Bonfire Night in the Garden

It’s that time of the year again, Bonfire Night! As tradition on November 5th, we light sparklers, fireworks, bonfires and eat candy apples and treacle toffee for the anniversary of an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament, known as the Gunpowder Plot.
Since it’s a common fact that the vast majority of firework bursts and effects are named after flowers/plants/trees. There are for example Chrysanthemum, dahlia, willow, palm and peony bursts. In fact, several firework arrangements are known as bouquets. So, if you don’t want to head out to the local park to see the community fireworks display, you can lay out in your garden and just look at nature’s version. The colors are just as spectacular, except it’s a lot quieter.

10 Explosive Blooms to Light Up Your Night

Allium Fireworks

Could these Alliums have a more apt name? This stunning firework collection consists of Pulchellum (reddish violet), Pulchellum Album (white) and Flavum (yellow). These beautiful plants flower in Summer for an explosion of colour in any garden display.

Agapanthus Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agapanthus, fondly known as the African Lily, are bold hardy perennial plants which are superb for containers or borders. The plants have dark green foliage and will produce vibrant white or blue flowers throughout the summer time.

Allium Schubertii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A real firecracker, the Allium Schubertii. Splayed tendrils in pinky-lilac burst from a compact cluster of star shaped flowers. The flowers are produced at the end of May to early June. These make excellent cut flowers and can be dried and used indoors for a unique Winter display.

Asters Alpinus Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cheerful ornamental flowers are daisy-shaped with bright yellow centers surrounded by petals in a burst of colours from pinks, blues, violets and creamy whites. The leaves are narrow and dark green. The heavy cluster of flowers will produce an ever increasing mass of colour every year from August to well into October.

Monarda Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The striking Monarda plant comes in a great mixture of colours. They are also know as the Bee Balm Plant. Their spikey blooms resemble the loud, explosive bangs of fireworks, and will flower from June to September, with aromatic leaves. They are a striking and useful addition to the garden, thriving in shade or semi-shade where other perennials struggle.

Euphorbia Bonfire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most amazing Euphorbia ever with foliage that turns from green/purple to burgundy in summer, then again changes to a bright red in late summer. In late spring it will produce large yellow flowers for many weeks. The fiery colours and bursting foliage would earn a warm welcome to any garden.

Pieris Forest Flame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This evergreen shrub produces brilliant flamed red young shoots in spring and white ‘Lily of the Valley’ flowers in late spring. The foliage mirrors the flowers, bright red in the spring, maturing to pink and cream and finally green. Holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit for its reliable performance, stability of colour and form, and good resistance to pests and diseases.

Salix caprea pendula

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lovely branches of the Salix caprea, or pussy or goat willow as its commonly known, can provide you garden with all year round interest. Stiff, arching brightly coloured shoots form a mound or ‘mophead’ shape in winter. In spring come long silver fuzzy catkins that open to soft silky flowers with yellow anthers, before the gracefully hanging lush foliage appears.

Astrantia Moulin Rouge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stunning red pincushion flowers on greenish white filaments surrounded by a rosette of red bracts flushed deep purple at the tips. Strikingly beautiful and extremely photogenic, these are a great blast of colour in any garden bed or border, as well as a must have addition to any summer bouquet.

Aquilegia Barlow Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Striking new double Aquilegia varieties. These showy blooms are perpetual flowering from May to July and look great planted en-masse in a border, the dainty Dahlia-like blooms nodding above lacy fern like foliage. Remove the stems when the flowering time is over and the foliage will remain attractive for a spectacular display right through till the winter.

Bonfire Night Garden Tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safety

  • Consider wind direction and the way the smoke will drift once lit.
  • Build it on open ground away from buildings and other flammable items.
  • Keep windows shut so that the smoke does not drift into your home.
  • Have a hose pipe or water supply ready should it get out of control to dampen it down or extinguish the flames.
  • Keep the bonfire small.
  • If you have been building your bonfire for sometime, check that animals have not taken shelter under it before lighting.
  • Use the wood ashes for fertiliser on the garden flower beds.

Tips

  • Bonfire Material Waste Disposal

These seasons celebrations are the perfect time to dispose of garden waste lying around. Bonfires make the perfect disposal unit for dry, woody material infected by disease like canker and fire blight. Be sure to conduct when weather is calm for smoke safety.

  • Garden Protection

Be sure to prepare all bonfires away from beneath overhanging trees as the hot air is damaging to venerable buds and tree leaves and will cause large dead areas in the following year.

Have a great bonfire night!

Halloween In the Garden

It’s that spooky time of the year again! Why go out and buy cauldrons, candles and pumpkins, when nature provides such bizarre and beautiful creations? To celebrate Halloween, we’ve conjured up our 13 creepiest, darkest varieties guaranteed to give your gardens a haunted makeover, along with individual facts and superstitions.

13 Frightening Plants

1. Fritillaria Meleagris (Snakeshead)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The snakes head Fritillaria is a popular variety due to their unusual drooping pendants, flowering in the spring. This spellbinding plant displays a mixture of white and purple bell shaped flowers.

Fact: The nodding, pink-and-purple-checkered flowers of the Snake’s-head Fritillary are said to resemble a snake, hence the name!

2. Iris pumila ‘Hokus Pokus’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iris pumila ‘Hokus Pokus’ is a truly magical variety producing velvety petals of deep lilac and rust atop robust, fleshy stems. These exquisitely mystical blooms are guaranteed to add a touch of intrigue to your borders.

Fact: Iris take their name from the Greek word for a rainbow, which is also the name for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris.

Superstition: Iris symbolize eloquence. Purple iris are symbolic of wisdom and compliments. Blue iris symbolize faith and hope. Yellow iris symbolize passion while white iris symbolize purity.

3. Tulip Black Parrot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tulip Black Parrot is a mysterious and elegant variety, with large flared heads draped in rich, velvety maroon-black petals. Once the flower matures and opens, their serrated appearance of the petals edges become symbolic of a parrot’s plumage.

Fact: These tulips were developed from mutations of certain varieties of late-flowering and Triumph tulips!

Superstition: Wear Tulips for prosperity and protection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tricyrtis ‘Dark Beauty’ adds an exotic edge to any borders with their strikingly unique bruised purple/blue spotted petals with a dusky white accent, and their tentacle-like tepals bursting from the center with their yellow and white stamens and purple anthers.

Fact: Known in England as Toad Lilies, this wonderful perennial is native to eastern Asia and the Himalayas. A wonderfully weird introduction to the garden.

5. Hemerocallis ‘Whoopy’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This dark and mysterious day lily is a popular perennial flowering garden plant, producing a velvety purple edge surrounding a dark black core and green throat.

Fact: The genus name is derived from Greek, meaning beauty and day, referring to the fact that each pretty bloom lasts only one day.

Superstition: Wearing lilies and poppies was thought to lighten people’s distress, causing the wearer to forget all their troubles.

6. Tulip ‘Queen Of Night’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add a dramatic cloak of darkness to your gardens with Tulip ‘Queen of Night’, with deep velvety maroon flowers that give the appearance of a silky black sheen. ‘Queen of Night’ is classified as a single late tulip, meaning it has a single, rather than double row of petals and blooms in late spring.

Fact: The Queen of the Night is the closest that hybridists have come to creating a pure black tulip.

Superstition: Carrying Tulips in your pocket brings good luck.

7. Athyrium niponicum ‘Ursula’s Red’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fronds are a soft grayish-green with an overlay of silvery hues accented by contrasting dark maroon midribs. Silvering is best for several weeks in the spring, with fronds becoming greener as hot temperatures arrive. The attractive foliage and shape of this fern provide colour, contrast and texture.

Fact: Genus name comes from Greek athyros meaning doorless in reference to the slowly opening hinged indusia (spore covers)

8. Sedum Spurium ‘Dragons Blood’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also known as ‘Caucasian stonecrop’ or ‘Dragons blood’ this creeping perennial bursts to life with blood red flowers from June through to August. The large simple shaped leaves create a glossy evergreen that are thick, flattened, rounded, succulent and toothed or lobed near the tips.

Fact: In autumn, ‘Dragon’s Blood’ earns its name as the leaves turn from greenish-red to dramatic deep red!

9. Tulip ‘Kingsblood’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark cherry red edged scarlet. Tulip Kingsblood is a striking tall, strong tulip that will bring a hit of colour to the late spring garden. Mix with dark maroons and oranges for an eye-catching combination or planted on it’s own for a bold statement.

Fact: The meaning of tulips is generally perfect love . Like many flowers, different colors of tulips also often carry their own significance. Red tulips are most strongly associated with true love.

Superstition: In Persia, Tulips are used as a ward against evil.

10. Dicentra Spectabilis ‘Bleeding Heart’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bleeding Heart is both bold and dramatic which makes a fabulous border plant producing fern-like foliage and arching sprays of heart-shaped deep Pink and White flowers.

Fact: The Royal Horticultural Society has given this plant the Award of Garden Merit for its reliable performance, stability of colour and form and good resistance to pests and diseases.

11. Rose Black Baccara

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add some dark glamour to your summer border with Rose Black Baccara, a striking fragrant variety of Hybrid Tea rose with petals of deepest maroon which fade to luxurious red as the plant matures. The Black Rose Bush produces large, velvety blooms and glossy foliage from its tall, statuesque stems, making it favourite cut flower of florists.

Fact: According to the Language of Flowers or floriography in the 19th Century, a black rose implies hatred, death, and despair. It can also signify rebirth or farewell for good, in certain situations.

Superstition: Rose petals falling unexpectedly without any cause is a negative omen, potentially portending death.

12. Fatsia japonica ‘Spiders Web’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bushy evergreen shrub with palmately lobed leaves, dappled with white, making it look as though it is covered in a ‘spiders web’. In autumn it produces clusters of white flowers that give way to black berries. Fruits persist on the prominent stalks for several weeks.

Fact: These evergreens are happiest in light shade, although it will still thrive where it is verging on the gloomy.

13. Tulip Perfect Partner Collection

Tulip ‘Havran’ is a truly beautiful, silk-satin almost black tulip with two to three flowers to a stem, providing that elusive darkness of colour for your patios, pots and borders. Pictured along side ‘Grand Perfection’, which flames blood red on a soft yellow background. As they mature, the yellow fades and turns creamy white.

Fact: In magical traditions, tulips appear in spells and rituals aimed at love, joy, safety, success and meaningful dreams. You can carry tulips as a charm that attracts prosperity.

Superstition: There is a superstition in Holland that Pixies live in tulip beds.

Happy Halloween!

How to Plant: Pansies

Pansies are exceptionally colourful plants and these specially selected winter and spring flowering varieties will present a splendid display of colour over a very long period and in such a beautiful variation of shades. A cool-weather favorite, pansies are great for both spring and autumn garden displays! Supplied in both maxi plug and garden ready varieties, their compact growing habit and prolific flowering ability also make them a perfect choice to complement your gardens. This guide will help you on planting your pansies as well as how to keep your pansies growing and blooming.

Planting

  • Plant straight away upon arrival into pots or containers into either freshly prepared soil (with a little organic matter added) or else using a balanced potting compost.
  • Pot up for a number of weeks (minimum of two-three) and then plant out into final position once the roots have become established.
  • Water regularly and make sure soil does not become too dry. This will also help to produce a bigger plant with greater flowering potential.
In this easy to follow how-to video tutorial, our resident gardener Jeff shows you how to plant winter/spring flowering pansies step by step, with tips and tricks for getting the best results out of your pansy plants.

Aftercare

Here are a few tips on caring for your pansy plants.

