When to Plant Cannas

Exotic, tropical creatures; the bright and beautiful blooms of cannas are hard to ignore. Cannas keep pumping out colourful flowers from late spring or early summer to frost. When most flowers can’t take the heat of late July and early August, cannas thrive. Discover when and where to plant gorgeous cannas in our gardening guide.

Canna rhizomes can be planted from spring through to early summer. Plant directly in the ground after the danger of frost has passed, or you can even start them off indoors as early as a month before the average last frost date (for earlier blooms).

Where to plant cannas

Plant cannas as a tall border; they are perfect for narrow spaces. Or, make cannas the focus of large patio pots filled with super bright annuals. Liven up plantings near water features or boggy areas where these cannas will happily thrive.

How to plant cannas

Dig a hole 2-3 inches deep and set the rhizome in the hole, eyes up. Cover with 1-2 inches of soil. Space rhizomes 1 to 4 feet apart. Cannas are slow to sprout and do not require much water until you begin seeing signs of growth

With the recent launch of our new spring range, check out our favourite new introductions to our Cannas range:

‘Semaphore’
‘Angelique’
‘Triomphe’

or check out our entire range online here:

Check out some of our other blogs:

How to Start an Allotment

Have you ever thought about growing your own fruit and vegetables but lack the space in your own garden? Find out all you need to know about how to start an allotment from scratch along with our beginner planting suggestions.

How to start an allotment:

  1. Plan your plot

If there is no space for crops in your garden, contact your local council on allotment opportunities in your area. Once get your allotment, go for a plot size suited to your needs – half a plot is adequate for most people and ideal for beginners. Here are some initial plot planning steps:

  • Decide what style of vegetable beds you’d like
  • Decide what size of beds you’d like.
  • Make sure you include space for sheds / greenhouses / compost bins / water butts etc.
  • Make sure you consider where you’ll place trees, fruiting bushes, and other perennial (stay in the in the ground year on year) plants.

2. Weed maintenance

The biggest burden of an allotment owner…the weeds, and most allotments need continual hoeing and weeding. When prepping a plot, once you’ve cleared the weeds, dig the soil and remove weed roots. It’s worth investing in a push hoe and a draw hoe to be fully prepared for any weed problems.

  • Potatoes smother weeds, so plant them in the weediest areas.
  • Perennial crops such as fruit need no cultivation, but must be planted in areas that are clear of all perennial weeds.

3. Soil conditions

Once you get out all the roots of the weeds. Compost their foliage, and drown the roots in a bucket of water for 2 months (then you can add them to a compost heap). Turn a layer of compost into the first 5 –10cms of the soil and you are ready to plant!

Beginner plants for allotments:

Here’s our selection of plants for allotment beginners:

Allotment seasonal guide:

Winter ❄

In late winter, rains should have restored the soil to full moisture levels, if they have not left it soggy, battered and emptied of nutrients. You can get some crops off to a good start, although on difficult clay soils transplants raised indoors might be necessary.

Spring 🌸

Getting plants going well before late spring is essential. Crops grow best during the long, warm days and sunshine of late spring to late summer.

Summer ☀

Wet, but not too wet, summers are far better for allotments than hot, dry ones; crops need water to grow.

Autumn 🍂

By autumn, growth is tailing off in lower light levels, so little rain is needed; warm, dry weather is better for ripening produce now. Beware of wet weather that can lead to rots and unripe produce that won’t store well.

Check out some of our other blogs:

Comforting Winter Vegetable Soup

When it’s cold outside, you can’t get much better than a nice, hot bowl of soup to keep you warm. This versatile vegetable soup is the perfect winter time meal, and it’s so easy to make that you can quickly whip up a batch on a weekday for the whole family.


Servings: 6

Time: 30 minutes


You will need:

  • 1 frying pan
  • 1 large pot
  • Blender (optional)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1x parsnip
  • 2x carrots
  • 6x potatoes
  • 2x spring onion
  • 1x celery stalk
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • sprig of rosemary
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)

Instructions:

  1. Fry up the veg

    Chop and fry the vegetables and potatoes in a frying pan with the oil for a few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and go pale.

  2. Add flavour

    Once the vegetables have softened, add in garlic, ginger and season well.

  3. Simmer

    Transfer the veg into a large pot, cover with the stock and simmer for 10-15 mins until the veg is tender.

  4. Blend

    Blend until smooth (or don’t if you prefer a chunky soup), then season with rosemary and serve.


Tips

  • What can you add to this recipe?

You can make this vegetable soup your own by adding in different vegetables (e.g. cabbage or onions), fresh or dried herbs (basil, thyme, oregano) or add red pepper flakes for a spicy kick.

  • How long can you store soup?

Stick your soup in a sealed container in the refrigerator and it will keep for three to four days. 

