Mr Fothergill's Press Day visit

The annual visit to Mr Fothergill's trial grounds for their press day is one of my very favourite days of the year.
The day of the visit dawned with a threat of impending torrential rain.  Wellies and raincoats were packed into the car and we hoped beyond hope that we might get around the trial grounds before the downpour really set in.
I almost do not know where to start, but as 2020 is designated the Fleuroselect 'Year of the Rudbeckia' it seems a nice idea to start here.  I love a good rudbeckia and seeing the different shapes and colours that make up this wonderful flower was very good to see.
It is also going to be the year of the cucumber, I personally dislike the taste of cucumbers intensely, but for the sake of completeness I mention it and wish you well if they are your thing.
Back to the flowers, flowers are far more my thing any day of the week.  This is one of the seed mixes from the Mr Fothergill's group.
as is this. I spent quite a bit of time standing in front of the seed mix areas.  I have never really tried sowing a seed mix.....
.... so  I decided to remedy this.  Next year I will be sowing these, I will let you know how I get on.
I admired the hollyhocks for quite a while, these are the frilliest of frillies and I love them.  I have some growing in my garden and I know I need to grow more.  I know that rust can be a problem but looking at these they look fine and most in my garden seem to escape it so far.  I am happy to take the risk as the flowers are worth it.
I also admired the coleus (Solenostemon if you want to be accurate).  I have revived my love of this plant this year and seeing them being grown outside like this was a joy.  They seem to be handling the heavy rain and fierce sun we have had this year well.

The field is always a riot of colour.  I try not to think of it as a shopping list, but I know that for me it is.
I always enjoy when we go into the polytunnels as there is such a wide range of vegetables growing in there.  There are rows of peppers and tomatoes and so many different types of aubergine.  I am growing aubergines this year after being inspired by a visit to Mr Fothergills, these white ones 'White Knight' caught my eye this year.  A friend on Twitter suggested they were Hattifatteners (check out the Moomin books if you need to find what these are).
I always come away from this day inspired to try something new.  I want to grow sweet peppers next year.  I have never tried them so far, so I will have to give them a go.
I did pick up a packet of these Climbing French Beans 'Sunshine'.  I love a yellow French Bean, I find the flavour usually very good and I think they look nice too.  I am looking forward to sowing these.
Every year the staff at Mr Fothergill's have competitions in the trial grounds.  This year one of the competitions was to create a childrens' garden.
The staff take the competition seriously.
They put a lot of time and effort into these small gardens.

At the Press Day Mr Fothergill's take the opportunity to name a new sweet pea.
This year the sweetpea is 'Mayflower 400' as next year is the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower setting sail for the New World.
I love a good sweetpea so I am looking forward to growing this new exclusive variety.
The day is also used to update us on how much Mr Fothergill's has raised for the various charities it supports.  This year they told us they have raised in total more than £80k for the Royal Chelsea Hospital through selling the poppy 'Victoria Cross'; 25p per packet sold is donated to the hospital.  Last year Mr Fothergill launched a range of seeds to support BBC Children in Need and this has so far raised over £20k.   In total over the last five years Mr Fothergill's have raised over £150k for the various charities that they support, this is impressive.

The rain held off almost to the moment to when we started the indoors part of the day so wellies were not deployed.  I have to thank everyone at Mr Fothergill's for such a lovely day, I have come away full of inspirational thoughts of flowers and vegetables and looking forward to next year's growing season.  Thank you.