  • Remember to water your pansies regularly. One of the most common reasons pansies fail is because they are not watered enough, so if your pansies are not doing well, try watering them more.
  • You can use a general, all-purpose fertilizer around your pansies to help them grow.
  • Always deadhead your pansies as they go over and be sure to pinch off the whole flower to the base of the stem and you’ll then get more flowers.

Our Top Picks

Need help deciding which pansies to buy? Can Can or Cool Wave? Maxi plug or garden ready? Here is a selection of our favourite varieties to simplify your gardening.

Pansy Cool Wave (Garden Ready)

The next generation of trailing pansy from seed, Pansy Cool Wave. Simply plant in a hanging basket or container and the plants will naturally spread and trail to create a stunning spring display as illustrated. This pansy has exceptional overwintering performance and is the first to re-bloom in spring, and another highlight of this variety is it’s light scent. Height 15cm. This pansy is supplied as garden ready plug plants, our largest sized plugs on the market and are very easy to grow making them perfect for the novice and experienced gardener alike. Each plug plant supplied is 10-15cm in height and 5cm in width, supplied in trays of 30.

Pansy Can Can (Maxi Plug or Garden Ready)

Our stunning double winter flowering Pansy Can Can is an extravagant frilled pansies, which will make your winter basket, patio containers and borders a sight for sore eyes. The ruffled semi-double flowers are exquisitely marked with shades of yellow, red blue, white and orange, perfect for adding a flair of colour to your garden display. Available as Maxi Plugs, a small but robust variety, and Garden Ready plants , which are our easiest plug plant to succeed with, ready to plant on arrival and are the quickest of all to establish and grow. Maxi plug height 15cm. Garden Ready height 20cm.

Winter/Spring Pansy Select Mixed (Garden Ready)

Winter and Spring pansies never fail to perform, they show a splendid display of multi-colour over a very long period. Pansies really are super hardy plants and don’t mind being covered with a dusting of snow in the winter – they just carry on flowering right through to spring. Height 15-20cm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to view our full Pansy range!

How to Plant Tulips: Red Riding Hood Tulips

Looking to add a vibrant splash of character to your spring garden displays?

This Greigii Tulip has strikingly beautiful, oriental scarlet flowers. It is highly compact, growing to a height of only 20-30cm, and flowers in spring between March/April. The inner petals are brighter, with a dark base and flecks of yellow in the centre. The spectacular, grey-green mottled purple foliage is a highlight of these tulips. These tulips are easy to grow, and create a warm welcoming addition to garden beds, borders, containers, rock gardens and make stunning cut flowers too. These Red Riding Hood tulips are excellent alongside contrasting tulips of a similar style, such as Albion Star, or beside your other red varieties.

Tulip Red Riding Hood (Greigii)

Planting (including Tutorial)

Our Red Riding Hood bulbs come in packs of 15 and 60 and are supplied as 10cm+ bulbs. We recommend you plant around 8 to 10cm deep and approximately 15cm apart in well drained, fertile soil, and in a sunny or partially shaded location in the autumn from September to December.

In this simple how-to video tutorial, our resident gardener Jeff shows you how to plant our Red Riding Hood tulips, specifically in pots, with tips and tricks for getting the best results out of your bulbs.

Aftercare

Red Riding Hood tulips are fairly low maintenance plants for aftercare as they do not require pruning. After the tulips have bloomed and the leaves fade and turn brown, the bulbs can be lifted, dried, cleaned and stored in a cool place until planting time. Tulips should not be grown in the same soil for several years, so replace with fresh soil every other year.

Autumn In the Garden

Gardens undergo a stunning transformation in autumn. The leaves are falling, the days are getting shorter, and morning are slowly getting chillier as the summer weather fades away. Autumn gardens are a beautiful place to unwind, or for activities such as playing with children and pets. We’ve compiled a selection of autumn based activities, plant favourites and gardening tasks to occupy you this autumn season.

Top Nature activities

  • Botanical Gardens

Autumn is a glorious season for visiting local botanical gardens, such as Tatton Park and Fletcher Moss. During autumn, gardens transform in to a rich tapestry of reds, golds and rich browns from the maples, rowans, beech spindle trees. The ground is blanketed in fallen leaves along with autumn crocuses, spectacular fungi and fruits galore; prickly beech nut husks, fir cones, maple keys and shiny conkers.

  • Wildlife Crafting

There’s not much to beat watching wildlife outside your own back door and with habitat loss and changes in the countryside meaning that an increasing number of native British animals are visiting domestic gardens, creating a wildlife area is a great start to encourage visitors with ready-made homes to tempt them to stay. By using a little wood, some nails and a few hand tools, you can soon be producing ideal homes for birds, bees and butterflies.

  • Local/Social Events

Autumn is a hot spot for festivities, as Halloween grows nearer and bonfire night follows soon after, a world of activities opens up during the fall season. From pumpkin picking at your local pumpkin patch, hosting campfires and adventures on camping trips, to attending local open air events such as firework displays, there is a variety of entertaining activities to celebrate autumn.

Top 5 Autumn Flowering Favourites

Even as the cold takes hold, there are a few tough little winter flowering bulbs that are happy to brave the cold and bring a welcome splash of colour to brighten the darkest days of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a selection of our autumn flowering ranges to add some beautiful colour for the colder seasons. For the best displays, a little forward planning is required. Begin to plant autumn and winter flowering bulbs, corms and tubers in borders and containers in spring.

  1.  Crocus Sativus (Saffron)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fragrant Autumn flowering crocus Sativus, have been grown for the expensive spice in Britain since the tudor times. When in flower look for the red ribbons and remove with tweezers. They can be dried and stored in an airtight container for up to two years. You need a lot of Sativus to harvest a significant crop of Saffron. It is fun to have a little home grown Saffron and the flower is delightful.

2. Cyclamen Hederifoliums

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sight (and fragrance) of the Cyclamen Hederifolium brings a much-needed boost to the garden, at a time when most other flowers are looking more than sorry for themselves. Cyclamen Hederifolium has a long flowering period before disappearing over the summer – but not without leaving behind a pretty carpet of heart-shaped marbled leaves. The Cyclamen Hederifolium originates from the Mediterranean, therefore it comes as a surprise that they are equally happy to grow in shade as they are in sun. Supplied in 13/15cm and 25+cm bulbs.

3. Crocus Sternbergia Lutea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crocus like flowers of clear, golden yellow, and they are perfect for planting in pots on the patio, for a delightful autumn floral displays. Alternatively, you could plant Sternbergia Lutea in a dull corner of the garden to brighten things up with their vibrant colour.

4. Asters Alpinus Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cheerful ornamental flowers are daisy-shaped with bright yellow centers surrounded by petals in a variety shades of pinks, blues, violets and creamy whites. The leaves are narrow and dark green. The heavy cluster of flowers will produce an ever increasing mass of bold colour every year from August to well into the autumn. These little beauties only grow to 30-40cm, and are ideal for rockeries, dry stone walls or general ground cover where it will help to suppress weeds.

5. Clematis Cirrhosa Freckles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cirrhosa Freckles is an evergreen variety that flowers  a beautiful red bloom, with unique frosty white speckles. The Clematis Cirrhosa Freckles has a lot more colour than other varieties as the majority are white or creams, and when there is not a lot in flower in the garden at this time of year it’s very eye-catching!

Autumn Gardening Jobs

Autumn has arrived and although summer is coming to an end, there are still plenty of plants in your garden that can give colour and interest right through autumn and up to the beginning of winter.

  • Rake Up the Leaves

A few piles of leaves in out-of-the-way places – under hedges, for example – can provide shelter for overwintering wildlife. But remove leaves from your lawn, paths (which can be slippery) and borders. Use them to make leaf mound, works  great as a soil improver.

  • Plant Spring Flowering Bulbs

If you want to fill your garden with colour next spring, plant bulbs from October to December, before the first frost hits. There are many choices for filling up your spring displays and borders next spring from daffodils, tulips, crocus, grape hyacinths and fritillarias.

  • Tidying Up

To ensure vibrant displays for next spring, Make sure to tidy up your borders by removing dying leaves and collapsed stems from herbaceous perennials, either pulling by hand or cutting at the base with secateurs. Leave any stems that have attractive seed heads for birds to enjoy, and don’t forget to tidy up deciduous shrubs and trees that are getting a little out of hand with some careful pruning.

 

 

How to Plant Fritillaria (With Video Tutorial)

Looking for something unique and special in your spring garden? Make your garden stand out with these paradisiacal Fritillaria bulbs!

Fritillaria are a stunning accompaniment to any garden display with their elegant drooping bell-shaped flowers that are particularly effective when grown in groups, as well as being versatile enough to add charm to rockeries, borders, flowers beds or even on the patio in pots. Our extensive range of Fritillaria includes smaller varieties such as Fritillaria Meleagris, which produce a mixture of white and purple flowers, and taller varieties such as Fritillaria Imperialis and many bi-colour favourites such as Fritillaria Uva-Vulpis and Michailovski.

Fritillaria Lutea (Crown Imperial)                 Fritillaria Meleagris

Our beautiful Fritillaria bulbs flower between April and May in the spring, and our bulb sizes vary between 5cm up to 24cm, with certain varieties growing up to 120cm. They can be planted at 8-10cm deep and 10-15cm apart in well drained/light and moist soil. They can be planted in areas with full sun access or preferably with partial shade, and can be left to naturalise in grass, borders or even cold greenhouses. Fritillaria are very hardy and are an excellent choice for border displays, rockeries or for woodland areas, where their elegant drooping bell-shaped flowers are likely to add that little something different to your garden.

In this simple how-to video tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff shows you how to plant Giant Fritillaria with tips and tricks for getting the best results out of your bulbs!

Aftercare

When established in the right environment you can easily begin to see fritillaria plants multiply. In good growing conditions crown imperials will readily form large clumps. If a well-established colony begins to flower poorly then lifting in early autumn when dormant, thoroughly improving the soil and replanting, or moving to a new site may be enough to restore satisfactory flowering. The bulbs may take a year or two to re-establish.

Click to view our Fritillaria range!

2018 Photo Competition Winners Announced

Congratulations to our competition winners and runners up!

We’ve been thrilled with the quality and quantity of entries this year and would like to thank everyone who got involved.

The top prize of £100 J. Parker’s voucher went to this beautiful image from Gill K. sent to us via our Facebook page.

Next the winners of a £50 J. Parker’s voucher were David S. who entered via email and Justine D. who entered via Facebook.

We also had seven more runners up who will receive £25 worth of vouchers;

Laura K. via Facebook

Laura R. via Email

Emma D. via Twitter

Cheryl A. via Email

Sally M. via Twitter

Stockton Bury Gardens/Tasmin W. via Twitter

Chris H. via Twitter

Prizes will be sent out next week with a copy of our latest autumn catalogue. Thanks again to everyone who entered, and keep checking back for more opportunities to win!

How to Plant Iris Reticulata Pixie

If you’re looking for an easy to grow bulb that will bring some vibrancy to your garden in early spring, you can’t go wrong with Iris reticulata.

 

Of all our spring flowering Iris, Iris reticulata Pixie is a particularly popular variety for a number of reasons. This beautiful Iris reticulata flowers early in spring when little else in the garden is in flower, bringing vibrant violet-blue hues to your borders and patio pots. Each petal is delicately marked with golden yellow and white flecks. These exquisite flowers are sure to brighten up the garden in February and March.

 

You can plant these beautiful Iris in the front of your border, or in pots for the patio. Jeff talks us through both options in the below video so you can get the most out of your bulbs.

 

Bulbs are to be planted 8cm deep and around 10-12cm apart, in well drained soil. It is often best to try to position then with plenty of access to sun. For best results, plant in September through to November.

 

 

Take some care to prevent slugs and snails from attacking the Iris once planted, Jeff uses fine alpine grit to get the job done!

 

Most Iris can naturalise well if left undisturbed or alternatively bulbs can be lifted and separated in autumn. After flowering feed with a high potash fertiliser to encourage large bulbs to form.

 

Creative Gardening: How-to start Lasagne Planting

Planting layered spring bulbs, also known as lasagne planting or double decker pots, is a great way to get a fabulous spring display or a staggered display that lasts several months and keeps delivering colour to your patio.

You can do this with any spring flowering bulbs and really get creative with the combinations you choose. We selected some traditional favourites for our own display, with Triumph Tulips, Dwarf Narcissi Tete-a-Tete, Bedding Hyacinth Mixed and finally large flowering crocus mixed.

Getting a long lasting pot display really couldn’t be easier, and we’ve put together this guide along with a complete video tutorial from our expert Jeff Turner to show you exactly how to get the best from your spring patio displays.

All you need is a large pot, some crocks or grit for drainage, good multi-purpose compost and some quality J. Parker’s bulbs. Watch the video below to see how Jeff gets on;

The trick is to plant the larger, later flowering bulbs towards the bottom so that the small, early flowering varieties can flower first early in the season, and as they die off the next lot comes through to continue the display.

In this case we plant our Triumph Tulips first, as Tulips prefer to be planted that bit deeper. We’ve used Triumph Tulips for their tall, strong wind resistant stems and the fantastic variety of colour that goes into our Parker’s mixture.

Next add another layer of compost, and plant your next set. We’ve gone for Narcissi Tete-a-Tete, the most popular dwarf Daffodil known for its versatility and reliability. This will produce traditional golden trumpets on short stems.

The next layer was Hyacinth, specifically a bedding sized mixture for a strong display, and finally the top layer is large flowering Crocus Mixed. This will be the last planted and the first to flower, as these beautiful early spring bulbs will produce a carpet of low-growing colour.

Have you tried this at home? Let us know how you got on!

July Plant of the Month: Geums

Geums were once a severely overlooked plant, often used to plug the gaps in a cottage garden scheme. But then suddenly everyone started noticing new bright, zesty flowers colours appearing all the time at flower shows boasting spectacular long flowering times turning these beauties into stars in their own right.

A fantastically useful plant, they are disliked by slugs and snails so are very useful deterrents in the garden. Boasting disease free foliage with a neat compact habit and the pretty flowers, they are a great addition to any display. The evergreen/semi evergreen foliage with is excellent for smothering weeds making them very useful groundcover all year.

Each stem produces lots of buds that will flower in succession, giving you a long summer display. Good for cutting but get the most out of them in the garden first.

Planting

Yhere are three different groups of cultivars rivale, coccineum and chiloense. The rivale have nodding, bell-like flowers. They like moisture retentive soils and prefer to grow in shade or semi shade. Coccineum are an alpine plant, flowering well after a cold winter and have upward facing flowers. The choloense are tall, sturdy plants producing large double flowers and can tolerate full sun as well as semi shade.

Soil and propagation: Geums like moisture retentive soils and will benefit from an annual mulching. Low maintenance but if you divide them when they start to loose growth from the middle they will last much longer, bringing years of pleasure. You can also take cuttings from the base in early spring.

They may succumb to powdery mildew at the end of the summer, just remove any affected stems. Prune back hard after flowering to give the foliage a boost for the rest of the year.

Companion Plants

Geums are very popular for Cottage Garden style designs and work really well with lots of perennials. Featuring a few well places Dahlias amongst your Geums will make them more of a colourful backdrop to the main event. Make them pop by paring the red, yellow and gold tones of geums against purples from Alliums or Pulmonaria. You can enhance the golden shades by planting daisy like Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Coreopsis or Helenium.

If you need good coverage in a shaded area why not try planting with Helleborus, which boast a similar stock of healthy evergreen foliage but will flower earlier in the year, giving you dashes of colour throughout the seasons as well as a constant lush green coverage.

Click here to shop Geums now