we have a special website that gives lots of information about how anyone can continue gardening at home.


Thrive carries out research

We have brought together a lot of evidence and experience to show exactly how gardening brings about great changes.To spread this knowledge, we run training courses for anyone interested in using horticulture for health and well-being.

In our next blog we will introduce you to some of the people we help.


How you can help and support Thrive

DONATE today. Text Thri02 and the amount you want to give

to 70070; phone us on 0118 988 5688 or donate online at

VOLUNTEER with us in London, Reading, Birmingham or Gateshead

FOLLOW US on Twitter (@thrivecharity) or LIKE our Facebook page

SIGN UP for our newsletters and mailings

For more information contact telephone 0118 988 5688.



Thompson & Morgan
Since the first seed catalogue was published in 1855, Thompson & Morgan has grown to become one of the UK’s largest Mail Order Seed and Plant companies. Through the publication of our catalogues and the operation of our award-winning website, Thompson & Morgan is able to provide home gardeners with the very best quality products money can buy.

The Chelsea Roundup

After all the buzz of setting up, last minute polishing and- for some- the clinking of champagne glasses, Chelsea Flower Show exhibitors can now sit back and rest… well almost! Let’s hope the plants can last another day; the unprecedented hot weather this week has given many exhibitors sleepless nights, as they struggle to keep their displays in dazzling form! So here is The Chelsea Roundup.

The Chelsea Roundup

Newsfeeds were going crazy earlier this week; which celebs are at the show? What are the trends? Who’s going to win best in show? How expensive are those sandwiches…?? You simply can’t deny that Chelsea Flower Show is the most talked about horticultural event of the year, and I love how non-gardeners get on board with it too by being glued to the daily shows on BBC2.

The Chelsea Roundup

Who cares if some of the gardens are outlandish, isn’t that what this show is about? It’s a showpiece to show the best skills in garden design and horticulture. I’m convinced you can always take elements of any garden and use them in your own; planting partners, styles of planting, sculptures, create your own mini Chelsea show garden! One of my favourite gardens was the Help for Heroes garden, designed by Matt Keightley. I loved the planting, interspersed by blocks- for me; it was the perfect fusion of tradition al cottage garden and modernist!

The Chelsea Roundup

Help for Heroes garden, by Matt Keightley

I also liked the artisan garden section, mainly because it was in the shade on such a sweltering day! I loved the Virgin Roof Gardens entry, which featured red Geraniums and dwarf Marigolds from Thompson & Morgan. It was an explosion of colour, yet still cool and relaxing!

The Chelsea Roundup

Virgin Roof Gardens

Every year at Chelsea, my main focus is the floral marquee, where I do a spot of indoor plant-hunting! Here, specialist nurseries show off their skills and variety range. You can come here to see everything from gladioli to passion flowers, bonsai to sweet peas. I must admit I can’t help but feel some of the stands have looked the same for 50 years, but there were some fresh looks. How about hanging amaryllis for example??

The Chelsea Roundup

The Plant of the Year stand is in the floral marquee, where any nursery from the UK can enter. Those plants are whittled down to 20 finalists, but there can only be 1 winner. As soon as I walked up to the display, I knew that Hydrangea ‘Miss Saori’ had the leading edge, even over plants I had entered! Well, I should have visited a betting shop, as my prediction was right, and this picotee, two-tiered Hydrangea was named Plant of the Year 2014!

The Chelsea Roundup

Hydrangea ‘Miss Saori’

Then, tomorrow, it’s the BIG SELL OFF! When the stands are dismantled, and the contents auctioned off. This is an absolutely crazy few hours, and it culminates in the London Underground being filled with people hugging delphiniums…! Phew! Another great show!

The Chelsea Roundup

Michael Perry
Michael works as Thompson & Morgan’s New Product Development Manager, scouring the globe for new and innovative products and concepts to keep the keen gardeners as well as amateurs of the UK happy!

Horticultural Etiquette

Is there a code of horticultural etiquette? Since the recent RHS poll which revealed that one-fifth of gardeners discard of their snails by putting them over their neighbours fence, we have been thinking of other rules and regulations in the gardening world. 78% of those polled by the RHS said they do not throw their snails over fences, but out of that 78% how many really do and won’t admit to it? We may never know but, I believe there will be some people in that percentage that certainly discard of their snails over fence. Sometimes we never like to admit to doing something that is considered wrong or of bad etiquette, i am one of them! Etiquette is a code of behaviour that depicts what is socially acceptable, a standard of what is considered the ‘norm’, if there is such a thing. Here is what we came up with;

1)      Hedges

If planting a new hedge then think carefully about what species to choose. Fast growing conifers can get out of hand if not properly maintained and tend to block light. Just because they don’t block your light doesn’t mean that they won’t be blocking your neighbours! Consider deciduous species and slower growing hedging plants. Maintain boundary hedges. Remember that they grow on both your side and your neighbours – so if it’s your hedge then it’s only polite to offer to cut their side too. Always speak to your neighbour first to ask permission though. Keep hedges to a sensible height. High Hedges are covered under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. This defines a high hedge to be a line of two or more trees or shrubs of more than 2m (approximately 6ft, 6 inches). 

Horticultural Etiquette

2)      Trees

Consider your neighbours when planting new trees, especially if they will grow to block your neighbours light or view. If planting close to the boundary line, will the tree eventually overhang their garden? If so, choose your species carefully.  A fruiting tree such as crab apple can make a real mess on their lawn! On a similar note, any fruits which fall into your garden from your neighbour’s trees will still belong to them as they own the tree. However, they are not obliged to come and clear them up! If you want to pick fruits from branches that overhang your garden then it is advisable to ask permission from the tree owner to avoid any disputes.

Roots that encroach beyond the boundary line are deemed to be trespassing. Technically a landowner is entitled to cut back trespassing roots to the boundary line, however this may cause the death of the tree and is  likely to make it dangerously unstable which could potentially cause property damage, injury or even death! Generally trespassing roots are not an issue unless they remove moisture from the soil beneath buildings which may cause subsidence in later years and therefore become an actionable nuisance. At this point, it’s best to call your insurers and let them sort it out!

Likewise overhanging branches are deemed to be trespassing and you are entitled to cut them back to the boundary line. However in law, the trimmings still belong to the tree owner and should be offered back to them. It always best to ask before you start hacking away at trees – they may be protected by a Tree Preservation Order or be situated in a Conservation Area, and unpermitted pruning could land you in trouble! Often a simple request to your neighbour will be enough to prompt them into action and come and remove the offending branch.

Horticultural Etiquette


3)      General good manners.

Look after borrowed tools as if they were your own and always return them promptly making sure that they are clean and in good working order. Always ask permission before taking cuttings, or removing a seed heads from other people’s gardens. If you have crops to spare then offer them to friends and neighbours. They may well have spare crops of their own so you can do an exchange. Pass the time of day with fellow gardeners – particularly at the allotment. Besides being a friendly thing to do, you will often learn something new!

Horticultural Etiquette


Can you think of any other codes of behaviour for gardeners? Do you follow these or do you go against horticultural etiquette? We would love to know what our gardeners think so please post your comment below!

Terri Overett
Terri works in the e-commerce marketing department assisting the busy web team. Terri manages our blog and social media pages here at Thompson & Morgan and is dedicated to providing useful advice to our gardeners. Terri is new to gardening and keen to develop her horticultural knowledge.

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