T&M’s highly-regarded horticulturalist celebrates 50 years in horticulture

Left: The Sun’s Peter Seabrook (L) presents Colin Randel (R) with engraved garden fork and spade Right: Colin Randel, Thompson & Morgan’s vegetable product manager and potato expert Photo credits: Thompson & Morgan

Colin Randel, our product manager and vegetable expert here at Thompson & Morgan was last week presented with an engraved commemorative garden fork and spade in recognition of his 50 year contribution to horticulture.

Veteran gardening writer, The Sun columnist and broadcaster, Peter Seabrook, who has known Colin for many years, was on hand at RHS Garden Hyde Hall last Tuesday where we were holding our annual press day, to make the presentation.

Peter commented:

Colin is a real treasure; his knowledge and experience in the world of vegetable growing is remarkable. Whenever I come up with a query on vegetables he is, and has been for many years, my first port of call. He is to be congratulated on his 50 years’ working in the seed trade and on his loyal service at Thompson & Morgan over the last 18 years. Long may he continue to serve vegetable growing gardeners at home and abroad.

Colin’s love of gardening started when, as a young boy, he would help in his grandmother’s garden, planting potatoes and runner beans. He left school at 16 and has been working in horticulture in one form or another since then. Colin learned much of the basics of gardening with the head gardener of the Parker-Bowles estate, Donnington Castle House in Berkshire. As an apprentice, he took day release to the local agricultural college to add to his practical horticultural knowledge. Over the next 26 years, Colin worked developing seed lines at several companies in Berkshire, Devon and Suffolk before moving to Thompson & Morgan here in Ipswich in 2000 to develop the company’s seed potato business.

Thompson & Morgan’s commercial director, Chris Wright, said:

“Colin has been part of the fabric of Thompson & Morgan for 18 years now and he has developed and launched many new and exclusive vegetable lines to UK gardeners. We’re very lucky to have benefited from his incredible fount of knowledge over the years and so we were keen to celebrate his half century in horticulture with this presentation.”

One of the highlights of Colin’s career was his invitation in 1995 to join the RHS Garden Wisley vegetable trials committee. He enjoyed working with other vegetable specialists on this prestigious board for 23 years, acting as Chair for 8 years from 2006.

Colin remarked:

“I was most surprised when Peter made his presentation last week. Of course I know how long I’ve been working in horticulture – time does fly when you do a job that you’re passionate about – but I wasn’t expecting to have this milestone recognised with so many kind words and congratulations!”

 

Thompson & Morgan donates plants to local schools

 

Left: Children from Chelmondiston Primary School holding plants donated by Thompson & Morgan. Right: Children from Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy with a trolley of donated plants. Photo credits: Thompson & Morgan

 

Last week we donated over 1,500 plants to two local schools. The PTA of Chelmondiston Primary School, near Ipswich, was delighted to receive the plants which have been planted in the Key Stage 1 garden and playground area to brighten it up whilst the rest have been sold to raise money for a new outdoor classroom.

Catherine Seel, a parent and Chelmondiston Primary School PTA member, said:

“Many thanks to Thompson & Morgan for this generous donation of plants! We’re so pleased to be able to plant some of them around the school and to use the others to raise funds for our outdoor classroom”.

Plants were also donated to Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy in Ipswich.

“We would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to Thompson & Morgan for this very kind donation of summer annuals and perennials which are being sold to raise funds for some much-needed outdoor sensory equipment to enhance our sensory garden area”.

Peter Freeman, our new product development manager, commented:”

It was a pleasure to be able to donate these plants to local schools. We planted over 14,000 plants at the end of May at RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Essex for our Floral Fantasia exhibition garden and had a few left over! We’re always keen to encourage young people into gardening, so it’s fantastic that these plants will be put to good use in the schools’ gardens – and also to help raise funds.”

 As you may have heard, we’ve recently transformed an area of the well-known RHS Garden Hyde Hall site in Essex into a magnificent floral exhibition, Floral Fantasia, which is showcasing many varieties of T&M’s range of bedding plants over the summer months.

To view our extensive range of bedding plants, go to https://www.thompson-morgan.com/bedding-plants

For more information on Floral Fantasia at RHS Garden Hyde Hall this summer go to

https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/hyde-hall

About Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy

Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy is a special school for children with a wide range of physical, medical and/or sensory needs and associated learning disabilities.

 

THOMPSON & MORGAN TAKES FIRST AND THIRD PLACES FOR RHS CHELSEA PLANT OF THE YEAR

Hydrangea hybrid Runaway Bride® ‘Snow White’                                                                      SunBelievable™ ‘Brown Eyed Girl’

We’re thrilled to announce that our entry ‘Hydrangea hybrid ‘Runaway Bride® ‘Snow White’ has today been awarded the prestigious accolade of RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year.

When we announced yesterday that no less than five of our seven entries had made the shortlist of 20 plants selected by RHS plant committee members, we hardly dared to hope that one of these would take the renowned title at judging today. In fact, our home-bred entry, SunBelievable™ ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ has taken third place, giving us two slots in the Plant of the Year top three!

‘Hydrangea hybrid ‘Runaway Bride Snow White’  is completely unique in that it flowers not only from its terminal buds as with traditional hydrangeas, but also from virtually all the lateral stem buds. Flowering from late spring/early summer well into autumn, Hydrangea hybrid ‘Runaway Bride’ produces a profusion of lacecap white flowers flushed with pale pink – often 6 along each branch – on graceful, trailing stems.

Paul Masters, our Head of Horticulture, comments this afternoon from RHS Chelsea Flower Show:

“We’re completely over the moon to have taken first and third places in this year’s RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year. ‘Runaway Bride’ is a truly spectacular plant – I’ve never seen so many flowers on a hydrangea! To see six blooms on each branch is unheard of. It really is incredible!”

SunBelievable™’Brown Eyed Girl’ is the latest of our many breeding successes. This brand new hybrid has been perfected over 8 years by Thompson & Morgan’s in-house breeding team, headed by Charles Valin. Like no other sunflower, SunBelievable™ flowers on unique multi-branching plants continuously from May until the first frosts. In trials, plants were still blooming in November! Ideal for containers as well as borders, each plant produces over 1,000 flowers during the growing season.

Head plant breeder, Charles, says:

“I’m incredibly pleased to hear that SunBelievable™’Brown Eyed Girl’ has been awarded a place in the top three Plant of the Year at RHS Chelsea. I set out to breed a new hybrid that wouldn’t waste time setting seed and would put all its energy into flowering. In creating this amazing new sunflower, I’ve crossed the very best with the very best to really boost its flower power. It’s a huge honour to have our hard work recognised by such a prestigious body.”

Easy to grow, quick to recover if neglected, heat and drought tolerant, SunBelievable™ is the first cutting-raised annual sunflower with multiple uses as a pot plant, patio decoration, bedding and as a cut flower.

All our shortlisted plants as well as other shortlisted entries are available from www.thompson-morgan.com/chelsea-2018

 

Five entries shortlisted for RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year

FIVE THOMPSON & MORGAN ENTRIES SHORTLISTED FOR RHS CHELSEA PLANT OF THE YEAR

We’re so proud to announce that FIVE of our seven entries into the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year competition have today been shortlisted. We were awarded this very distinguished accolade in 2012 for our fabulous Digitalis Illumination.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year finallists

Our Head of Horticulture, Paul Masters, commented this afternoon from RHS Chelsea Flower Show:

“I’m thrilled that we’ve got five plants through to the final – including two that are from our own breeding. Each of the plants is so incredible in its own way, we’re really so pleased that this has been recognised by the judges today. We’re keeping everything crossed for the final selection tomorrow!”

Sunbelievable™’Brown Eyed Girl’ is the latest of our many breeding successes. Like no other sunflower, Sunbelievable™ flowers on unique multi-branching plants continuously from May until the first frosts. In trials, plants were still blooming in November! Ideal for containers as well as borders, each plant produces over 1,000 flowers during the growing season. This brand new hybrid which has been perfected over 8 years by our in-house breeding team, headed by Charles Valin, is bred to be sterile so it puts all its energy into flowering rather than setting seed.

Stunning Hydrangea hybrid ‘Runaway Bride’ is completely unique in that it flowers not only from its terminal buds as with traditional hydrangeas, but also from virtually all the lateral stem buds. Flowering from late spring/early summer well into autumn, Hydrangea hybrid ‘Runaway Bride’ produces a profusion of lacecap white flowers flushed with pale pink – often 6 along each branch – on graceful, trailing stems.

The third short-listed plant is another breeding success from our in-house team. Isotoma axillaris ‘Fizz n’Pop Glowing Purple’ is an extra-large-flowered Isotoma boasting an exceptional unfading colour of bright purple. Flowers and petals are much larger than traditional Isotoma and instead of fading over the flowering period, they actually become darker with age.

Next on the list is the latest in the Garvinea® Gerbera series is Gerbera hybrida Garvinea® Sweet Sunset®. Sweet Sunset® is the very first bi-colour variety. Uniquely, this fabulous, vibrantly-coloured gerbera flowers non-stop from early spring until the first frosts, producing masses of large, warm yellow-orange flowers on each plant – more than 100 per plant each year.

The last on the list of the shortlisted plants for RHS Chelsea Flower Show’s Plant of the Year is the amazing Dahlia Lubega Tricolour. This strikingly attractive dahlia represents a major colour breakthrough. Red, yellow, orange and white areas on the petals give the blooms an ever-changing appearance through the flowering period. In a never-before-seen colour combination, flowers will seemingly change colour as the season progresses. It has taken 5 years for this variety to come to the commercial market after its unique colouring was discovered during a bicolour breeding programme.

All plants are available from www.thompson-morgan.com

Thompson & Morgan and RHS Garden Hyde Hall team up for a ‘Floral Fantasia’ this summer

We’re teaming up with RHS Garden Hyde Hall to create a fabulous garden for an event this summer, aptly named Floral Fantasia. We’re transforming an area of the well-known RHS site near Chelmsford in Essex into a magnificent floral exhibition, showcasing many varieties of bedding plants.

Over four months from June to September, visitors will see thousands of summer bedding plants displayed in beds, pots and hanging baskets in and around the Floral Fantasia garden.

The theme of the event is ‘Inspiring Gardeners Old and New’ and aims to provide visitors with inspiration to create floral impact in their own gardens.

RHS Garden Hyde Hall Head of Site, Ian Le Gros, says:

I’m delighted to welcome Floral Fantasia to Hyde Hall for the first time and it’s been great to work with Thompson & Morgan on this project. It will provide a dazzling display during the summer months and will surely inspire novice and seasoned gardeners, both old and young, to have a go at growing themselves.

 Bedding plants are simple to grow and add instant impact to your garden be it in baskets and pots or as gap-fillers for your border, so by the time our visitors have seen the display, they will hopefully go home buzzing with ideas for their own gardens.”

 Our own Head of New Product Development, Peter Freeman adds:

We’re thrilled to be working with RHS Garden Hyde Hall to design and create the T&M Floral Fantasia garden. I think it will be one of the highlights of the summer in the East of England! We will be planting many traditional summer favourites, as well as a selection of our new introductions some of which are exclusive to Thompson & Morgan.

 We’re particularly excited about our new and exclusive sunflower, Sunbelievable™ which will be on display in borders and pots. There will certainly be tons of inspiration for visitors to take home with them!”

 Floral Fantasia at RHS Garden Hyde Hall runs from 1st June to 30th September 2018.

To view our extensive range of bedding plants, go to www.thompson-morgan.com/bedding-plants

For more information on Floral Fantasia at RHS Garden Hyde Hall this summer go to

www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/hyde-hall

About the RHS

Founded in 1804, the RHS is a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. It aims to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and is committed to making the UK a greener and more beautiful place. The charity’s core objective is to be the world’s leading gardening charity by inspiring passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture.

Pin It on Pinterest