What to Do In the Garden this April

Last Updated on 01/04/2021 by Amber Williams

What garden jobs to do in april - admire your crocuses

Spring has sprung, Daffodils are blooming, the sun is shining – Let’s talk about garden jobs to do in April.

Now that the spring season is in full force, it’s truly time to get gardening. Not only is there plenty to plant this month, but there’s also lots to do! Follow this quick and easy guide to help you write your monthly to-do list.

De-weed the Garden

Deweed the garden to prepare for spring gardening

Nothing is more annoying than those pesky weeds clogging up valuable plant space! Before you plant any new plants or flowers, get rid of as many weeds as you can. Make sure to try and get the whole root to ensure it doesn’t grow back!

Give Your House Plants Some Love

Regularly water your house plants

Now that the weather is starting to get warmer, your indoor plants will need extra TLC! Start to feed them a liquid fertiliser once a week to encourage a healthy growth, continuing through to Autumn.

Hanging Baskets at the Ready!

Stuck for garden jobs to do in April? Start to plan and plant your hanging baskets.

Now is a great time to start potting up your summer bedding plants, especially for hanging baskets. Flowers like Sweet Peas, Petunias and Geraniums are perfect for both seasonal hanging baskets and throughout borders! However, if you’re in colder parts of the country like Scotland, wait until the threat of frost is gone.

More Garden Jobs to do in April

  • Feed roses and shrubs. You can do this by using general purpose fertiliser.
  • Grow herbs in trays (This includes Coriander, Chives, Parley and Basil).
  • If you’re an owner of a greenhouse, give it a general tidy and spring clean before you start to spend more time in there. There’s nothing worse than being hit in the face by a cobweb or two when you’re potting up plants!
  • Deadhead spring flowering blooms to encourage regular growth.
  • Protect your newly planted fruits at night by covering them with a garden fleece. This will protect them from sudden frosts in the evening or weather that’s colder than expected.

More from J Parker’s

What to plant in April
Why gardening should be taught in schools


What to Plant in April

Last Updated on 23/04/2021 by Esther Roberts

Not sure on what to plant this April? Although it isn’t officially summer, British Summertime has begun! With the clocks going forwards and lockdown restrictions being lifted, your garden is about to be the best place to be. Don’t forget to order summer bedding or hanging basket plants!

Here’s what to plant this April, from bulbs to vegetables, we’ve got it all.


Begonias

Begonias are a staple for any and every garden. Producing compact and vigorous plants with bright flowers up to 7cm across. Begonias make the perfect addition for not just the garden but also, patio pots, window boxes or the front of a border. Plant them now to ensure they are in full bloom for summer.

Begonia Double Exhibition Pink
Begonia Double Exhibition Yellow

Calla Lilies

Calla Lilies are vividly beautiful and exotic looking tuberous perennials. With waxy leaves and bright colours, Calla Lilies – sometimes known as Zantedeschia – are ideal for pots or as part of a summer border. They make for excellent cut flowers too! Plant now in humus rich, moist soil for a summer bloom.

Zantedeschia Lipstick
Zantedeschia Captain Solo

Gladioli

Gladioli are the perfect addition to any garden, coming in a wide variety of shapes, colours and sizes. They are a must-have for the summer garden, a British favourite for many years. Supplied as corms, they should be planted in well drained, light, sandy soil.

Gladioli Large Flowering Bicolour Collection
Gladioli Perry

Crocosmia

Our wonderful Crocosmia collection will help you create the summer garden of your dreams. With an abundance of bold and beautiful flowers, these flowers look perfect in pots or containers on the patio. Or plant in groups within the border for a larger display. Plant now for the best summer garden!

Crocosmia Emily McKenzie
Crocosmia Emberglow

Tomatoes

April is the last month to plant your tomatoes so they can be ready to be harvested in the summer. Plant in well drained soil or compost and deadhead when necessary to ensure proper growth. They’re also super easy for beginners!

Read more J Parker’s planting guides:

Spring Photo Competition 2021 Winners

Last Updated on 29/03/2021 by Esther Roberts

It is officially British Summertime meaning Spring has finished, much like our competition. We want to thank each and every one of you for participating. We had such a fun time looking at all of your amazing photography, there’s some real talent here! But without further ado, here are the winners!

1ST PLACE – 1 WINNER OF X WIN £100 VOUCHER FOR J PARKERS

Congratulations, Diane Simpson! Your Fritillaria Crown Imperial looks absolutely stunning, the composition of the shot is impeccable. The way the water softly drops off of the petals and the bright blue sky in the background, you can even see the watering can in the shot! A very gorgeous photo that is deserving of our first place prize!

2ND PLACE – 1 WINNERS OF X WIN £75 VOUCHER FOR J PARKERS

Say hello to our second place winner, Pam Reading! Although flowers rightfully belong in the sun, it isn’t easy to find them looking their best in the dead of winter. That is why I like this picture so much, it manages to capture the beauty of winter and the fact that nature is always present. A very pretty picture, that takes second place!

3RD PLACE – 1 WINNERS OF X WIN £50 VOUCHER FOR J PARKERS

Our third place winner is, Jo Johns! I really like how close up this image is as it allows us to get up close and personal with each and every delicate petal. The addition of the butterfly just takes it up a level, showing the beauty of everything that nature has to offer!

RUNNERS UP – 7 WINNERS OF X WIN £25 VOUCHER FOR J PARKERS

A round of applause for our incredible runners up! It was so hard choosing between all of our entries so don’t think you’ve just about made the cut. All of these images were chosen for specific reasons and you should all be very proud of yourselves!

David Ward
Greg Rylatt
Debbie Woollacott
Fiona Haughton
John Fisher
Kerry Adams
Suzanne Thorne

That is it for the Spring Photo Competition 2021! Once again, thank you to everyone who emailed us their entries, we had so much fun looking through all of them. Photography is amazing because it allows us a brief glimpse into someone else’s vision. With all of your amazing gardens, it’s great to see how you’ve been able to transform your space using our bulbs!

Check out some of our other blogs and competitions!

Why gardening should be taught in school

Last Updated on 29/03/2021 by Shannen Godwin

As well as being good outdoor fun, school gardening has been proven to have many benefits to health and wellbeing. In 2008, The RHS ‘Campaign for School Gardening’ launched, and since then over 12,000 educational institutes have signed up. The RHS campaign aims to show how gardening can enrich the curriculum and encourage schools to use it as a teaching tool

Gardening is often an overlooked subject for schools. However, many studies have proved how it can help develop several life skills and improve environmental education. Below are just some of the ways in which gardening benefits school children, from new skills to improved academic performance.

Social & Emotional Benefits

According to a 2017 study, access to green space has a link to improved mental well-being and cognitive development of children. Growing plants and vegetables can be very satisfying for children – giving them a positive boost to their self-esteem. Whilst the garden can often be a place for fun, it can also provide a place for children to have some calm and peaceful time. Another study based around the effect of school environments green areas found that pupils should “engage in activities and learning experiences within natural environments as much as possible, in order to boost their psychological and physiological well-being.”

Encourages Exercise and Healthy Eating

A study by Harvard found that the number of calories burnt from 30 minutes of gardening is comparable to playing badminton, volleyball or practising yoga. By bending over to pull out weeds, digging holes for planting, and simply moving around, children tend to become more active, reducing the risk of child obesity. Therefore, gardening is an essential activity for encouraging children to get outside and stay healthy.

It can also sometimes be a struggle to get children to eat healthy foods and enjoy them. Harvesting fruit and vegetables can be both educational and rewarding. Growing vegetables not only teaches kids hard work, but they get a sense of achievement knowing they are eating food they have grown themselves.

Develops Responsibility

Gardening is a great way to encourage your little ones to accept responsibility for a certain task or project. Adopting a healthy attitude to responsibility and accountability will also help your children take pride in their accomplishments.

Improves Social Skills

Gardening can be a very sociable activity. Children can learn to work together and will enjoy discussing different types of flowers, and the anticipation of waiting for whose flower will shoot through the soil first will encourage children to interact and engage.

Also, for special needs children there are many benefits to gardening and working with plants. Many children with special needs may have few opportunities for social interactions, but gardening with a group of students offers a safe place to engage with others and make friends.

