Plant breeder, Kerley & Co and wholesale distributor, Ball Colegrave, are working together to bring plant sales donations to the David Colegrave Foundation (DCF) to support students studying horticulture in the UK.
Kerley & Co, will donate 50% of the proceeds from the royalties collected from Ball Colegrave of sales of Begonia Sweet Spice Bounty, to DCF for the next 2 years. The donations will be used to fund DCF’s Student Scholarships.
Specialising in breeding patio plants grown from cuttings, Kerley & Co is a growing family business based near Cambridge. Begonia Sweet Spice Bounty is a new variety of vegetatively-propagated Begonia bred by Tim Kerley, a partner in the business and also the first recipient of DCF’s Markham-Colegrave Scholarship.
Ball Colegrave (formerly Colegrave Seeds), is a wholesale distributor of seed and plants to commercial growers and local authorities and was founded in 1962 by the late David Colegrave and his wife Nancy.
Tim Kerley comments: “I can testify to the importance of the Foundation in supporting horticulture students. More than 10 years ago, I was a recipient of an award from the DCF to support my work placement in the USA. Years later, the experience and contacts I gained are still important to me at Kerley & Co. We are therefore delighted to work with our longstanding friends at Ball Colegrave to make a donation to the DCF for every plant sold in the UK of Begonia SweetSpice Bounty.”
Stuart Lowen from Ball Colegrave adds: “We too are delighted to be working closely with Kerley & Co in raising funds for the DCF. This outstanding variety captivated visitors so much at the RHS Wisley New Variety Trials in 2018, it was voted winner of the People’s Choice Award. It would be nice to think that monies raised from the sale of this plant variety would go on to support the development of more experts like Tim into our industry.”
Well-known gardening writer and television broadcaster, Peter Seabrook who is a DCF Trustee adds “this is a very generous offer by Kerley & Co and Ball Colegrave for which DCF has many thanks. It will go a long way in supporting the new talent that is coming into the industry which is a priority for the sector.”
Peter describes Begonia ‘Sweet Spice Bounty’ as “a first rate introduction, with masses of fully double bicolour flowers, lovely weeping habit and delicious fragrance. Best grown in a hanging basket so the flowers are held at head height, just right to savour the perfume, but equally good in containers.”
Begonias were voted a plant favourite in the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) annual People’s Choice Awards 2018 with Begonia ‘Sweet Spice Bounty Coral’ being the New Plant Variety Winner. Visitors to RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey were asked to vote for their favourite from 84 new varieties trialled over the summer.
Begonia Sweet Spice Bounty will be on show at Gardeners World Live in June 2019 and will be available to order from Ball Colegrave’s 2020 Plant Catalogue.