Try out some of our other winter recipes:

New Year, New Garden Giveaway

Celebrate the New Year in style with our January giveaway. This month we’re giving 3 keen gardeners the chance to win a £50 e-voucher to spend on our J. Parker’s site. Here’s how you avid growers can get your hands on free plants!

How to enter:

  1. Like our Facebook page
  2. Comment “Happy New Year” on our giveaway post
  3. Tag 3 friends along with your comment

What is the prize?

We will select 3 winners (at random), who will each win a £50 J. Parker’s gift voucher to spend online. The winners will be announced on January 31st.

Enter by Jan 30th 2021.

Check out some of our other blogs:

What to Plant in January

2021 has started off frosty, however as the weather starts to warm up towards the end of winter, there are actually quite a few plants you can start growing this January. Now is a great time to continue planting trees and shrubs, as well as planning for the coming gardening year 

Bare-root trees

Planting during winter is usually the best time for fruit trees, but always avoid planting when the ground is frozen. You can plant new trees in containers this January and keep them in a cold garage or storage space until the weather improves, or as long as the ground isn’t too hard to dig a hole, you should be good to go. However, do not try to plant bare-root trees once the new season’s leaf buds have started to emerge.

Bare-root Roses

Winter is the perfect time to plant dormant bare-root roses, specifically from late winter to early spring, before growth resumes. Planting bare-root roses during the dormant season allows the plants to establish quickly, because this is when the soil is moist. Simply avoid planting in the middle of winter when the ground is frozen

Raspberry\Blackberry Canes

The perfect fruits to grow for beginners. Raspberries can be planted any time during the dormant season, between November and March. Blackberry plants are also easy-to-grow, and can be planted up until mid-spring as long as the ground isn’t frozen.

Plan ahead for Spring

Get ready for spring planting season and pre-order your favourite summer-flowering bulbs & tubers online now. From beautiful new Dahlias, Gladioli and Begonias, our spring 2021 range has something for every garden.

Check out some of our other blogs:

How to make dried lavender

Drying lavender is a wonderful way to preserve your beautiful blooms. There are so many wonderful uses for it too. It’s excellent for making tea, cooking and baking and crafting. Learn all about how to make dried lavender (a few different ways), including the best varieties to use, and when to cut it.

The best lavender to use for drying is English lavender. The reason is because it contains more oils than other varieties. But regardless, you can still dry any variety you have in your garden – whether it be English, Spanish or French.

The Hanging Method

Here’s how to dry lavender using hanging bunches:

  • Cut a bunch of lavender stalks making sure that you leave a few inches of stem on the cut stalk. Group about 15 – 20 stalks together and tie them with an elastic band or twine. 
  • Once set, hang each bundle in a dark, warm, and dry place, like a basement or cellar. Make sure to hang it upside down to help retain its blossom shape. Don’t forget to leave enough space to allow air to travel between the stalks.
  • Now simply leave your lavender hanging until completely dry.

The Oven Method

Here are the simple steps for drying lavender in the oven:

  • Set the oven to low heat at around 100 degrees Celsius. Spread a thin layer of lavender on a baking tray and place it in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the stalks are completely brittle. Keep the oven door slightly open while drying (to allow moisture to pass through effectively). If it still feels moist after 10 minutes, rotate the stalks and then leave it for 5 more minutes to dry.
  • Once done, remove the dried lavender from the oven and run your hand down the dried stalks carefully until the blossoms fall into a container.

Check out some of our other blogs:

Christmas Wishlist 2020 Winners

The big day is here! For our Christmas Wishlist Giveaway we asked you to send us 5 items on your J. Parker’s wishlist. With the season of giving upon us, here are our 3 winners for 2020. Each winner will receive their special wishlist items as a prize.

Our 2020 Wishlist winners are…

  1. Louise F. (Email entry)

Louise’s wishlist items:

2. Paul L. (Facebook entry)

Paul’s wishlist items:

3. Pauline M. (Instagram entry)

Pauline’s wishlist items:

Check out some of our other blogs:

Garden Trends for 2021

I think we all want some change in 2021. Gardeners are always actively working to make the garden more beautiful, mainly with relaxation and fun as the goal. If you fancy giving your garden some TLC in the new year, have a look at our top garden trends for 2021 and get inspired.

Garden Trends: Colour Schemes

Comforting Neutrals

With more of us spending a lot of time at home, 2021 will be a year of creating cocooning, cosy spaces. Dulux have announced that their ‘Colour of the Year’ for 2021 is “Brave Ground”; a warm neutral. So, why not use the trendy colours designed for the home in the garden? Creams and warm neutrals are the perfect colours for creating restful and relaxing flower displays that bring a sense of comfort to your outdoor space.

For trailing trellises and walls, we recommend an elegant creamy rose, or warm pastel begonias for your summer borders and pots.

Rich Reds

We predict that 2021 will steer towards the warmer tones of reds and plum. These rich saturated hues are effortlessly chic and will make for dramatic and luxurious flower beds and borders. There are so many ravishing red dahlias to choose from that are perfect for borders and for cut flower gardens.

Garden trends: Garden Styles

Balcony gardens

Since one in eight households (12%) in Great Britain has no access to a private or shared gardens according to ONS, British city-dwellers are getting more inventive with ways to grow plants. Growing potted plants on balconies is a great way for those living in a block of flats or a high rise building to enjoy a small piece of nature at home.

Windowsill gardening also a great way for growing plants in small spaces; grow herbs to add a little something extra to your cooking or fill them with colourful flowers. You might not have a big, sprawling space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow fresh plants and flowers!

Raised beds

Raised bed gardening has grown in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. Gardening in raised beds has endless possibilities and so many benefits.

  • Fewer weeds
  • Easier for those with mobility issues
  • Better water retention in areas that have super-sandy soil
  • Better drainage in areas with clay soils
  • More growing space
  • No soil compaction from foot tread
  • Warmer soil earlier in the season
  • Warmer soil for a longer season
Cottage gardens

Classic styles always stay on trend. The very familiar and popular modern-day concept of cottage gardening dates all the way back to the 14th century during Elizabethan times. If you’re looking to achieve this stunning, traditional style at home, consider planting roses, foxgloves, alliums, poppies, and delphiniums.

Grow your own produce

‘Grow your own’ has been one of the biggest growing garden trends over the past few years, but with so many of us looking for new hobbies to keep us occupied over lockdown, growing fruit and veg has become more popular than ever. For those looking to pick up the trend, dwarf fruit trees and rhubarb are perfect for growing produce in any sized space.

Check out some of our other blogs:

New Gladioli for Summer 2021

Native to the Mediterranean and prized for their majestic flower spikes, Gladiolus (Sword-Lilies) are one of the most treasured flowers in the summer garden. Whether used in borders, containers or as cut flowers, these easy to grow blooms always provide a spectacular effect. Blooming in late-spring to early summer, these beauties can grow up to 2-3 feet tall. Discover the new additions to our Gladioli range for your 2021 garden.

Gladioli Amber Mystique

A striking, bi-coloured plants. Gladiolus ‘Amber Mystique’ is a creamy white Gladioli with contrasting lilac throats. Ideal for planting in summer borders.

Gladiolus Circus Club

A sight for sore eyes, with white backgrounds, purple edging, yellow centres and maroon eyes. While taking little space to grow, they combine so well with other plants. They make striking cut flowers too.

Gladiolus Fergie

Add a whimsical finish to your summer borders with gladiolus ‘fergie’. Ideal for borders and pots. Their vivid lime-green flowers will bring an exotic look to garden displays.

Gladiolus June

Warm up your summer garden with the sunny gladiolus ‘June’. June is a delightful orange and yellow butterfly Gladioli variety; guaranteed to brighten up any garden.

Gladiolus Nanus Nathalie

Nathalie is an elegant light pink nanus gladiolus. Their pretty pink petals contrast against the deep throat markings. This ever popular variety looks perfect planted in groups, and they also make beautiful cut flowers.

Click the image below to browse our full range of Gladioli bulbs. Available to pre-order now for delivery from mid-January.

Check out some of our other blogs:

Mental Health Benefits of Gardening

Feeling stress or anxious? Try getting a little dirt under your nails. Many people have likely experienced loneliness and frustration during the lockdown, which is likely associated with a loss of all the activities we are used to taking part in. Gardening has quickly become a popular pastime for people during the lockdown. Engagement in gardening has shown to have both immediate and long-term effects on mental health. So if you’re looking for a new hobby that will lift your mood, calm your mind, and improve your living space, then look no further.

Gardening can build self-esteem…

Whether you’re digging, planting flowers, or pruning trees, your self-esteem gets a boost when you see what you’ve acheived. In a study conducted by Thrive, 317 people took part in table-top gardening sessions and 80% reported better mental health as a result, with 93% saying they had improved their confidence and motivation.

Gardening is good for your heart

Gardening is a great source of exercise. All that digging, planting, and weeding burns calories and strengthens your heart. Studies have found that even just 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity most days of the week can prevent and control high blood pressure.

Gardening reduces stress

When we experience stress, our blood pressure raises and puts extra strain on our hearts. In the garden, the task of cutting away at a tree or bush or digging at the soil will enable you to take your stress out on the job at hand, leaving you feeling less stressed and calmer. 

Gardening can make you happy…

Gardening gets your body moving. When we exercise levels of serotonin and dopamine, which make us feel good, rise, and levels of cortisol, which make us feel stressed, are lowered.

Check out some of our other blogs: