World’s Greatest Garden Photography Competition

The world’s greatest garden photography competition joins forces with Thompson & Morgan

Thompson & 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.

Oh peas behave!

Shiraz peas

I just love growing peas throughout summer. Possibly because it brings back happy memories of foraging in amongst rows, the enjoyment of hunting for the largest pods and trying to hide the fact you’ve eaten half the pods your mother needs for dinner!

At the pub (one of the businesses I grow at) this year I’m growing four 12 metre rows, sown every two weeks. The variety is ‘Shiraz‘ and grown as a Mangetout. The plants have colourful flowers and stunning purple pods. I find they have a slightly more earthy taste to them which I really like. Working with the chefs we’ve found that if you stir fry them very briefly they hold their colour and keep their crispness!

It’s never too late to sow peas in my book, especially if you’re after mangetout and shoots. I’ve sowed small rows in August/September and still had a decent glut.

Peas germinating

I start by getting my peas to shoot in an air tight container. I find the best ones are my partner’s cake boxes (she’s never that happy about that) but any sealable container will do. Place a layer of damp newspaper in the bottom; add the peas and a little water. Cover with another layer of damp newspaper and seal up. Leave for around 48hrs or until they start to shoot.

Not only does this give them a kick up the backside, it also stops rodents using them as an all you can’t eat buffet.

You can sow them in pots, tubs or gutters but I’ve always sown direct and I’m yet to have a failed crop.

sowing peas

I rake out a furrow along the row with a depth of roughly an inch. It’s important not damage the shoots that have appeared on your peas when you remove them from the container.

covering peas

Spread them along the length of your desired row, no need to be too precise or stingy with the coverage as they won’t struggle being so close. Cover them all with a layer of soil and a sprinkle of water if the weathers dry!

protecting peas

I also cover the ground with a homemade chicken mesh cover but you can get proper cloche hoops/kits for small rows.

This is mainly to stop your not so friendly pigeons indulging in fresh pea shoots!

 

Once the peas have reached around 15cm I set up a 4/5ft post and netting support frame. This is perfect for long rows but for small rows you can use string, twine, hazel and sycamore…. basically anything they can grab hold of!

supported peas

After that just sit back and wait for your first pods…..

shiraz peas harvest

 Peas always behave and I can’t wait!!

Sam Corfield
Having trained at Duchy College in Cornwall, he then spent 10+ years on and off working at The Lost Gardens of Heligan. In between Sam has setup a garden at RHS Hampton Court show, lived and worked on large private garden in New Zealand and worked for the BBC as a Natural history cameraman.

Sam now advises, designs and builds vegetable gardens for businesses, allowing them to grow their own crops. He tends to grow slightly more unusual crops and loves experimenting!

Harvest time in the garden!

At long last all the hours of weeding, digging ,sowing and watering are paying off.

The Broad beans Aquadulce Claudia sown in the autumn have produced a good crop all now safely in the freezer. We have only just finished last years. The space left by them will accommodate the French beans which I always leave sowing until later.

The first root of new potatoes Rocket was dug today, enough for two meals easily and cooked with  fresh mint, delicious.

Radish Bacchus harvestThe autumn planted garlic has been lifted and is now under the covered area drying and we will have plenty to keep us going until next spring.  This empty space will be ideal for another sowing of lettuce and spring onions.  We have been eating lots radish Bacchus, if you like your radish with a strong hot taste then this is the one for you and it grows very quickly.

In the greenhouse the tomato plants, cucumbers and peppers  are  all doing very well and I am now feeding once a week to increase the yield. I am still taking out the side shoots from the tomatoes. I accidentally knocked the growing tip off one of the plants so I am allowing the side shoot near the top to take over and it will continue to grow and produce flowers.

 

The fruit cage is bursting at the seams now all the currants, strawberries and summer raspberries are ripening and we have had the first pick to eat at breakfast.  Rhubarb crumble was on the menu the other evening and there is still plenty  more to come for a few weeks for us and for  the freezer.

I love this time when the fruits of your planning and labour come good and nothing can quite beat the taste or satisfaction of home grown produce.

I shall be away on holiday for a while leaving my husband in charge of the watering and harvest while I enjoy some Greek sunshine.

Theresa Bloomfield
I have had my hands in soil ever since I could crawl. I remember well going out into the garden and watching my Father double digging the vegetable plot and being shown how to pick caterpillars off the brassicas. You could say he was an early organic gardener. There was something nice about sneaking round behind the outhouse and pulling rhubarb and dipping it in sugar, picking raspberries and stuffing handfuls into my mouth. It is these memories of taste and smell that never leave you and make you want to grow your own fresh fruit and vegetables.

It has been something of a treat then, to find myself working for Thompson and Morgan for the past 13 years and being able to help customers to solve their gardening problems

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’

Finally, some rain!

Theresa vegetable garden after the rain

After several weeks without any significant rain last night we had 21mm enough to create puddles and fill all the water tanks.  The potatoes have visibly grown during the day and everything looks green and healthy.

The spring onion White Lisbon and the Radish Bacchus only sown 6 days ago are up as are the Little Gem lettuce and the Lollo Rosso.  We’re looking forward already to fresh salad from the garden.

I have sown the first Parsnip Tender and True; this seems to do very well here and overwinters nicely in the ground.  I shall do another row in a couple of weeks.  The cabbage Hispi and Red Jewel and beetroot Boltardy seeds sowed in cells will be ready to go out  in about a week, then I shall do a second sowing of them as well.   The runner beans are out as they were growing very quickly, the second sowing will go out a in a few weeks to stagger the crop a little.

Peonies

The spring garden is all finished and everything is growing very fast now for the summer. Bearded iris, Peony, Alliums and Perennial wallflowers are all colouring up.  Soon it will be planting out for the bedding and tubs.  Have bought some colourful pots today and will fill them with Garden Ready plants as I do not have enough greenhouse space to grow on small plugs. The pots are destined for decorating a wedding venue in August so I have got to get that right!

Theresa Bloomfield
I have had my hands in soil ever since I could crawl. I remember well going out into the garden and watching my Father double digging the vegetable plot and being shown how to pick caterpillars off the brassicas. You could say he was an early organic gardener. There was something nice about sneaking round behind the outhouse and pulling rhubarb and dipping it in sugar, picking raspberries and stuffing handfuls into my mouth. It is these memories of taste and smell that never leave you and make you want to grow your own fresh fruit and vegetables.

It has been something of a treat then, to find myself working for Thompson and Morgan for the past 13 years and being able to help customers to solve their gardening problems

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