Grow Your Own: Potatoes

Solanum tuberosum 'Maris Piper' in wooden trug
Solanum tuberosum ‘Maris Piper’


Whether in an allotment or your own garden there is an undeniable joy in growing your own produce – and where better to start than with a classic staple – the potato! One of the most versatile vegetables, potatoes feature in the most traditional and creative dishes and can be a great addition to a healthy diet plan.


The potato is healthy – FACT!

  • Potato skins are a great source of fibre and potassium.
  • Salt free
  • Low in sugar
  • Potatoes are naturally saturated fat free (You can even find machines these days that will fry them into chips using as little oil as possible! Not that that makes them healthy!)

Potatoes are gluten free – great news for coeliacs!

Woman harvesting salad potatoes 'Bambino' grown in patio planter bag
Harvesting salad potatoes ‘Bambino’ grown in patio planter bag

Coeliac disease can be difficult to cater for, gluten free products are getting more varied (and tasting better) than a few years ago but they are often very expensive. The humble potato is cheap and gluten free.

You can grow potatoes in the smallest of spaces! If you have a smaller garden or simply want to keep your potato gardening organised try using grow bags. Our 40 litre Patio Potato Sacks will grow 5-7 seeds per sack. Find out how to grow potatoes in sacks here!

(See here how you can use the Patio Sacks to grow Asparagus or Rhubarb!)


SO …. now we’ve established potatoes are the best (!) we need to help you choose the right potato for you – because there are a lot of options!

Potato Varieties

  1. Salad Potatoes (harvest June –September)
Potato Charlotte


Charlotte are a favourite of all chefs, very useful for more than salads. A long oval shape, with a beautiful floury taste. Pink Fir Apple are a more traditional variety, suitable for boiling, baking or steaming. They are long knobbly in shape, with pink skin and a creamy coloured flesh.

Salad potatoes ‘Maris Peer’ in trug


2. Second Early Harvest (June-July)

They take a little longer to harvest than the first Early varieties – from late June. Bonnie is a very popular all-rounder. Maris Peer has a firm white variety with a high yield. The award winning Kestrel is very smooth in texture with purple eyes. Great old fashioned variety.


Solanum tuberosum ‘King Edward’ – Potatoes

3. Main Crop Varieties (harvest August-October)

These take the longest to harvest and take up slightly more space in the growing patch. King Edward and Maris Piper are well known all round favourites, while Cara is a heavy cropping variety with the added bonus of being very drought/disease resistant. Desiree is the best of all the red main crop varieties, ideal to boil, mash, chip or sauté.


Click HERE to view our full range of Potatoes!

Grown Your Own: Asparagus in Patio Growing Sacks

Asparagus Backlim – End of season variety, thick spears. Excellent flavor.


You don’t have to use our Patio growing sacks for just potatoes – they work equally well for growing Asparagus! (you can even grow Rhubarb in them).




You can get Asparagus all year round in supermarkets BUT recently there has been a huge drive to ‘support local’ so from April to June (British cropping season) the shelves will be full of UK varieties.

Asparagus will produce their first real crop 12 months after planting. If you are growing your own you can buy varieties to cover the whole cropping season – see J Parker’s range here.


Asparagus Gijnlim
Asparagus Gijnlim – Early, high yielding, medium size spears. Quality favorite for commercial growers.

Asparagus grow in trenches in fields and the border so we need to replicate this in the grow bag. Make sure the bag has drainage holes, if not make some.

Step 1 – Create a hole 6-8 inches deep in the middle of the bag with a small mound of compost at the bottom. Well-rotted manure or general fertilizer can be used in the compost.

Asparagus Herkolim
Asparagus Herkolim – Mid season variety. Large uniform spears . Premium quality and flavor




Step 2 – Spread the roots over the mound you have created at the bottom and cover the crown with 2 inches of soil, try and use fine soil for this or sieve/riddle before you cover the crown.




Step 3 – Fill up with compost as the shoots grow, gradually filling up the hole whilst still leaving a small part of the shoot exposed. When the shoots reach the main level the hole can be filled completely.

Step 4 – Water newly planted crowns thoroughly and keep damp during dry weather.

Step 5 – Any stems produced within the first 12 months should be left to produce bushy stems, the foliage will look like ferns.

Asparagus Pacific Purple
Asparagus Pacific Purple – Purple variety with sweet, string-less spears in May-Early June

Step 6 – Cut down the stems in autumn to 5cm above soil level.

Step 7 – The following year the stems can be harvested. When they are 12cm/5 inches long cut the stems 7cm/3 inches below the soil. Do not let the spears grow too tall.

Step 8 – By mid-June stop harvesting, let any remaining spears fully develop to fortify next year’s crop.


Grown Your Own: Seed Potatoes in Sacks

Potatoes in Growing Bag

We sell certified seed potatoes which are
supplied as grade
33-55cm seeds. 30 seeds weigh
approximately 2-2.5kg (salads 1.5-2kg).

Step 1 –

Fill one third of your Patio Potato Sack (15-20cm) with the damp compost
and place the seed potatoes on top of the compost. Then cover the seed potatoes
with a further 10cm of compost up to half of the sack.

Step 2

As plants start to grow and green foliage appears add more compost
around them to slowly fill up the potato sacks to a few inches
from the top. We do this as the potatoes grow from the stem beneath the
soil level so we want to keep that stem covered.

Every time that you add more compost you can feed the bag
with a general potato fertilizer which is high in potash.

Make sure you keep the compost moist at all times, but not too moist
as the tubers/seed potatoes will rot if over watered at this stage.

Step 3 –

For a bumper pack, increase watering when the plants
flower (this is when the tubers begin to form). They will usually be ready
for harvesting once the flowers begin to open.

Step 4

About two weeks before the potatoes are ready to harvest
you should cut all the growth off at ground level to prepare
the potatoes for lifting, making the skins tougher and less
likely to break on lifting.

Woman harvesting salad potatoes 'Bambino' grown in patio planter bag
Woman harvesting salad potatoes ‘Bambino’ grown in patio planter bag

How-to Tutorial

In this easy to follow video planting guide, Jeff demonstrates how to grow your own potatoes in a grow bag.

Our Top Choices

1. Potato Casablanca

Potato Casablanca

Casablanca are a superb new First Early Variety producing white skin and creamy coloured flesh. A great all-rounder. Casablanca has good resistance to common scab, blackleg and golden eelworm. This new variety is bound to become a household name and be one of the top potatoes in the kitchen.

2. Potato Desiree

Best red, main crop variety. Desiree potatoes have a firm, creamy tasting flesh making them ideal for smooth mash or being cooked in a sauce, such as our favourite Potato Dauphinoise/Dauphinoise Potatoes. Desiree are easily recognisable by their lovely red skin and light yellow flesh. Desiree are normally larger, longer and oval shape.

Potato Maris Piper

3. Potato Maris Piper (Main Crop)

This is the best option for beginners and the best chipping variety available, and a versatile ‘all rounder’. Potato ‘Maris Piper’ produces dry, floury tubers with creamy-white flesh of good flavour, that rarely discolours on cooking.



Click HERE to view our full range of Potatoes!


Welcome to J Parkers Blog ……. and other interesting things!

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Welcome to our Blog!

Here you’ll find updates on everything we are doing here at J Parker’s along with some great gardening tips and advice.


A little bit about us….

The Parkers Way back in 1933 Martin Duiker-Parker came from Holland and started a mail order bulb business. He was following the footstep of three generations of his family, all bulb growers and exporters and his son, Chris, and grandsons Paul and Daniel are carrying on this tradition to this very day!


We now have three Garden centers in Manchester and Cheshire and a thriving wholesale department along with our mail order side which now takes order over the web as well as by phone or post.

Have you seen ourJeff How to Videos?

We have a whole series of How Too… Video Guides staring the marvellous Jeff Turner!
Jeff is a plant expert who’s years of experience and boundless enthusiasm are a real treat
for all you gardeners out there be you novice or expert!

How to Plant…..

We are building a comprehensive guide to complement our Videos and Cultural Instructions and How Supplied information. We aim to cover many of the plants we have on offer here at Parker’s so you can expect to see this category growing as we add more products as well as as ideas and advice on garden projects

hanging basket how too flat

Did we miss anything?

If you have any questions or things you would like to see on our website get in touch and we’ll do our best to include your ideas! Please contact us via Facebook or Twitter.

