Launched for Mr Fothergill’s by Sally van der Horst of Fleuroselect
Next year has been designated Year of the Rudbeckia by Fleuroselect, that lovely member of the daisy family, a stalwart of prairie planting and late summer borders.
The plants can be grown from seed to flower the same year – some are half-hardy perennials treated as annuals and there is a hardy perennial group too.
Fleuroselect is a horticultural industry group which judges new varieties and works to protect and popularise them. Each year, a flower and a vegetable (2020 is the cucumber) is chosen to promote.
Open day’s keynote speaker
Secretary-general Sally van der Horst appeared as the keynote speaker at Mr Fothergill’s open day in August at their Kentford trial grounds, where more than 2,000 seed lots are tested annually.
Sally explained that through a system of European trials, varieties are assessed for those which show excellence in breeding which could then become Fleuroselect Gold Medal and FleuroStar winners.
She said: “The youthful Mr Fothergill’s joined Fleuroselect after they set up business and have been a proud and positive supporter ever since.
“They are part of the group of companies within Fleuroselect who focus on supplying the home garden market.
“Filling and selling seed packets accounts for most of their main business and I am sure if you look at their assortment there are many wonderful varieties that have received a Fleuroselect Gold Medal.”
The Home Garden Group developed a Plant of the Year campaign to promote one crop each year in both flowers and vegetables that is suitable for hobby gardeners, starting first with the sunflower, which was supported by a spectacular display at RHS Wisley of more than 180 varieties.
Not only was the trial a delight for the public, who had the chance to vote for their favourite, but there were visitors from breeding companies from all over Europe and even Japan paying a visit.
From displays at one successful location at Wisley, there are now displays in Ireland, France and Germany.
Plant trials across Europe
2019 is the year of the Nasturtium and the Carrot and Mr Fothergill’s has Nasturtium trials at RHS Harlow Carr and Hyde Hall as well as the Jardins des Plantes in Paris, Ega Park in Erfurt, Teagasc, Ashtown Food Research Centre in Dublin and the spectacular Blumeninsel Mainau on Lake Constance.
The company looks forward to similar displays in 2020 for Rudbeckia.
Sally added: “We believe that the campaign highlights the diversity in each species, and we hope that gardeners will branch out and try some of the newer varieties.”