Autumn Wreath Challenge Winner

As November comes to an end, so does our monthly competition! We would like to thank all of the entrants for joining in and helping make this year’s Autumn Wreath Challenge a success. So now, it’s time to announce our winner.

All through November, we asked you to create and make your own autumnal-themed wreaths. From berries, feathers and flowers, we received so many unique and amazing entries! Now, without further a due, our autumn wreath and £100 mystery plant prize winner is….

Nicola A.

“I’m finding It’s easy to get dragged down by all the miserable news at the moment so I seen your wreath competition and thought it was a great way to get out into my garden and clear my head. So I spent a lovely quiet morning surrounded by my cookie hens, gathering bits and bobs of autumnal colour from my garden and it was lovely to find a bit of solace .”

Nicola A. – Autumn Wreath Winner

Thank you all for entering, here are more of our favourite autumn wreath challenge entries:

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What to Plant in December

With the start of December comes colder weather and shorter days, but will that put us off pottering around the garden? Absolutely not! There’s plenty to do, so if you’re wondering what to plant in December, you’re in the right place.

From summer bulbs, to hardy shrubs, there’s lots to do and plant this month in your garden.

Begonias

Begonias are a summer staple. Now that you’ve decided what you want to plant for your spring garden, it’s time to give some thought to your summer garden! Begonias are colourful and bright – the perfect addition to any summer garden that are sure to give you that summer feeling.

Begonia Samba Mixed
Begonia ordorata Pink Delight

Tulips

Forgot to plant your tulips? Never mind, there’s still time to get them in the ground before the first winter frost. The former part of December can be just warm enough for the bulbs without causing any damage. Perfect for when you’re at a push!

Triumph Tulip Collection
Tulip Lasting Love

Strawberries

If you’re planning on growing your own fruit next year, then December is the perfect time to plant your strawberry plants in the ground. A brilliant choice for those with allotments. (Note: Our range of Strawberry plants are currently out of stock, but please check back in

Strawberry All Season Collection
Strawberry Everbearer Albion

Indoor Bulbs

If you’re still unsure of what to plant in December and none of the above tickles your fancy, then indoor bulbs could be your saving grace. These beauties are perfect for planting around September to December and you’ll see them appear in mid-late winter, depending on when initially planted.

Amaryllis Magic Green
Narcissi Erlicheer

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What to do in the garden in December

With the short days and chilly mornings upon us, winter has arrived. While it may be tempting to leave your garden alone during this period, it’s important to remember that there are a number of jobs that need to be done in winter to help your garden flourish in spring. Here’s our list gardening jobs to do this December to prepare your garden for spring.

Prune trees and shrubs

December is a great time to prune trees, shrubs and roses. It is best to cut out unwanted growth whilst the plant is dormant, since it’s easier to understand the shape and structure of the plant whilst it has no leaves. Plus winter pruned trees are less prone to disease.

Keep on planting

Yes, you can continue planting in December! The very best time of year to plant shrubs and trees is between early autumn to late Spring. Also, f you live in areas with milder winters, you can continue to plant spring-flowering bulbs, such as daffodils, tulips, crocus, muscari and fritillarias into the new year.

Make your garden wildlife-friendly

Local wildlife need all the help they can get during the colder months. If possible, add suet feeders around the garden/lawn, as they make a great source of energy for birds. Other foods that are perfect for birds include chunks of fruit, mealworms, or peanuts. Don’t forget to put out a fresh dish of water along with the bird food too!

More jobs for the December garden:

  • Tie back climbing plants
  • Tidy up the greenhouse ready to receive spring plants
  • A little weeding now will save time in spring
  • Mulch around trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials
  • Build raised beds and fill them with good quality soil ready for growing your own fruit and veg

Check out some of our other blogs:

When to Plant Dahlias

One of the most popular summertime blooms. Dahlias are loved by gardeners everywhere for their cut flowers, long lifespan and beautiful colours and shapes. Since our Dahlia tubers are available for pre-order now, discover when to plant dahlia tubers and grow your own beautiful blooms.

When to plant Dahlias

Since dahlias struggle in cold soil, don’t rush to get them in the ground. Wait until all danger of frost has passed before planting out in the garden.

How to plant Dahlias

Position dahlias in sunny spots and plant in a rich, well-drained soil. Dig a hole around 6 to 8 inches deep. Place the tubers inside with the growing points, otherwise known as “eyes” facing up, and cover with 2 to 3 inches of soil.

How to Space Dahlias

Bedding (dwarf) dahlias can be planted 9-12 inches apart. Smaller types (approx. 3 feet tall) should be spaced 2 feet apart, and taller Dahlias should be planted around 3 feet apart to allow optimal growing room.

Check out some of our other blogs!

When to plant summer-flowering bulbs

Gladiolus

With one planting season over, it’s time to start looking forward to the next one. Spring planting season may seem far away, but it is never too early to start planning your beautiful garden displays. Get ahead and start planning for summer by learning when to plant summer-flowering bulbs.

When to plant bulbs

The optimal time for planting your favourite summer-flowering beauties is in the spring, between march and may. Early spring is the perfect time to start planting again when after all danger of frost has passed, and the soil has warmed up again.