Some simple ways to create an eco-friendly garden

With economic difficulties over the past few years and with an increased attention given to environmental issues (both domestically and around the world) now is a great time to take stock and evaluate exactly how environmentally friendly (eco-friendly) our gardens actually are.

Eco Friendly Gardening is all the rage

We may never reach the scales of the popular 70’s BBC show ‘The Good Life’ but we can all do a little here and there to help. Regardless of whether your garden has an aesthetic focus (ornamental only) or a productive (food producing) focus there are many small, simple to implement and relatively low cost techniques which can easily be introduce to improve the overall friendliness of the garden.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – The overall goal should be to create a wonderful garden; somewhere you can easily relax and enjoy the rewards of all your hard work. Simultaneously this should be done with one eye on the environment! Eco-gardening is a way of making the garden more self-sustainable by reducing the energy /water the garden uses up, improving air circulation, promoting recycling, attracting wildlife and in essence being less wasteful.

Saving on water is a great way to get started – One of the best ways to get start is to look at ways in which you can reduce the amount of water used in the garden around the year. By using water from the mains less and less you will help significantly to reduce the overall national water use rate, but on a domestic level you should see the yearly household water bill come down (which can be no bad thing). Some key ways to reduce water used are as follows :

  • Water plants early in the morning or late at night. Watering during hot periods (such as lunchtime and early afternoon) when the sun is at its strongest will waste water due to evaporation and will be less beneficial to the plants themselves.
  • Watering
    Watering at the right times can reduce water waste

    Install a water butt and re-use rainwater. Why not, it’s free and will reduce your water bills? Water butts can be an efficient and cost effective way to collect and reuse natural rainwater. The beauty of living in a country like Britain is that we get plenty of rainfall throughout the year. The thought that we do not collect and reuse this, instead being depending on water from the tap can be a little hard to understand at times. Some very large water butts can store over 24,000 litres of water (although there are plenty to choose from to suit all garden sizes) and can easily be transferred to the water can for use around the garden.

  • Introduce drought-resistant plants. There are many great drought resistant plants which can be introduced to the garden and will thus reduce the dependence on manual watering during dry periods. For more advice on drought resistant plant visit the RHS website for their comprehensive list of recommended plants.

Improve air circulation and quality

Planting trees in the garden – To improve the purity of air you could try planting some larger trees such as conifers, Betula, Beech trees and Magnolia. Not only will they look beautiful through the year they will help improve the circulation and quality of air. This is even more important in urban areas where the actual air is more likely to become polluted because of increased exposure to chemicals and gasses.The role of trees is not one to underestimate. They produce the oxygen we need to survive and also help to remove particles from the air that could potentially be harmful. They also act as protection to other plants, provide a cooling shade in the summer and also can help reduce noise for your garden.

Create a space for peace and tranquility

Create a water feature or pond. You could also look at introducing a water feature into the garden area to improve purity of air. A steady stream and flow of water, not only adds a sense of tranquillity and beauty but also helps to remove harmful pollutants from the air. This along with some well positioned trees will help create an environment of lovely fresh air and help the plants, soil and your own health as well.

Reduce Electricity used in the garden. By reducing the overall amount of electricity the garden uses your bills will come down and you will be using less national resources. This can only be a good thing, and combined with the work done by wind farms and solar panels we should see an overall reduction in usage from the national grid.

Use solar garden lighting – Instead of using large outdoor lighting you could try to introduce some solar garden lights. They come in many shapes, sizes and budgets and can easily be installed. They will store energy from the natural light during the day and release this when needed at night time. They have become much more reliable in the past ten years as an alternative and are certainly an area to explore.

Choose alternatives to chemicals/pesticides – Where allowable we suggest using organic pesticides and products in and around the garden. Choose the right product for the job and make sure it will not have any detrimental effect on other insects around the garden. You could try using some alternatives to pesticides such as crushed egg shells or grounded coffee beans to deter slugs and snails or by planting marigolds in your flowerbeds (they are known to deter insects and pests).

Strong smelling perennials such as Lavender and Rosemary can also have the effect of keeping pests away from you borders so introducing a number of these will help avoid using chemicals. Many people choose to actually introduce certain insects into the garden as a way of scaring off those pests that will do damage to plants. Lady bugs are great at eating aphids and will help preserve your plants.

Recycling will help create an organic compost or mulch You can create your own organic compost by recycling gardening waste, food waste and fall leaves. By recycling this waste we will be helping to keep it out of the ever increasing landfills and also will in turn create a moisture retentive and rich compost or mulch that can used around the garden. The plants will benefit hugely from this natural and organic addition to the soil and also will save you buying manure or compost the following year.

Attracting and caring for Wildlife is key

The choice of goods to use in the compost bin or heap is almost endless and getting the balance right may take a number of attempts. Luckily the internet can be your friend and will the popularity growing hugely in this area, there are many good gardening forums and websites to offer advice. Some of the most popular, everyday items from the household to find their way onto the compost heap include raw vegetables, crushed egg shells, fruit peelings, newspapers, cardboard and even teabags. Gardening waste such as fallen leaves, wood cuttings, grass cuttings, old bedding plants and plant foliage are also used regularly.

Make the garden wildlife friendly – A key feature to creating a garden that is in touch with nature is to make sure that it is attractive to wildlife. By allocating just a little bit of time and space to your garden, you can easily attract various wildlife to your garden all year around. For many people wildlife is a welcomed addition to the garden providing extra character and also the knowledge that they are doing their bit to help with British conservation.

Make sure you have an area to enjoy and relax – Make sure that you allow an area for enjoyment. Creating a garden full of colour and fresh fruit/vegetables is great and highly rewarding, but one key aspect to making sure your love for gardening lasts a lifetime is getting out and enjoying the garden. Have an area where you and your family/friends can sit around and enjoy the fresh air and beauty you have worked so hard to create.

Gardening should be enjoyable and relaxing

Many people love the summer barbeque as it allows people to gather together outdoors and enjoy their surroundings, with some good food. These great moments are vital to enjoying the garden and the summertime. Get out there and enjoy it! Getting in touch with your own little piece of the environment is critical to becoming an environmental gardener.


Grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs – Growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs is a fun, rewarding and can be a great step towards being less dependent on supermarkets. Even in gardens when space is at a premium you can easily grow strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in pots or containers.

If you have the space available why not allocate a patch or raised bed towards growing some potatoes, carrots, asparagus, beans or whatever vegetables take your fancy. You could also look at planting some fruit trees which not only produce great tasting fruit but will add ornamental blossom on spring.

How to Plant: Summer Geranium Bedding

Trailing Geranium Plants

Creating a colourful summer garden display is one of the best challenges facing the contemporary gardener. One of life’s most enjoyable experiences is to sit out in a well preserved and colourful garden during the warmer summer weather, simply divine!Summer is a time to reap the endless pleasure of months of hard work and sit back, relax and enjoy your surroundings. With the right choice of plants which compliment each other perfectly, then this can easily be achieved.

Geraniums are a popular choice for the summer garden

One of the most popular summer bedding plants and one of the easiest to succeed with is Pelargoniums, or more commonly known as tender Geranium plants. These are not to be confused with the hardy perennial types who share the same name.

Because these are tender young plants and are raised from either seeds or cuttings they are fantastic value for money. Their popularity stems from the wonderful range of colours available at relatively low costs, compared to more expensive pot grown varieties

Border, Patio or Trailing Geraniums look superb in the summer

Patio Aristo Geranium Collection

The benefit of incorporating Geraniums into the summer garden is their usability in various areas. We have a range of items to order online now that can be used in pots, tubs, borders, or in trailing baskets and window boxes. Why not get creative and try growing them in unique or unusual places.

We have had many customers send us photos over the years, where they have been growing summer bedding plants in some unique ways such as in wheelbarrows, slippers, wellington boots, old teapots, etc. Get thinking of some other great places and make a statement that few others will be able to boast of.

How are Summer Bedding Geraniums supplied ?

Our great range of Geraniums (Pelargoniums) are supplied in one of three ways as follows

Maxi Plug Plants As Supplied

Maxi plug plantsOur award winning Maxi plus plants are supplied in trays of 33 or 66. They produce unbeatable value, with a volume per tray of up to 50% more than competitors. They are garden ready, for planting into their final location on arrival. Alternatively they can potted up for a number of weeks to enable the roots to become even stronger.


Rapid plug plants – Trays of 120 young seed raised plants which are fantastic value for money. They are smaller than Maxi plugs but can be potted up in advance of planting outdoors in their final location. All delivered from March, through early May.

Jumbo plug plants – Supplied as large 3cm or 4cm diameter plugs which are ready for planting straight into the border or patio pots. Available in packs of six per variety or in some great money saving collections. Delivery is made from April, through early May.

How to Plant: Summer Geranium plants

  • Your Geranium (Pelargoniums) are despatched by first class post in strong and sturdy packaging to help keep them safe during their travels Immediately upon arrival the plants should be unpacked and allowed to breathe. If the weather is dry, give the plugs a little water on arrival and they will be ready to pot up or plant out within 48 hours.
  • Once ready for potting up we recommend that you use a well-balanced compost mixture, such as John Innes Number 2. It is best to avoid a mixture that is too peaty as this often means the soil can become crusty/dry and thus will repel water.
  • Make sure the soil is well watered and make a hole deep enough to firmly hold the root ball of the Geranium. Make sure during the late spring and early summer that the plants are kept watered (but take care not to over-water) and if growing in pots, make sure that the pots allow for good drainage. It often can help to raise the pots off ground level to maximise drainage.
  • Plant in areas with as much light as possible to assist with healthy flower development. Once buds begin to appear you can consider applying a liquid feed once a week, such as a high potash feed. This should help to encourage more colourful flowers.
  • It is beneficial during the summer months to deadhead the plants to help encourage and improve growth. Remove dead flowers heads to allow for new growth to push through and to keep looking tidy and healthy

How-to Tutorials

Geranium Monarda

Geranium Century

Trailing Geraniums

Unbeatable Value for Money on summer bedding plants

Double Flowering Geraniums

We at J Parkers have been working hard to bring our loyal customers some unbeatable half price collections and some great money saving offers. A great way to add colour to the summer garden, without breaking the bank. This of course is not at the expense of quality, as we only source the best UK grown plugs so you get the best display for your money.


Geranium Double Trailing Collection


Trailing Geraniums – Trailing ivy leafed double geraniums ideal for hanging baskets. An enduringly popular choice of gardeners everywhere, the humble Geranium really has earned its place as a staple of the British garden.Trail 60-70cm.




Geranium Grandeur CollectionA premium range of upright geraniums produce strong and sturdy flowers. A must for growing on the patio



Geranium SIngle Trailing Collection




Trailing Geranium Collection – A rainbow of colour in summer, with single flowering Geraniums. Trails 60-70cm.




You can also order the follow varieties and collections with some great money off deals to be had :



Aristo Geraniums Collection – Perpetual flowering Regal Geraniums from July-October on 25cm plants. Great for the patio.





Geranium F1 Collection – A collection F1 Geraniums, the best quality seed possible. A great flower for patio pots or in window boxes. This collection includes 33 each of Geranium Century Red, White, Rose and Coral. Flowers June to September.



Geranium F1 Mixed – A mixture of F1 Geraniums, supplied as Rapid plug plants. Superb value for money and wonderful mixture of colours. This collection includes 33 Mixed Geraniums (red, white rose coral) and 33 rich scarlet Reds, that sit above palmately lobed foliage.



Geranium Odorata Perfume – A new variety for 2016, this fragrant Geranium plant is perfect for patio borders and containers. The Geranium odorata Perfume also produces distinctive, frilly foliage and ornate, pansy-like blooms of deep magenta edged with palest pink. Height and spread 25-30cm.



Click HERE to view our full Geranium range!


How to Grow Dahlias: Summer Flower Guide

Dahlias have become a very fashionable and valuable summer flowering plant, that will work perfectly with almost all types of plants. They compliment any garden wonderfully regardless of size and can be incorporated into a border or into patio pot/container displays.

Named after the famous 18th Century botanist Anders Dahl, Dahlia plants have been around for many years and are all our Dahlias are supplied as top quality dormant tubers which can be planted straight into the place where they are bloom (their final location). Success rate from these dahlia tubers is extremely high and they are a relatively inexpensive way to create a large number of flowers from one tuber.

Benefits of Planting Dahlias:

1. They are easy to grow, and suitable for gardeners of all skill levels. They are fast growing by their nature and will flower in the first year and for many years to come (just keep them stored and frost free over the winter).

2. They are versatile and will tolerate most types of well drained, fertile soil or compost. They can be grown successfully in pots, tubs, window boxes and in borders.

Pom Pom Dahlia Mix (Jill varieties)

3. They are one of our favourite summer bulbs because of the many different types/sizes/colours available, which all look slightly different in shape, but are all equal in beauty.

4. Year after year sees many new exciting new varieties introduced which means once hooked on Dahlias, you will continually be able to find and try something new.

5. They flower continuously through the summer, right up until the first frost of the autumn.

6. They look fantastic as cut flowers and are great for lovers of something a little different.

Types of Dahlias to try Growing this Year

The main types of Dahlias available can be classified into a number of different categories, representing the main characteristics of the flower blooms themselves.

Dahlia Blue Bayou ®
Dahlia Cabana Banana


Anemone Flowering Sometimes referred to as Powder Puff Dahlias, these beauties produce unique flowers with double feathered central petals resembling a Powder Puff.





Cactus A favourite for many years, Cactus Dahlias produce fully double pointed petals which turn backwards to create a tubular petal effect. Sometimes referred to as Spiky Dahlias, they are perfect for the border.


Dark Leaf Dahlias Mixed


Dark Leaf These Dahlias are a little different in that their foliage is not the usual green colours of most varieties. They create an abundance of flowers through the summer as expected, however the blooms appear on darker (usually purple/black) foliage.



Dahlia Arabian Night


Decorative The largest range of large, fully double flowers with rounded petals through the summer right up until the first frosts. They produce masses of flowers for cutting purposes.


Dahlia Gallery Art Fair ®
Dahlia Lilac Time


Dwarf Gallery A range of smaller, more petite Dahlias which are perfect for the front of the border.They are prolific flowering varieties, look also great planted mixed together in pots on the patio.




Dinner Plate As the name suggests these are the largest flowers within the range, often up to as much as 25cm in diameter (see illustration below). Try these as cut flowers and be certain to draw attention.



Dahlia Boom Boom Yellow


Pompom Love the unusual? Then these are certainly for you. Almost spherical flowers (like balls) appear through the summer. The petals have rounded tips and are curved upwards at the edges. The flower heads are also slightly flattened towards the centre.

How to Grow Dahlia plants in pots or containers

Dinner Plate Dahlia Fleurel

A fantastic way to brighten up your patio is to introduce some Dahlias in pots/containers. The colour range is fantastic, with many unusual bi-colour varieties which will brighten up any space. Simply beautiful to sit back and look at during a warm summer afternoon. Supplied as tubers (as illustrated).

1. Once your tubers arrive safely in the post, they can be soaked overnight in a bucket of water to soak up as much moisture as possible.

When all signs of frost have passed they are ready to pot up, giving plenty of time to get well established before the summer.

Tubers as supplied

2. It is recommended to place some pebbles at the bottom of the pots before adding the compost to help with drainage, by ensuring the compost doesn’t block the drainage holes. Fill in some compost and then add the tuber with the growing tip facing upwards. Continue to fill in the rest of the compost to firmly hold the tuber, making sure the growing tip at the top is peeping out and is not completely covered. This is now ready to be moved to the patio or garden area, with access to as much sun as possible.

3. Water well after potting and then keep compost moist but not waterlogged as tubers will rot. You can add a liquid feed weekly during the growing season and provide some protection from slugs as they really love Dahlias.

4. If growing tall varieties, insert a cane to help with growth and to keep secure.

5. Little pruning is needed on Dahlias, however you can deadhead as flowers begin to fade.

Dahlia Planting Tutorials

Dwarf Gallery Dahlias

Decorative Dinnerplate Dahlias

Cactus Dahlias

Bishop Dahlias

Click HERE to view our full Dahlia range!


Grow Your Own: Apple Trees

We are constantly reading on a daily basis about how the world is always changing in ways we can’t control. The world may change, become faster and more digital but something’s remain stable in the British garden. The opportunity to grow your own fruit is one which as a country we can’t seem to resist and one which brings endless joy when the harvest comes later in the summer and autumn.

Apple Spartan

Sitting in late summer, overlooking a beautiful and colourful garden (fingers crossed of course) we can think of few things better than enjoying some warm apple pie, smothered in custard and accompanied with fresh blueberries. Simply divine! Oh and the extra special treat is knowing we will have grown them ourselves, the fruits of our own labour (excuse the pun).


Both Ornamental and Practical Benefits

So if your garden needs a fresh look and feel then why not also make these changes productive by planting your very own fruit trees. Their striking spring blossoms are a valuable bonus, but ultimately it is the crop from this mini fruit orchard that is appealing. The idea of going organic is one that has been around for a long time and provides many economic and health benefits. Getting back in touch with nature, while also saving you a little money can’t be bad at all.

Choose the right variety for you

While choosing the right apple tree may seem daunting because of the large variety available, we recommend you follow one simple rule – choose to grow the ones you like to eat! Many varieties have a popularity stemming back over 100 years, while other (possibly more unknown varieties) are more recent introductions.

Apple Bramley Seedling

The crop you will harvest from your fruit trees in late summer or early autumn, can generally be classified as either dessert or cooking. This will help indicate the use of the fruit and will ultimately help gauge which one is correct for you. Popular dessert varieties include Apple Discovery, Apple Fiesta, Apple James Grieves and Apple Laxton’s Superb.


Popular cooking varieties include Apple Bountiful, Apple Sunset and Apple Bramley Seedling (who can resist a lovely Bramley Apple Pie?).

Pollination – will it need a partner?

Most urban gardens will not require a pollination partner as partners are usually found in close proximity. For people in rural areas it is advised that you choose two varieties from either the same pollination group or one above or one below. Pollination will occur when the beautiful spring blossom appears on the trees and usually is carried out by garden insects and bees. The pollination process will help to encourage a larger crop of fruit and helps with the creation of fresh, nutritional apples.

We have chosen to sell only group B and C varieties to help with this, so each one will cross pollinate with another from our apple range. It’s important when choosing to grow your own fruit trees that you choose good quality, established trees. We supply hardy two year old trees, grafted onto dwarf root stock called M26. Many cheaper alternatives supply the smaller M27 root stock, which is unreliable and will only produce a fraction of the fruit that the M26 will.

How to Plant Apple Trees

– On arrival first thing you need to do is soak the roots in a bucket of water for two hours or overnight if possible, to ensure that prior to planting the roots will soak up as much moisture as possible to get them started.

Apple Pixie

– Choose a location that has access to full sun as the more sun they get, the healthier the tree will grow. It is also best to plant in areas with good shelter to reduce damage from winds.

– Dig out a hole large enough to hold the roots fully, without cramping them. Apple trees will tolerate most types of well drained, fertile soil. It is highly recommended that you add a little manure or a little multi-purpose compost when planting.

– Place the two year old tree into the hole and start to fill in around the roots. Fill in firmly and make sure that no air gaps exist.

– Stake the tree to make sure it is kept stable and that it won’t be damaged by any unexpected winds. Always tie the tree to the stake low down so the tree can move in the wind but the roots will still be firmly held.

– You can also grow individually in large pots but it will reduce the fruiting of them slightly.


– Apple Trees can grow as high as 12m but you don’t have to have it that high, you can prune each year to keep at a more manageable height. Each year, usually in late winter or early spring, bring the top crown down and keep to a nice height about 6/8 foot.

– Young trees must be watered thoroughly and you can sprinkle with fertilizer each spring.

– You can also mulch in April with rotted manure or compost around the base of the trunk.

-They will blossom and flower in spring and fruit is normally ready to be picked throughout late summer or early autumn. Don’t be tempted to pick your fruit too early. You can gauge their ripeness by gently twisting them as a ripe apple will easily part from the spur.

Our Top Five picks

1. Apple Bramley Seedling – The best known cooking apple. Large green fruit, tinted red. Fruit is ripe October and keeps well into the spring.

Apple Laxton’s Superb

2. Apple Laxton’s Superb –One of the most popular dessert varieties, a really good cropper and frost resistant. Pale green, flushed red fruit which is excellent for storing. Illustrated opposite.

