Pioneer of Phostrogen plant food dies, aged 86

Promoter of a balanced nutrient product, Bobby Manners, passes away.

Promoter and manufacturer of Phostrogen plant food Bobby Manners has died, aged 86. Manners launched the revolutionary product in 1960. The name derived from its phosphate/nitrogen/potash content. Manners’ aim was to promote a product that provided the perfect balance of nutrients to all areas in the garden. Garden Writers’ Guild chairman Stephen Green said: “The idea of watering your plants with a liquid feed was revolutionary. There weren’t any other high-potash formulations out there. “[Manners] got the best writers of the day to write leaflets publicising Phostrogen. It is the most economical and effective plant feed. “He was a brilliant businessman. It’s an incredibly sad loss to the industry. He is irreplaceable — a most charming gentleman. “He was one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. He produced a platform for me to step out from amenity horticulture to commercial horticulture as a horticulture correspondent, answering his letters 30 years ago.” HW columnist Peter Seabrook said: “He was such a good businessman and a very charming gentleman. If anyone, anywhere wrote anything about Phostrogen, they received a letter within days signed by Bobby.” Garden writer Fred Whitsey said of Manners: “He was a very skilful entrepreneur. He wouldn’t make a more-than-one-product company despite being courted by ICI and Fisons. He was one of the great figures of horticulture.” The Phostrogen brand is now owned by Bayer Garden.

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