Check out some of our other blogs:

Easy Rhubarb Crumble Recipe

Last Updated on 26/03/2021 by Amber Williams

Rhubarb crumble is a British spring staple, beloved by families across the country. Its tart nature hidden underneath a sweet layer of crumble is unbeatable, especially when you’re craving a classic home cooked dessert.

This quick and easy rhubarb crumble recipe will become the star of the show to any family dinner! Find out how in this easy to follow guide.

Servings: Family of 4

Time: 15 minutes prep, 45/50 minutes to cook

You will need:

  • Medium/large sauce pan
  • Medium baking dish (around 1.2ltr)

Ingredients:

  • 500g rhubarb, chopped into chunks
  • 140g self raising flour
  • 85g butter, cold
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 50g light brown muscovado sugar

Instructions:

  1. Combine the Rhubarb and Sugar – Put your rhubarb and caster sugar into a sauce pan. Cover and keep on a low heat.
  2. Soften the Rhubarb – Stir the sugar into the rhubarb gently. Take care not to break down the rhubarb too much, unless you prefer it to be pureed. Keep this mixture on a low heat for about 15 minutes until soft. Add more sugar if you want a sweeter taste (we all know how tart rhubarb can be!).
  3. Set aside for now – Once the rhubarb and sugar mixture is as sweet as you’d like, pour into your baking dish. Now is a great time to pre-heat the oven (180C fan/200C/Gas 6)
  4. Prep the crumble – Grab your self-raising flour and butter use your hands to rub the two together to create a tasty crumble topping. Add your muscovado sugar and combine again using your hands.
  5. Add the crumble topping – Distribute the crumble over the rhubarb mixture in the baking dish and pop in the oven for 30 minutes (or until golden brown).
  6. Serve! – Pair with your favourite custard or ice cream for a final flourish.


Tips

  • Add other fruits for a taste explosion

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can add other fruits like strawberries to the rhubarb mixture.

  • How to store if there’s leftovers

This crumble is not only safe to refrigerate, but can be frozen too! Place in a container or wrap with clingfilm and consume within 3 months.

Hungry for more? Try another of our other handy recipes!

How To Plant Calla Lilies

Last Updated on 13/04/2021 by Shannen Godwin


Zantedeschia, often known as Calla lilies, are popular exotic looking plants that are native to South Africa. If you’re new to gardening, or would like to learn how to plant Zantedeschia, you’ve come to the right place! This handy guide includes everything you need to know about planting and caring for Zantedeschia (Calla Lilies).

How to Plant Zantedeschia

Learning how to plant Zantedeschia is as easy as pie! They like moist, well-drained soil and prefer to be planted closer to the surface. Where possible, plant them in a sunnier location. As a native to Africa, they will appreciate it!

Plant the tubers shallow, so the top of the tubers are slightly exposed. Water freely and apply a balanced fertiliser every two weeks until the flowers have faded. Keep slightly moist in winter.

Each tuber will produce several stems, perfect for creating cut flowers. Brighten up any room with a delightful bouquet or surprise your friends and family with a bunch of these stunning flowers.

Getting the most from your tubers


Calla Lilies can be lifted after flowering and stored throughout winter, allowing you to plant them again in spring. Simply dig them up once they have died back. The best time for this is usually in autumn, around the time the first frosts are beginning to set in. Dust off the soil and place them somewhere cool and dry on some old newspaper for several days to allow them to dry off. They can then be stored in a dark, dry area and a cool spot in some peat moss over the winter.

Once spring arrives again and the temperatures turn mild, you can replant your Calla Lilies for a gorgeous show throughout the season!

Some of our Favourites

Zantedeschia Cantor (Calla Lily)

A very popular variety for contemporary flower arrangements, exotic Zantedeschia Cantor boasts deep purple blooms.

Zantedeschia Lipstick (Calla Lily)

The Calla Lipstick presents gentle cream spadices, surrounded by contrasting vivid pink spathes.

Zantedeschia aethiopica (Calla Lily)

Zantedeschia aethiopica is a wonderful Calla Lily, also known as the White Arum Lily. This premium variety looks superb grown in groups within the flower bed and border.

Read more from J Parker’s

How to make pickled Magnolia blooms

Last Updated on 24/03/2021 by Esther Roberts

Did you know that Magnolia flowers are edible? Not only are they beautiful to look at, but also delicious to eat! With a mild ginger flavour they go wonderfully with a plethora of dishes! They can be eaten raw but the the best way we have found to enjoy this flower, is pickled. It’s super easy and simple, this guide will show you how!

