Henry Eckford – this wonderful heirloom, introduced in the very early 1900s, has blooms in bold orange-red, shading to salmon. Strongly scented and best grown in part shade this variety reaches 120-150cm in height.
Price for 15 seeds
Who was Henry Eckford
Henry Eckford was born in Stenhouse, Scotland in 1823. When he was 16, he was apprenticed in the gardens of Beaufort Castel near Inverness. After employment in various Scottish gardens he went on to become the head gardener for the 5th Earl of Radnor at Coleshill in Berkshire in 1854. From this date he is known to have started experimenting with plant breeding (including dahlias and verbenas). In 1870 he moved again to Gloucester, it was here that he was particularly encouraged in plant breeding, he started to concentrate on sweet peas in 1879. By 1888 he had established his own plant nursery, ‘Eckford’s Nursery, in Wem, Shropshire. It was here that he perfected the breeding of his Grandiflora sweet peas: these displayed great improvement in the size of the blooms and general performance over earlier varieties. In 1905 he was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour by the RHS in recognition of his contribution to horticulture, he died at the end of that year. The Eckford Sweet Pea Society of Wem has held a sweet pea show each year in July (except during the recent pandemic) with a section dedicated to old fashioned varieties, featuring many originally bred by Henry Eckford.