Get Baking Competition winner

We put your baking skills to the test with our latest competition, and it has finally come to a close! Competitions where you get involved and show us your talent – whether its photography or baking are what we enjoy the most. For the November months we wanted to bring to light our favourite winter warmer and get YOU baking! Now to present the winner of our Get Baking Competition, you might not be crowned the Bake-Off champion but you’re the best of our bunch!

Lidiya Joseph

The lighting, the set-up, the props, the photography… we love everything about this submission! As we can see you’ve added your own twist with melted Biscoff spread – deliciously perfect when paired with apple and cinnamon.

Congratulations on winning our very first Get Baking Competition, and thank you to everyone for entering! We hope this competition not only got everyone involved but also got you to enjoy one of our incredible recipes. Check out some others, tell us what you think and continue to get baking!

As we get closer to the gift giving season we hope you stay around and look forward to our next competition, what we have coming up for the new year and some new developments happening here at J Parker’s!

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Common Gardening Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

Gardening is not the simplest of hobbies to just pick up and do. Many factors can make the whole process a little bit messy and confusing, especially for those who have just started. Whether you’re a newbie or a novice, there are quite a few common gardening mistakes that you can make, and here is how to avoid them.

1. Not knowing how to treat your clay soil

Soil types, just like garden space and sun placement, play an important part in planning your garden. If you’re after certain plants to suit your soil, this guide will help! But one soil many people seem to not know how to treat is clay soil. Clay soil is usually very rich in nutrients, and because of this, it shouldn’t be dug when wet. This damages the soil as it breaks down the structure, so always wait until your soil is not dripping wet until you start digging.

2. How to really get rid of weeds

Weeds are something every gardener has faced in their time. From homemade weed killer to just letting it stay, there are many methods on how to get rid of your weeds but only a number of them actually work. Weeds are incredibly hard to get rid of, especially species like dandelions and thistles. This is due to the strong root structure they have under the soil. One mistake many people have is chopping off the top of a weed when the real issue is down below. If you really want to get rid of weeds, dig up as much of the root as possible in order to kill it. Or, if you’re using a herbicide, make sure it is absorbed into the roots of the plant.

3. Pruning too far back or too early

Pruning your shrubs and bushes back into shape after a long winter is something we all look forward to. However, not all flowering shrubs bloom on new growth. Some species prefer to bloom on last year’s growth or old wood. Pruning too early means you’ll be cutting off the new years bloom! It’s best to wait until your shrub flowers to find out their ideal time of growth and then start the pruning process as soon as the blooms start to fade.

4. Planting in the wrong place

If vegetables are your kind of thing then this part is for you! Working on a vegetable garden is a very rewarding practice, growing crops from scratch isn’t only a cost-effective solution but also a great hobby for all ages. The only common mistake that can happen is not planting your vegetables in the right place. So much happens in such little time! Courgettes grow in a day or two, not to mention rogue animals stealing your precious crops. At least six hours of sun a day is needed to make sure your vegetables grow strong and healthy and develop fully. Not to mention the need for water. If there is insufficient rainfall, where is the nearest water supply? A solid plan for mapping out your veggies is highly recommended.

5. Planting too much

Another one for our veggie lovers! A common mistake a lot of first-timers make is planting more than you can maintain, never mind eat. Planning, planting and maintaining a vegetable garden is a lot of work, and making sure it is manageable is so much more rewarding. Start small, work out the basics of garden care and then once you’ve got the basics down you can always expand. Too much variety can be overwhelming as every vegetable requires a different level of attention and care. Start with your favourites, learn how to grow them well and then keep on going!

Parker’s Book Club: Do Bees Need Weeds?

Looking to become a more eco-friendly gardener? Curious about the little creatures in the garden? Love growing pollinator-friendly plants? For our November book club, those questions and more are answered in this RHS certified read by Holly Ferrell and Gareth Richards.

With the subtitle ‘A Gardener’s Collection of Handy Hints for Greener Gardening’ there is no surprise what this little book entails. If you’ve got questions about eco-friendliness, sustainability and general gardening myths, then this book has you covered. The book also includes a list of low-cost garden ideas, DIYs, and fun home projects, making it both informative and fun for everyone. This book is a great gift to any budding gardener and should be on your Christmas wish list today!

Do you have a book you’d like us to mention? Send in your suggestions on Instagram using the hashtag #parkersbookclub.

Love reading about gardening? Discover more gardening reads on our blog!

Get Baking Competition!

November, a time for winter warmers and festive thoughts and our latest competition which is fresh out of the oven! We love hearing about how many of you make and enjoy our recipes and thought that for November we would put your efforts at the forefront. Whether you’re a novice baker or are ready for the Bake-Off tent, this competition calls for all hands on deck. A delicious recipe for all the friends and family, our Parker’s Apple Crumble recipe is perfect for the winter months and gives you the chance to put your baking skills to the test!

How to enter

Submit photos of your perfectly baked Parker’s Apple Crumble! Garnish however you want with custard, whipped cream – or whatever you fancy.

  • FACEBOOK – Like our Facebook page and share your image to our page with the caption ‘Parker’s Apple Crumble entry’.
  • TWITTER – Follow us at @JParkersBulbs and tag us in your photos with the hashtag #parkerscrumble
  • INSTAGRAM – Follow us at @jparkersbulbs and tag us in your photos with the hashtag #parkerscrumble
  • EMAIL – Email us at [email protected] (Entries must be under 5mb – please include your name and postcode)

What you win

The winner of our Get Baking Competition will win a £100 VOUCHER to spend on our website!

When does the Get Baking Competition end?

The competition ends 22nd November. The winner will be announced the following Monday with an accompanying blog post.

Terms and Conditions

  • All entries which meet the criteria outlined below will be considered for the prize of
  • All entries using photographs must be original images, taken/produced by the entrant.
  • Entrants agree that their names may or may not be published with their entry.
  • One winner will a £100 voucher from J Parker’s. There is no substitution for this prize and it cannot be exchanged for cash.
  • All entries using photographs or drawings must be original images, taken/produced by the entrant. 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 our blog, on social media or in print.
  • Send your entries by email to [email protected] (email under 5mb) or you can share it with us on our social media pages.
  • All entries will be considered, and you can enter as many times as you wish. Competition closes 24th October 2021. Winner will be announced on 29th November 2021.

Hungry for more? Keep on reading…

Pumpkin Carving Competition Winner

Today is National Pumpkin Day! What better way to celebrate than to crown one of you as the winner of our Pumpkin Carving Competition! The first of its kind for us, we enjoyed hosting this competition and seeing all of your amazing designs. Any competition where creativity – whether it is photography or art – can play a roll in what you submit is our favourite. To bring this spooky season to a close, the winner is to receive a dark flowering collection of spring bulbs that isn’t available on our website. Without further ado, here is our winner…

@SundeepToor on Twitter

We love everything about this submission! Not only did they do an amazing job carving our logo but the added flowers gave this pumpkin some floral flair that makes it so unique! Alongside the sweeping camera shots, spooky music and accompanying set design, there’s no surprise why it stole our hearts. Even without the added embellishments, this pumpkin is worthy of being placed on the doorstep of any home!

Congratulations on winning our competition, and a big thank you to everyone for entering! We saw so many amazing submissions – some more logos, classic scary faces and even an artistic rendition using the gorgeous orange leaves. We hope you enjoyed this competition as much as we did. Keep an eye out for our next one coming soon!

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Spring Garden 2022 Colour Trends

Every year Pantone release their colour trend report for the following year and 2022 is shaping up to be a fun one. One inspired by London Fashion week, interior design and current events. 2022 is injecting heaps of fun and creativity into our lives. After another year of trying to get back to normal we have been focussing on our own space. Making homes more comfortable than ever and gardens our new oasis. The new Spring/Summer 2022 palette promotes simplicity, fun and a connection to nature. The main highlights are airy pastels, bright bursts of colours and earth tones.

“Our use of colour is connected to the cultural mood. As we explore a new future, we are looking for opportunities to do something completely different […] Colours that celebrate our desire to break the boundaries satisfy our fervent need for the playful creativity and unconstrained visual expression we are seeking as we enter into this time.”