Our favourite bulbs for summer 2021:

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How to protect plants from frost

Frost garden

With the colder days drawing closer, before the frosty mornings are upon us, it’s time to put in place the right protection for your plants, so they’re ready for the harsh winter weather. Submitting your plants to the winter elements without protection can result in blackened, distorted or limp growth and a browning of the leaves of your plants. Since in the UK, there may be between 7 and 10 nights where the temperatures are below freezing, keep reading to learn how to protect plants from frost this winter.

Winter pansies

When to protect your plants

The best way to seek to minimise frost damage is to prevent it in the first instance, rather than seeking a cure after it has happened. Put all frost protecting measures in place at the first sign of frosts.

Winter plant protection

How to prevent frost damage

Use protective wrappings such as bed sheets, blankets to cover tender and vulnerable plants. This acts like insulation, keeping warm air from the ground around the plant.

More frost protection tips:

  • Place plants in frost-resistant spots
  • Lift and store tender perennials
  • Avoid frost pockets
  • Cover plants before nightfall
  • Protect plants with cloches
  • Warm plants with water jugs
  • Water before a frost
  • Bring potted plants indoors
  • Wrap fruit trees

Check out some of out other blogs:

winter garden
Flower bulbs

How late to plant spring-flowering bulbs

Many believe that early-mid autumn is the only time window for planting spring-flowering bulbs, but the truth is, if you miss this timeframe, don’t worry; there’s still plenty of time to plant bulbs. Keep reading to view our tips for planting spring-flowering bulbs in late autumn and winter.

When should you stop planting spring bulbs?

Tulips, Daffodils and all other spring flowering bulbs are normally planted throughout September, October and November. However, if you still have spring bulbs to plant, you can still plant them in December, as long as the ground isn’t frozen. A good rule of thumb is as long as it’s still mild, it isn’t too late. You can even keep planting tulip bulbs into January if the weather allows!

What do you do if the ground is frozen?

If the ground is frozen, there’s another option. Plant your remaining bulbs in pots using potting soil and store them in a dark, cool place over winter (e.g. garage or cellar), until the ground becomes workable again.

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Community News: WARA improving green spaces in Kingston-upon-Thames

WARA (Wolverton Avenue Residents Association) is a local community group in Kingston-upon-Thames. The aim of this group is to keep their local area neat, tidy and colourful, while getting residents and local kids to join in and help.

Recently Kingston council encouraged WARA to adopt the seven large planters in the busy avenue. Although no funding was available WARA have managed to construct and refurbish the planters but bulbs were needed to give early colourful impact. So, after getting in contact with the group, we were thrilled to get involved and provide a donation.

To continue to highlight the importance of maintaining green spaces around the UK, J. Parker’s sent WARA 1000 Daffodils and 500 Tulips to plant in their local community green spaces.

The group were kind enough to share some of the photos of their planting days with us. We love seeing local groups taking nature into their own hands in local spaces.

Fabulously Festive Cranberry Sauce Recipe

We don’t know about you, but Christmas dinner just isn’t complete without a side of cranberry sauce ready and waiting on the table! This delicious cranberry sauce recipe is not only easy, but it tastes amazing too. Give it a go throughout this festive season.


Servings: 8

Time: 15 minutes


You will need:

  • 1 small pan

Ingredients:

  • 250g fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 100ml orange juice (carton is fine)

Instructions:

  • Step 1
    On a medium heat, add the orange juice and light muscovado sugar to your pan and stir to combine. Bring mix to boil.
  • Step 2
    Add your cranberries and let stew until soft and tender, but are still holding their shape. This will take around 5-10 minutes depending on whether you use frozen or fresh berries.
  • Step 3
    Take off the heat once the cranberries are soft but slightly intact. The sauce will thicken when cooling. Will keep well in the fridge for a week. Warm up to room temperature before serving.

Tips

  • Is there a difference between using fresh cranberries or frozen?

The only difference between fresh and frozen cranberries can be seen in the time it takes for each to get soft and tender when simmering. If using frozen cranberries, the process may only take 5 minutes, whereas using fresh berries may take longer (8-10 minutes). Its all just personal preference!

  • Should the sauce be made to use on the day?

This sauce can be kept within the fridge for up to a week. Keep in a tight lidded container to remain extra fresh! Remove on the day of your dinner and leave on the side to achieve a room temperature before serving.

Liked this recipe? We recommend these!

How to Create a Japanese Inspired Garden

japanese themed gardens

Japanese themed gardens create a calming space to unwind after a long day. Using a combination of simple elements and spiritual design creates an impressive tranquil haven, perfect for any size of garden.

If you’re looking to create your own zen garden, follow our tips for inspiration.

Paths and Bridges

japanese themed gardens bridge

Bridges and stoned pathways are often used within Japanese themed gardens. The stone symbolises the element, whereas bridges insinuate peace and serenity. Depending on the space you have to work with, a small bridge can be perfect to easily separate two areas.

Water Features

japanese themed gardens fountain

Similar to the use of bridges, water features bring a sense of tranquility and peace. However, less is always more! Make your water feature the main focus of your garden to achieve an authentic design.

Let’s Talk Plants

japanese themed gardens plants

Japanese themed gardens are often styled to one colour scheme. Reds, greens, and whites are most common. When it comes to picking which plants to use in your garden, Azaleas and Peonies are perfect!

Each plant’s used for their calming colours, an essential aspect for any zen garden.

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