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We have quite good yields of Big Brother, Jeannie, Glasnevin, Snowlight and Solitude from New Zealand, but there wasn’t much of Zillah Harrod.  All of these will be tested at Rush before being released.  We have heard rumours of some grandiflora types appearing in white bulked in New Zealand, and added to that the wonderful Annette Conole has had to hand over her Sweet Pea growing to other people.  All being well, though, we will sell Snowlight as our novelty and Solitude for the first time in 2015.

Updated on 25th July, 2014
Down Under
Big Brother

Thomas Butterly took a risk but judged well - he got the overhead glass sprayed to prevent the plants drying up in early heat. This has worked very well for Chris Harrod, Dream Girl, and Janetta Harrod, giving high yields, but Glasnevin looks disappointing. Growing by the east wall, Bridget McAleer grew well early on but fat pods are few and far between again this year, while along the same row Sophisticated Lady showed great persistence and masses of blooms but her pods were slow to set.  This wall was heavily shaded by the neighbour’s wild mallows, which probably caused or at least contributed to the poor yields we are expecting from these two of our newest varieties..

Our Sweet Pea Crop at Rush, Co. Dublin

Roger Parsons Sweet Peas will

sell our seed: and we’ll stop.

Visitors to Mr Fothergill's sweet pea competition, held at Capel Manor College in early July 2013, had the opportunity not only to see plenty of beautiful blooms grown by everyday gardeners and serious exhibitors, but also to vote for their all-round favourite from a selection of 12 varieties presented for their inspection. It may only have been a bit of fun, but the company took notice of the 'people's choice' and is now offering seed of Valerie Harrod on its website.

"Valerie Harrod was a runaway winner, so we felt he had to offer it in our range", explained Mr Fothergill's technical manager Tracy Collacott, who staged the blooms for the public vote. "It's a smashing orange pink variety and the most successful exhibition variety in its colour, so it makes sense to offer it. On top of that, it is large flowered and well scented".

It seems a little surprising that rather than increasing the demand for seed of Valerie Harrod, all this free publicity in 2013 seems to have made Cooltonagh customers try out other varieties for 2014.

Yes, Roger Parsons has agreed to take over our business of retailing Irish Sweet Pea seed.  That gives our customers a big increase in choice, it gives our varieties a world-wide exposure in which to compete, and it gives Roger’s customers access to Irish-grown seed of Irish-bred Sweet Peas.

Sydney Harrod says, “I was afraid this change might be difficult for those of our customers who only want half a dozen seed of each kind, but Roger says he sells a lot of packets containing just ten seed.  You know, I have had a lot of fun in interacting with such interesting people by post, e-mail and telephone for eight years, but Valerie and I are ‘getting on’.  So now we find ourselves economically obliged to pack up a lot of hobby paraphernalia, stop trying to keep the garden right, and move into town.”

Roger has not been sending his attractive but weighty catalogue to all his overseas customers, but we will just get one bundle for Ireland and post them at inland rates.