When is it too late to plant Tulips?

Bright, bold, and colourful, Tulips are one of the most popular spring-flowering bulbs that gardeners plant in autumn. Many gardeners may think that you need to get all your bulbs in the ground by October, but this isn’t the case! If you haven’t finished your tulip planting yet, don’t worry, keep reading to find out how long you can plant tulip bulbs.

Why you shouldn’t plant Tulips too early

Tulip bulbs are always so eager to get growing. If you plant them too soon, they’ll send their leaves up right away. This will only freeze them in the winter.

When should you plant Tulips?

Wait to plant tulip bulbs until mid-autumn, up until 6 weeks before a ground-freezing frost is expected. Sometimes, even December (or even later) works best if you live in mild winter areas.

What if i don’t plant them by Christmas?

If you missed planting your bulbs during autumn/early winter and you’ve got a pack of tulips or daffodils laying around in January or February, plant them and take your chances. Here are our top tips for winter bulb planting:

  • Clear away snow and loosen soil, if possible.
  • If the ground is totally frozen, scatter fertilizer sparingly and over a larger range than normal.
  • Place bulbs on top of the soil. Do not press them in, as this will damage the bulb base, where roots form.
  • Cover with 2-4 inches of aged mulch or finished compost (go for the thicker layer if planting during the height of winter).
  • Renew mulch covering often with a fresh 2 inch layer.

Check out some of our other blogs!

Autumn Wreath Challenge – WIN a £100 mystery plant prize!

With leaves turning, autumn flowers blooming and fruit ready for harvest, there’s so much to love about autumn, and why not show us how much you love autumn by making a wreath!

This November we’re throwing an Autumn Wreath Challenge! Hunt around the garden for berries/shrubbery or pinecones to create your very own autumn wreath. Send us your photos and you could be in for the chance of winning £100’s worth of mystery plants!

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

  • Send us a photo of your beautiful autumn wreaths on social or via email.
  • On Dec 1st, one winner will be selected and WIN our £100 mystery selection of plants & bulbs!

HOW TO ENTER

You can show us your wreaths via our social media channels:

Or EMAIL your photos to competition@jparkers.co.uk (images must be under 5mb – please include your name & address)

CHALLENGE ENDS ON NOV 30TH

Q: What can I make a wreath with?

  • Berries
  • Pine tree branches
  • Pinecones/acorns
  • Ribbon
  • Cut flowers
  • Leaves (e.g. holly, maple, ferns)
  • Fairy lights (solar for outdoors)
  • Branches

Terms and Conditions:

  • Send your entries to us by email at competition@jparkers.co.uk or share them with us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
  • All Autumn Wreath Challenge entries need to be sent in by November 30th.
  • In entering the competition, you agree to allow us to use your image entries in further promotions, on social media.
  • Entrants agree that their names may or may not be published with their entry. No other details will be shared with any third parties.

Follow us on Instagram for wreath making tips!

How to be Safe on Bonfire Night

Guy Fawkes night is back again! With many of us celebrating bonfire night at home this year, here are some helpful tips and tricks for keeping you, your loved ones, and the local wildlife safe during the celebrations.

Keep Water Nearby

If you’re throwing a garden firework display this year, make sure you keep a bucket of water nearby. Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding. Never go back to a lit firework, even if it fails to go off.

Distance is Essential

When lighting fireworks, light them at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back. When watching your beautiful sparkly displays, always keep a safe distance (around 5-8 meters). Then grab a blanket, kick back and watch the fireworks show.

Wildlife Safety

If you’re making a bonfire this November, try and make your bonfires on the same day you’ll be lighting them to avoid small wildlife making their home inside them. It is important to check bonfires for any sleeping wildlife before lighting!

Also, animals are a lot more sensitive to big flashes and loud bangs than we are. So make sure to keep your pets away from the display to keep them as comfortable and calm as possible.

Be Safe With Sparklers

Though great fun for kids and adults alike, a few simple safety tips can keep sparklers fun. Always wear gloves with sparklers, preferably leather ones. Hold it at arm’s length when lit and always use in a clear space away from others. 