3. Apple Blenheim Orange – Traditional yet still the best dual purpose (cooking and dessert) variety. Golden flushed red fruit, excellent flavour. A heavy cropper and disease resistant.

4. Apple James Grieves –Excellent hardy variety with an early harvest in September. Produces juicy and tangy yellow, speckled orange fruit.

5. Apple Pixie –A quite rare and highly sought after dessert apple. Pale green, flushed red fruit. Highly recommended

Click here to view our full range of Apples trees!



Win £100 worth of vouchers



We were so thrilled with the response to last year’s Daffodil Photography Competition, that we are offering a second chance to win a £100 voucher to spend on J. Parker’s products.

Your image can be of any spring flowering bulb, so long as it’s your own original image of a variety purchased from us. Examples include Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinth, Iris, Muscari and many more. Any J. Parker bulb in flower in your garden before 14th June 2016.

To enter, you can share your image on our Facebook page, follow and tweet us @JParkersBulbs or e-mail it to us (along with your post code) to the address
All entries will be considered, and you can enter as many times as you wish. Competition closes 14th June 2016 and winners will be notified by e-mail before 26th June 2016.

To view some of last year’s entrants, please click here..

1. To enter the competition, please use one of three methods;

A) Share your image on our J. Parker’s Facebook page (,
B) Tweet your image to @Jparkersbulbs on Twitter
C) E-mail your entry under 5mb to us at

2. We will view all entries and any which meet the criteria outlined below will be considered for the prize of £100 worth of J. Parker’s vouchers.

3. All entries must be original images, taken by the entrant, of Bulbs in flower purchased from J. Parker’s in the past. You must own all rights to the image and in entering the competition you agree to allow us to use your image in further promotions, on social media or in print.

4. Entrants also agree that their names may be published with their entry. No other details will be shared with any third parties.

5. The winning entry will be judged on both the quality of the plant and the image. The Judge’s decision is final.

6. All varieties of Daffodils and Narcissi will be considered, but only those purchased from J. Parker’s will qualify for the competition prizes.

7. The winner will receive a £100 voucher to spend on any products currently offered by J. Parker’s. This cannot be exchanged for cash and there is no substitution for this prize.

Gardening Jobs for June

Summer Bedding
If you held off planting in May, now is the ideal time to clear these plants out of your greenhouse and get your summer bedding and hanging baskets finished. There is minimal chance of frost even this far north so line your baskets, prepare the soil and use some organic compost to fertilize the soil. Ensure you water regularly particularly if the weather is warm and dry.

Hot weather protection

Hot and dry weather can be just as dangerous as the harsh conditions of winter for your plants. Recent dry spells mean watering is more important than ever. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. Regular watering of pots and baskets is essential to maximise your garden show this summer. You should also remember to keep your greenhouses cool and prevent scorch with shading and ventilation.
Perennial Work
Prepare to tie up tall border perennials with support. Tall varieties such as Hollyhocks, Delphiniums and Lupins will need a little help and stakes can help prevent wind damage. You might also like to cut back early-flowering perennials such as Papavers as this will provide fresh foliage and possibly even a second flowering.

Protect fruit trees
Protect the newly developing fruit on your fruit trees from birds. This can be tricky as netting suggested last month for soft fruit, is not a viable option. We recommend using some of those unwanted DVDs or CDs in newspaper supplements by hanging these from your trees on string. The changing reflections of light created in a little breeze should keep birds away.

Keep everything tidy
The warm weather and increased sunshine means that weeds are popping up everywhere and can be an eyesore in your garden. Keep an eye on these particularly during dry spells and it will make your garden look much neater. You should also now be cutting the lawn weekly, pruning many spring flowering shrubs and trimming hedges into shape. For bulbs, allow foliage to die down naturally before cutting back to ground level. Keep any waste for your compost bin!
Lawn Care
If you’ve been lucky enough to get some relaxation time in the garden, you may have had furniature such as lounger out on your lawn. Be aware that this could damage grass and cause patches of yellow damaged lawn. This is easily prevented simply by moving your lawn furniture regularly. Keep up trimming your lawn regularly, including the edges, and apply fertiliser for a healthy looking growth.

Click here to view our full list of jobs for June!