Mr Fothergill’s Seeds were delighted to welcome Sally van der Horst, Secretary General of Fleuroselect, as the keynote speaker at the august open day for the gardening press at their Kentford trial grounds where over 2000 seed lots are tested annually. She was delighted to be part of the Suffolk company’s launch of the plant of the year campaigns for 2020 – rudbeckia and cucumber.
Sally explained the role of Fleuroselect, who will celebrate their 50th anniversary next year, as the international organisation which represents breeders and producers of the starting material for pot and bedding plants, both seed and cuttings. Through a system of European trials varieties are assessed for those which specifically show excellence in breeding which could
then become Fleuroselect Gold Medal winners and FleuroStar winners.
Sally explained that UK companies had been at the core of Fleuroselect since its creation in the 1970’s which is a role Mr Fothergills had been pleased to continue. She commented “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.”
Sally continued to praise Mr Fothergills by saying: “Our Home Garden group has not sat still. Just over 10 years ago we got together to look at how we could talk to each other and better share ideas on a Pan-European scale. Mr. Fothergill’s has been on the organising committee for that from the start, now through our great friend and supporter, Commercial Director, Tim Jeffries.”
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 over 180 varieties. Not only was the trial a delight for the public, who had the opportunity 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. 2019 is the year of the Nasturtium and the Carrot and we have 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. We look forward to similar displays in 2020 for rudbeckia and cucumbers.
Sally explained the rationale behind the campaigns “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. We use children in the photography as we have high hopes that it will encourage them to develop and maintain pleasure in gardening. You can’t start young enough.”