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute

The Colours

The Spring/Summer 2022 colours and descriptors are:

  • 14-5713 Cascade, “connected to cleansing waters, cools and refreshes”
  • 16-1349 Coral Rose, a floral tone “whose energizing presence brings a sense of excitement”
  • 18-4143 Super Sonic, “electric in intensity”
  • 12-0825 Popcorn, a bright and cheery yellow hue that “radiates warmth to all who embrace it”
  • 13-2004 Potpourri, a “light hearted and carefree fresh pastel pink”
  • 17-1928 Bubble gum, “sends a message of playfulness and positivity”
  • 18-1160 Sudan Brown, a “naturally rich earth-baked brown tied to the great outdoors”
  • 15-0549 Fragile Sprout, “sharp and acidic, visually arresting”
  • 14-3612 Orchid Bloom, “reminiscent of our heightened love for nature’s florals”
  • 18-1307 Coffee Quartz, a “flavourful brown that touches on both the basic and the glamorous”

What plants to grow

Want to get ahead of the rest? Here’s a list of plants that will make your spring garden on trend and evoke the playful and unconstrained spirit that Pantone intend to bring!

Tulip Pink Clearwater

13-2004 Potpourri, a “light hearted and carefree fresh pastel pink”

Lily Orange Ton

16-1349 Coral Rose, a floral tone “whose energizing presence brings a sense of excitement”

Narcissi Tete-a-Tete

12-0825 Popcorn, a bright and cheery yellow hue that “radiates warmth to all who embrace it”

Iris Latifolia Collection

18-4143 Super Sonic, “electric in intensity”

Crocus Striped Beauty

14-3612 Orchid Bloom, “reminiscent of our heightened love for nature’s florals”

Keep reading to stay on top of gardening trends

How to properly move your garden plants

There are many reasons as to why someone would need to move a plant from one place to another. Maybe you’re moving house and want your garden plants to relocate with you. Or maybe your plant just isn’t flourishing in a certain part of the garden and you want to give it a fighting chance. Moving a plant is an easy process so long as you take your time and treat your plants gently.

If this move isn’t hindered by a timeframe the best time to move plants would be during early spring when the soil is not that warm. Trees, shrubs and roses should be left until late autumn when the plants are not fully grown. Cooler conditions are best suited as they do not stress the plant as much as heat will.

Step 1: Identify the space

The best place to start is by identifying the space you want to locate the plant. The roots being out of soil for too long can be detrimental so make sure the move is done quickly and gently. When it comes to deciduous shrub or rose bushes, prune the top half back to make the move easier.

Step 2: How to move your plant

This part requires more patience and a light hand. Grab your spade and gently loosen the soil around the roots and plant. When inserting the spade make sure that it is done away from the base of the plant to avoid damage. If you find you’re not reaching the roots don’t be afraid to keep digging. It is inevitable that roots will be broken but just try to expose as much as you can before you start lifting.

Step 3: Removing your plant from soil

This part is a two handed job and if you need help then that is encouraged. Hold the top part of the plant with one hand and hold the roots with your other. Gently pull to see if the roots come away from the soil easily. If there is resistance, continue to remove soil until the plant can be lifted.

Step 4: Replant your plant

Take this time to prune away any dead or broken shoots. Carry the plant to its new planting hole – if you’re not immediately transporting the plant be sure the roots do not dry out and wrap them. It goes without saying but if you are moving from one place to another leave the garden for last. Lower the plant into its new home, check that there is enough room for the roots and avoid squashing them to make sure they fit.

Step 5: Watch your plant flourish

​Not sure how to tell your plant is the same depth as before? Part of the stem should be lighter than the rest, indicating the soil level. Water well, repeating during dry spells and pay particular attention during spring and summer!

Sticky Toffee Pear Pudding

As the weather gets cooler, looking towards the freezer is no longer a desirable desert option! Now is the time for crumbles, puddings and warm custard on an autumn evening. The new star of your dinner time is our Sticky Toffee Pear Pudding, a deliciously sweet treat that you won’t want to share!

Servings: 8 – 10 slices

You will need:

  • Peeler
  • Mixing bowl
  • Medium pot
  • 20 x 30cm Baking tin

Ingredients:

For poaching:

  • 8 small pears (we like to use Conference Pears)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • zest of lemon

For sponge:

  • 180g self-raising flour
  • 125ml milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp golden syrup
  • 2 large eggs

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Instructions:

  1. Poach pears – Peel and cut the bottom off each of your pears and discard the pips and scraps. In a pot boil 600ml of water and add the sugar, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves and lemon zest. Add the pears once the mixture has reached boiling point. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved and cover for 15 minutes or until pears are soft. Save the liquid!
  2. Make the sponge – Beat together the butter and sugar until they form a soft paste. First add the rest of your wet ingredients (milk, vanilla extract, golden syrup, eggs). Once incorporated add the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon) and mix until smooth.
  3. Add the pears – This part is up to you! You can either add your pears to the mixture and then pour into the pan. Or, pour your batter first and then add the pears if you want to make your pudding look fancy.
  4. Bake the pudding – Bake for 35-40 mins at gas mark 4 until the cake is cooked through. Use a skewer to check if the centre is cooked, if it comes out wet then continue to bake for another 10 minutes.
  5. Make your sauce – While your cake cools, bring the poaching liquid to a boil and then simmer until reduced to a glossy syrup.
  6. Enjoy – You can either cover the sponge with your delicious sauce or save it for later for serving alongside custard for a warm, autumnal treat!

Take a peek at our October treats:

Pumpkin Carving Competition

Spooky season has finally arrived! Before you break out the carols and Christmas lights, let’s enjoy October for what it is. A time for tricks, treats and a brand new competition! For this October we’re going all the way with the spooky vibes and want you to join us. In between planting the rest of your autumn bulbs and preparing the garden for a scare or two, get some newspaper, a sharp knife and your little orange friend. Pumpkin carving is an incredibly fun activity for everyone that encourages creativity, garners admiration from neighbours and even uses those baking skills!

How to enter

Submit photos of your perfectly carved pumpkin! Feel free to let your creativity flow and carve your pumpkin however you want (bonus points if you do carve our logo!). We’ll be joining in the fun as well so stay tuned to our TikTok page to see our very own creation!

  • FACEBOOK – Like our Facebook page and share your image to our page with the caption ‘Pumpkin Carving Competition entry’.
  • TWITTER – Follow us at @JParkersBulbs and tag us in your photos with the hashtag #parkerspumpkin
  • INSTAGRAM – Follow us at @jparkersbulbs and tag us in your photos with the hashtag #parkerspumpkin
  • EMAIL – Email us at [email protected] (Entries must be under 5mb – please include your name and postcode)

What you win

The winner of our Pumpkin Carving Competition will win a special Dark Flowering Bulbs collection that is not on our website! This prize will be a handpicked selection of dark flowering spring bulbs. It’ll be all of your spring favourites, Tulips, Iris and Hyacinth and more in beautifully deep colours, perfect to bring some dramatic flair to your spring and summer garden.

When does the pumpkin carving competition end?

The competition ends 24th October. The winner will be announced the following Monday with an accompanying blog post.

Terms and Conditions

  • All entries which meet the criteria outlined below will be considered for the prize of a Dark Flowering Bulbs collection.
  • All entries using photographs must be original images, taken/produced by the entrant.
  • Entrants agree that their names may or may not be published with their entry.
  • One winner will a Dark Flowering Bulbs collection sold by J Parker’s. There is no substitution for this prize and it cannot be exchanged for cash.
  • All varieties, colours and sizes of pumpkins will be considered.
  • Send your entries by email to [email protected] (email under 5mb) or you can share it with us on our social media pages.
  • All entries will be considered, and you can enter as many times as you wish. Competition closes 24th October 2021. Winner will be notified by email on 25th October 2021.

Stay up to date with the latest J Parker’s news:

What are hardy plants?

What are hardy plants? There are so many different terminologies used in the word of gardening it can be hard to keep up. From learning the difference between perennial and biennial. Or deciduous and ericaceous, there is a lot to remember. So don’t worry we’ll make this as simple as possible…

What does ‘hardy’ mean?

In the world of gardening the word ‘hardy’ is used to describe a plant that can stand up to low temperatures and survive. According to the Hardy Plant Society, there are several levels of hardiness that depend on the temperature level: a hardy plant can survive a temperature of -15°C compared to a frost hardy plant that can survive a temperature of -5°C. On the other end of the spectrum we have half hardy plants that can only stand temperatures as low as 0°C and tender plants which will not survive temperatures below +5°C.

In the United Kingdom on average the winter temperature drops no lower than -11°C meaning that hardy plants do well here. However, there is no guarantee that your plants will survive. The changeability of the weather is something to make note of. One minute your plants will be covered in frost and then basking in sunlight.

What are some examples of hardy plants?

There isn’t just one particular type of hardy plant, they come in all sorts of varieties. Here are some of our hardy plants:

Iris Latifolia

Agapanthus Twister

Euphorbia Blackbird

Catananche caerulea Major

Digitalis Hardy Apricot Beauty

Read our latest blogs below: