Thompson and Morgan

Last updated
Thompson & Morgan
Privately held
Founded1855 Ipswich, England
Headquarters Ipswich, England
ProductsSeeds, young plants (UK), and garden sundries

Thompson & Morgan is an independently-owned company based in Ipswich, Suffolk. Founded in 1855, [1] Thompson and Morgan offer English plants, seeds and sundries worldwide through their websites. The U.S. division of the company was sold to Gardens Alive in 2009. [2]



The company distributes their products through its mail order catalogues, the Internet and retail outlets. Their various websites feature over 8,000 products, showcasing the entire Thompson and Morgan range.

Seed catalogues are distributed to 163 countries worldwide. Thompson and Morgan seeds are stocked in the following countries: Great Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Turkey, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, USA, Canada, Korea, and Japan.


Thompson and Morgan had its origins in a small garden behind a baker's shop in Ipswich, where a young William Thompson's passion for botany grew. His specialty was growing rare and unusual plants whose seeds were sent from countries all over the world. Not only did it provide a sense of adventure for Thompson, it also established friendships with such scientists as Charles Darwin, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker and Sir Michael Foster.

From the back garden he moved to a nursery at the edge of Ipswich and then to an even larger one. Eventually there were three of Thompson’s nurseries in the town. At this time, Thompson began to publish a magazine called The English Flower Garden. [3] [4]

In 1855, after moving from that small 'starter' garden, Thompson issued his first catalogue. He specialised in growing rare and unusual plants, seeds of which were sent to him from many overseas countries. His efforts made him one of the most distinguished plantsmen of his day and he was honored by the Royal Horticultural Society with the Victorian Medal of Honor in 1896.

With the seed-raising firm expanding, William Thompson started his partnership with John Morgan. John provided the business acumen that enabled Thompson & Morgan's continued solid growth. Thompson died in July 1903 at the age of 80, having lived to see Thompson & Morgan become one of the country's greatest seed firms with a reputation for introducing more species and varieties to the British gardening public than any other company.

John Morgan spent the next ten years as sole owner until he partnered with Joseph Sangster in 1913. Sangster was a brilliant horticulturalist who was to add 4,000 plant names to the 2,000 already offered in the T&M catalogue. He took full control of the company upon John's death in 1921.

Joseph's son Murray joined the company in 1933 and the following year Joseph was elected President of the Horticultural Trades Association of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1939, T&M became a limited company and when Joseph died in 1952, Murray Sangster took control. His two sons, Keith and Bruce, joined Murray later. In 1973, they decided to expand their distribution centre in Poplar Lane, Ipswich from where the company still operates. In 1982, Bruce Sangster headed the company's expansion in the US after previously having a distribution base in Jackson, New Jersey. In 1995 this was followed up by the creation of a young plants division in Guernsey in The British Channel Islands. The Sangster brothers subsequently relinquished control of the business in December 1999 for £17.5m.

In May 2002, Thompson & Morgan returned to independent private ownership by Primary Capital Partners, the Sangster brothers and key management. The company was sold to BVG Group in March 2017 through the acquisition of their parent company, Branded Garden Products for an undisclosed amount, however the sale price was estimated at £10m. [5] The new group will have a combined turnover of £140m, with an EBITDA in the region of £13.5m. [5] [6] [7]


In the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018's 'Plant of the year' competition, Thompson & Morgan plants were awarded 1st and 3rd place. [8]


The first Thompson and Morgan catalogue was created in 1855. They now produce over 20 different catalogues that are distributed in the UK, US, French and German markets. Catalogues are distributed by mail and can be requested directly from the company by telephone or via their websites.

Related Research Articles

<i>Geranium</i> Genus of plants

Geranium is a genus of 422 species of flowering annual, biennial, and perennial plants that are commonly known as the cranesbills. They are found throughout the temperate regions of the world and the mountains of the tropics, but mostly in the eastern part of the Mediterranean region.

<i>Lapageria</i> species of plant

Lapageria is a genus of flowering plants with only one known species, Lapageria rosea, commonly known as Chilean bellflower or copihue. Lapageria rosea is the national flower of Chile. It grows in forests in the southern part of Chile, being part of the Valdivian temperate rain forests flora.

<i>Campsis radicans</i> species of plant

Campsis radicans, is a species of flowering plant of the family Bignoniaceae, native to the eastern United State and extreme southern Ontario and naturalized in parts of the western United States as well as in [[Ontario and southern Quebec, parts of Europe, and scattered locations in Latin America. Growing to 10 m (33 ft), it is a vigorous, deciduous woody vine, notable for its showy trumpet-shaped flowers. It inhabits woodlands and riverbanks, and is also a popular garden subject.

Wisteria sinensis species of plant

Wisteria sinensis, commonly known as the Chinese wisteria, is a species of flowering plant in the pea family, native to China, in the provinces of Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi, and Yunnan. Growing 20–30 m (66–98 ft) tall, it is a deciduous vine. It is widely cultivated in temperate regions for its twisting stems and masses of scented flowers in hanging racemes, in spring.

<i>Heliotropium arborescens</i> species of plant

Heliotropium arborescens, the garden heliotrope, is a species of flowering plant in the borage family Boraginaceae, native to Peru. Growing to 1.2 m (3.9 ft) tall and broad, it is a bushy, evergreen, short-lived shrub with dense clusters of bright purple flowers, notable for their intense, rather vanilla-like fragrance. Common names also include cherry pie and common heliotrope. Note that the common name "garden heliotrope" may also refer to valerian (herb), which is not closely related.

<i>Ulmus davidiana <span style="font-style:normal;">var.</span> japonica</i> variety of plants

Ulmus davidiana var. japonica, the Japanese elm, is one of the larger and more graceful Asiatic elms, endemic to much of continental northeast Asia and Japan, where it grows in swamp forest on young alluvial soils, although much of this habitat has now been lost to intensive rice cultivation.

<i>Ulmus</i> × <i>hollandica</i> Smithii

The hybrid elm cultivar Ulmus × hollandica 'Smithii', commonly known as the Downton Elm, was one of a number of cultivars arising from the crossing of the Wych Elm U. glabra with the Field Elm U. minor. The tree was originally planted at Downton Castle near Ludlow, as one of a batch, not all of them pendulous in habit, raised at Smith's Nursery, Worcester, England, from seeds obtained from a tree in Nottingham in 1810.

<i>Silene coronaria</i> species of plant

Silene coronaria is a species of flowering plant in the carnation family Caryophyllaceae, native to Asia and Europe. Common names include rose campion, dusty miller, mullein-pink, bloody William, and lamp-flower. A white form 'Alba' is available

The national headquarters for Park Seed Company, Jackson & Perkins, and Wayside Gardens is located in Greenwood, South Carolina. The headquarters complex is surrounded by 9 acres (36,000 m2) of land that are maintained by the Park Seed Company for many purposes. The trial gardens previously featured on the grounds closed in 2013 as the company shifted to a fully eCommerce based retail platform.

<i>Ulmus</i> Purpurea species of plant

The elm cultivar Ulmus 'Purpurea', the purple-leaved elm, was listed and described as Ulmus Stricta Purpurea, the 'Upright Purpled-leaved Elm', by John Frederick Wood, F.H.S., in The Midland Florist and Suburban Horticulturist (1851), as Ulmus purpureaHort. by Wesmael (1863), and as Ulmus campestris var. purpurea, syn. Ulmus purpureaHort. by Petzold and Kirchner in Arboretum Muscaviense (1864). Koch's description followed (1872), the various descriptions appearing to tally. Henry (1913) noted that the Ulmus campestris var. purpureaPetz. & Kirchn. grown at Kew as U. montana var. purpurea was "probably of hybrid origin", Ulmus montana being used at the time both for wych elm cultivars and for some of the U. × hollandica group. His description of Kew's U. montana var. purpurea matches that of the commonly-planted 'Purpurea' of the 20th century. His discussion of it (1913) under U. campestris, however, his name for English Elm, may be the reason why 'Purpurea' is sometimes erroneously called U. procera 'Purpurea' (as in USA and Sweden.

<i>Ulmus</i> Crispa

The elm cultivar Ulmus 'Crispa' [:'curled', the leaf margin], sometimes known as the Fernleaf Elm, arose before 1800 and was first listed by Willdenow as U. crispa (1809). Audibert listed an U. campestrisLinn. 'Crispa', orme à feuilles crépues [:'frizzy-leaved elm'], in 1817, and an Ulmus urticaefolia [:'nettle-leaved elm'] in 1832; the latter is usually taken to be a synonym. Loudon considered the tree a variety of U. montana (1838). In the 19th century, Ulmus × hollandica cultivars, as well as those of Wych Elm, were often grouped under Ulmus montana. Elwes and Henry (1913) listed 'Crispa' as a form of wych elm, but made no mention of the non-wych samara.

The hybrid elm cultivar Ulmus × hollandica 'Cinerea' was first listed by George Lindley in 1815, as Ulmus cinerea, the Ash-coloured Elm, and later by the André Leroy Nurseries, Angers, France, in 1856. It was distributed as Ulmus cinerea by the Baudriller nursery, Angers, and as Ulmus montana cinerea by Louis van Houtte of Ghent. A specimen in cultivation at Kew in 1964 was found to be U. × hollandica, but the tree at Wakehurst Place remains listed as U. glabra 'Cinerea'.

<i>Prunus tomentosa</i> species of plant

The Nanking cherry is a species of Prunus native to northern and western China, Korea, Mongolia, and possibly northern India. Other common names for P. tomentosa include Korean cherry, Manchu cherry, downy cherry, Shanghai cherry, Ando cherry, mountain cherry, Chinese bush cherry, or Chinese dwarf cherry.

Joseph Breck (1794–1873), a notable businessman and horticulturist of the 19th century, was born in Medfield, Massachusetts. He moved to Pepperell, Massachusetts, in 1817, working in the chaise carriage manufacturing business while also exploring his passion for horticulture in his gardens. His interest in flowers and plants developed into a career as an editor, from 1822 to 1846, of the New England Farmer, one of the earliest agricultural magazines established in the U.S., and the first of its kind in New England.

<i>Osmanthus delavayi</i> species of plant

Osmanthus delavayi is a species of flowering plant in the olive family Oleaceae. It is an evergreen shrub native to the Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan regions of southern China, and widely cultivated as an ornamental in temperate and subtropical zones elsewhere.

<i>Lotus hirsutus</i> species of plant

Lotus hirsutus, also known by the synonym Dorycnium hirsutum, common name: canary clover or hairy canary-clover, is a species of flowering plant in the legume family Fabaceae.

Renee Shepherd is a gardening entrepreneur and writer known for heirloom seed advocacy and garden-based cooking using home-grown herbs. Better Homes and Gardens called her "a groundbreaking gardener", and Businessweek a "pioneering innovator" who helped popularize specialty vegetables and cottage garden flowers for home gardening and gourmet restaurants.

<i>Ulmus minor</i> Dicksonii cultivar of plant

The Field Elm cultivar Ulmus minor 'Dicksonii', commonly known as Dickson's Golden Elm, is a yellow-leaved tree raised in Chester in 1900 by Dickson's Nursery, which distributed it from the autumn of 1907 as 'Golden Cornish Elm'. 'Cornish Elm' was the name often given in error to Guernsey or Wheatley Elm by the local authorities who planted the latter extensively, an error which may have influenced the choice of name by Dickson's nursery. 'Dicksonii' is usually listed as a variety of Guernsey Elm rather than Cornish Elm, Bean giving 'Wheatleyi Aurea' as a synonym, and Hillier U. × sarniensis 'Dicksonii'. Clibran's nursery of Altrincham, however, described it (1922) as otherwise identical "in habit and constitution" to 'type' Cornish Elm. The Späth nursery of Berlin distributed it from c.1913 as U. campestris cornubiensis Dicksonii. The nursery Messieurs Otin père et fils of Saint-Étienne sold an Ulmus Wheatleyi aurea pyramidalis, with leaves marbled yellow, in 1882, earlier than Dickson's introduction.

<i>Hypericum kouytchense</i> species of plant

Hypericum kouytchense, the large-flowered St John’s wort, is a species of flowering plant in the family Hypericaceae, native to Western China. Growing up to 3 ft (0.91 m) tall and 5 ft (1.5 m) wide, it is a semi-evergreen rounded shrub with blue-green leaves and large yellow flowers with prominent stamens, appearing in midsummer. Flowers are followed by red seed capsules in autumn. Where conditions are favourable it can retain its leaves all year.

Theodosia Burr Shepherd Botanist and horticulturist with commercial enterprise in Ventura, California

Theodosia Burr Shepherd was an American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in plant breeding. Called the “Flower Wizard of California”, and "The Pioneer Seed-grower", Theodosia was the first woman in California and possibly in the United States to hybridize flowers.


  1. Bloomberg Company Overview
  2. Total Retail (25 September 2009). "Gardens Alive! Acquires England-Based Seed Company's U.S. Operations". Total Retail. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  3. English Flower Garden : a monthly magazine of hardy and half-hardy plants by W. Thompson. on
  4. English flower garden of hardy and half-hardy plants by W. Thompson on Hatitrust.
  5. 1 2 "T&M sale brings welcome stability for horticulture" . Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  6. Ducan Brodie (25 March 2017). "Seed firm Thompson & Morgan to remain in Ipswich following acquisition by BVG Group". Ipswichstar. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  7. Muhammad Aldalou (9 March 2017). "Historic horticultural company sold by PE owner". Ipswichstar. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  8. Rice, Graham (2018-05-22). "Chelsea Flower Show 2018: Plant of the year revealed - but is it a winner?". The Telegraph. ISSN   0307-1235 . Retrieved 2018-06-13.