Servings: 8 – 10

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Pickling time: 24 – 48 hours


You will need:

  • Jars for storing oil (glass or plastic)
  • 80-100 grams magnolia petals, freshly picked
  • 150 ml white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  1. Clean your petals – Wash petals to ensure they’re free from any pests. Allow them to dry fully before starting the pickling process.
  2. Prep your jars Thoroughly sterilise your jars before creating your pickling mixture.
  3. Heat ingredients Mix vinegar, sugar and salt and bring to a boil.
  4. Prepare petals – Allow pickling mixture to cool whilst preparing petals. Once thoroughly dried, break the petals off the flower at their base. Discard everything but the petals and slice thinly. Continue until all the flowers are cut.
  5. Pickle Magnolias – Once the mixture has cooled, pour into the jar and add the petals. Make sure that the petals are submerged.
  6. Processing time Refrigerate over night or longer if you desire a stronger flavour.

Tips:

  • How long do pickled Magnolia last?

Pickled Magnolia will keep in the refrigerator for 4 months to 1 year. But note that the longer they are kept, the colour will become browner.

  • How to use pickled Magnolia

Pickled Magnolia can be enjoyed straight from the jar, but it also pairs well with salads, sushi and any other dish that needs a savoury accompaniment.

Hungry for more? Check out some of our other homegrown recipes:

Where to plant fragrant flowers

Last Updated on 25/03/2021 by Esther Roberts

Fragrant flowers are best suited to the most optimal placement for the full garden experience. All flowers are beautiful, but not all of them have a strong enough fragrance that can transform your garden from not just looking gorgeous, but smelling gorgeous too!

Fragrant walkways

Walkways are a great place to plant your fragrant flowers. Their position on the ground lining the walkway will allow the breeze to gently lift the scent from the flowers. It will fill the air as you follow the path, leaving a beautiful scent in the air . A great plant to make your walkways fragrant is Lavender. With tall stems it will not only make your walkway more defined but the foliage will add some density to your garden. When all the stems come together they will fill the air with the sweet fragrance.

Aromatic hanging baskets

Hanging baskets are a great feature for any garden. They can help turn your uneventful walls into something beautiful! As they’re positioned above the ground the fragrance from the baskets will immediately fill the surrounding area with the scent, making each breath that little bit more sweeter. A favourite for hanging baskets is Petunia Tumbelina Priscilla, a highly scented plant with long trails. Our double flowering variety, blooms in abundance throughout the summer months ensuring that your garden stays fragrant for longer.

Scented statement piece

The cherry on top of your beautifully scented garden: a statement piece. The biggest and most beautiful of the bunch, a statement piece in the garden is sure to grab all of the attention. Which is why choosing the right plant is important! Wherever this plant is positioned it will have people coming back for more of its sweet scent. The plant Dianthus Doris seems to be made for this spot. Ideal for pots and containers, Dianthus Doris produces a beautiful pink bloom which continues to flower from June right up to October. It is sure to provide colour in your garden for many months each year.

Great smelling flowers only add to the fun of gardening. It’s nice to have flowers that look good. But when you have flowers that also smell good it creates a whole new atmosphere in your garden. Whether you’re weeding, watering or just admiring your hard work, you’ll be able to take a deep breath and smell what you have successfully cultivated.

Check out some of our other blogs:

Why gardening has become the latest trend for millennials

Last Updated on 22/03/2021 by Shannen Godwin

lady holding flowers

In the UK, there are around 27 million people who partake in gardening. It’s common to think that only older generations enjoy gardening, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Parker’s orders from 18-24 year olds increased by 213% in February 2021 from February 2020. So, what has made young people getting into gardening? We’ve done some research to uncover the reasons behind the spike in gardening millennials.

Mental Health Benefits

woman watering flowers

With the pandemic causing a rise in unemployment and uncertain futures, mental health care has never been so important. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 70% of 18-34 year olds experience mental health issues in comparison to 58% of those aged 55 years or above. A recent study by AXA Insurance has found that 50% of people who undertake gardening say they have seen an improvement in their happiness, while 44 per cent admitted to feeling lower levels of stress and anxiety after becoming green-fingered.

The Millennial Move

millennial woman holding box of flowers for gardening

Covid has changed the way we view cities. A prediction in the U.K. economic outlook report states that London’s population is expected to decline for the first time in the 21st century. During the pandemic, many millennials have switched the city lifestyle for the suburbs.

Difficulties of city living are more obvious than ever in lockdown: trapped in properties that are, on average, smaller than elsewhere; and having less access to a garden (21 per cent of Londoners do not have a garden). Along with the suburban living trend, the growing interest in natural products and sustainability has never been more prevalent.

The Houseplant Frenzy

millennials caring for houseplants

In recent years, houseplants have enjoyed a massive boom in popularity, especially with Millennials and Gen Z. Sales of houseplants at garden centres across the UK were up 81% in July (2020). Compared with the same month in 2019, according a report published by the Garden Centre Association (GCA).

The millennial love of houseplants also has a lot to do with the self-care and wellness movements. As well, many young people lack access to an outdoor space (due to living in urban spaces, such as flats), so bringing plants inside make those benefits much more accessible. With less space and less time to garden in a home landscape setting, millennials have taken to indoor gardening, which has lead to further similar interests in container growing and small-space vegetable production.

Overall, millennials enjoy gardening for much the same reason as older adults. They enjoy the contentment, peace and satisfaction that comes from tending plants. That much hasn’t changed across generations.

Check out some of our other blogs:

How to compost with or without a garden

Last Updated on 22/03/2021 by Shannen Godwin

It’s National Compost Week! How to compost with or without a garden is no doubt a popular question amongst the gardening community. Not only is it positive for the environment, but it can also be important for the garden as well helping to promote healthy growth and sustainability.

What is compost?

Compost is made up of food scraps and kitchen waste, such as eggshells, fruit and vegetable ends and corn cobs and stalks. The best thing about compost is that you are not throwing away anything essential, only the bits and pieces that would end up in the bin anyway. This makes creating compost an easy task and something that everyone can do. It is also great for the environment. A win-win!

Other elements that make up a good compost are from the garden itself. Leaves, shrub prunings, lawn or garden weeds, grass and flower clippings.  Even household items like cardboard and shredded paper make great compost! But remember to steer clear of any raw materials like bones (meat or fish), banana peels or diseased plants.

Each of these come together to add much needed nutrients to the garden, restoring vitality to the soil and promoting faster plant growth and health. Good compost comes from a healthy 50/50 mix of all the above to create nitrogen and carbon which makes the garden grow. Nitrogen comes from the green materials such as leaves and weeds, while carbon comes from brown materials such as cardboard and pinecones. But, enough chemistry lessons, you want to know how to compost!

Composting with a garden

There are several ways to make good use of all the space you have in your garden and create somewhere to cultivate your compost. The easiest way is with a compost trench!

Step 1:

Dig a deep trench about 60cm deep. Ensure you have a nice amount of space that can be filled with your compost mixture.

Step 2:

With each compost mixture cover with soil. Continue this step until the trench is full, coating one last time with soil. This will allow each layer to rot down and start creating the moisture and nutrients that your plants will love.

Step 3:

Sow or plant your seeds on top of the compost trench and their roots will grow down into the nutrient filled soil which, thanks to the compost, will start promoting a healthy growth and beautiful bloom. Remember to water regularly.

Composting without a garden

Even if you do not have the space to create a compost trench there are still easy ways to achieve the same growth as those who do!

Step 1:

If you already have a compost bin then great, if not then they can be easily purchased or made. Just ensure that it is deep enough to hold many layers of compost and soil.

Step 2:

Much like with the trench, start to create layers of scraps and then cover with soil. Remember to water regularly.

Step 3:

Sow or plant your seeds on top of the soil. This is where things differ a little, once your plants have started to sprout you can transfer them from the bin to your usual planting space. As the roots have started in the compost, they will be full of nutrients that will aid them as they continue to grow. Or they can remain in the bin until they have fully grown.

National Compost Week is a great time to start thinking about the other benefits to having a garden. Whether it be fresh produce or blooming flowers, there are many ways to continue making a positive impact on the environment and cultivate the garden of your dreams.

Check out some of our other blogs: