No weight-watching for these WHOPPERS!

one of the paton whoppers

Champion pumpkin growing twins, Ian and Stuart Paton from Southampton are at it again!  This year they have four pumpkin babies which are currently piling on a massive 60lb or 4 stone a day!  The twins are well on the way to giving their record-breaking 160 stone pumpkin of 2016 a run for its money.

The water and electricity bills are going through the roof to keep the pumpkins hydrated and warm and in an effort to beat the record once again.  The growing pumpkins are being kept at a constant 18°C, even throughout the night for the first time.  This seems to be working as the rapidly expanding pumpkins are currently 10% ahead of last year’s winner with a circumference of 19ft.  The Paton’s will need to hire a special, super-charged, truck to lift the enormous pumpkin as their tractor will not be up to the job.

However, size isn’t everything as one false move and the pumpkin skin can split making it ineligible for the weigh-in.  The official weigh-in is on Saturday 14th October at the Royal Victoria Country Park, Southampton, so make a day of it and enjoy the Jubilee Sailing Trust Autumn Pumpkin Festival and Scarecrow Avenue.

For the first time in 2017, the competition will also include the Tomato Gigantomo weigh-in and these entries will be a welcome addition to the pumpkins on display.  So if you have any Gigantomo hanging around, why not bring them along on the day.

Pumpkin growing really is everything to the dedicated pumpkin-growing twins and the ultimate accolade has been bestowed on Ian Paton.  He has been made President of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, a world-renowned organisation.  Well done to Ian as it is an honour to be asked.

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

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