Now you know what precautions you need to make, here are some ideas on how to celebrate bonfire night this year:

  • Make some traditional bonfire night treats (treacle toffee cake, toffee apples, smores)
  • Play some board games indoors
  • Light some sparklers in the garden

Check out some of our other blogs!

The Big Pumpkin Hunt – Winner’s List

October is coming to an end and now it’s time to announce the winners of our Big Pumpkin Hunt. We sent you all scouring across our website to find our first set of 5 hidden Halloween pumpkins, and we had so many eagle-eyed customers managed that managed to spot them! So, we set a harder challenge of locating 10 NEW pumpkins around the site, and now we have our winners for both rounds.

Before we announce the winner’s, we’d like to thank all of our customers who got involved with this competition. We had so many entries, but here are the customers who spotted our pumpkins first:

Our 1st winner was…

Kira.P. – Kira won our amazing £100 voucher prize to spend in our online shop.

Our 2nd Winner is…

Diana (a.k.a Good Life Garden) – Diana is the winner of our HUGE £150 J.Parker’s voucher.

Here are the pages the pumpkins were hidden on:

Keep an eye out for our new competition coming this November!

How Gardening Helps the Environment

Whatever the size, our gardens can help the environment in lots of ways. To help reduce the human impact on the environment and the world we live in, here are some fantastic environmental gardening tips to bring into your outdoor space.

Helps tackle pollution

Planting particular trees has been shown to improve local air quality. Garden trees do a great job trapping pollution particles, absorbing toxic gases and producing oxygen; this helps to mitigate the harmful air pollution that’s released from the engines of our cars and machines. The best trees to plant to help reduce pollution are maples including ornamental acers, silver birch, alder and conifers. Acers are a great choice for those with little outdoor space, as dwarf varieties are perfect for patios and pots.

Reduces noise pollution

Since many homes in the UK are close to busy roads, we have a few methods for soundproofing your garden and reducing unwanted noise pollution. Planting shrubs is one of the effective ways to lessen the noise in your garden. For instance, shrubs like Hollies and Junipers have thick branches at ground level, which can help reduce traffic noise. Once these shrubs reach maturity, they will create a barrier to stop noise travelling.

Why not try encouraging wildlife into your outdoor space? Plant pollinator-friendly plants and you’ll be joined by an abundance of pleasant, natural sound — which is a great distraction from external noise.

Protects natural habitats

Birds and squirrels need a natural habitat in which they can thrive — and the garden can be the perfect place for them. Planting trees and hedging is an easy environmental gardening technique to create natural homes for all the small local mammals. Fragrant flowers like spring-flowering Muscari or Roses also attract butterflies and bees, which are great pollinators who benefit the environment.

Reduces urban “heat islands”

As cities grow, natural greenery is replaced with concrete. These building materials become impermeable and dry, which causes cities to heat up, creating “heat islands”. Since gardens in London are 26% smaller than the national average, according to the Office of National Statistics, many city dwellers need to be practical when it comes to gardening. A rooftop garden can have amazing environmental and social benefits. Green roofs provide shade, remove heat from the air, and reduce temperatures of the roof surface. Using green roofs in built-up environments with limited vegetation can moderate the heat island effect, particularly during the day. 

Check out some of our other blogs!

Spiced Caramel & Pear Tart Recipe

Looking for the perfect autumnal recipe for your harvested pears? This delicious, spiced caramel and pear tart recipe is the perfect comfort food to keep you warm this autumn.


Servings: 10

Time: 1 1/2 hours


You will need:

  • 9-inch tart pan

For the base:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (thawed)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the pears:

For the caramel:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Generous pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions:

  1. Make the base

    Heat oven to 200°C. Brush 1 sheet of puff pastry dough with melted butter, then gently press into a 9-inch tart pan, letting ends extend over edges of pan. Fold in edges of dough, slightly pinching sides to form crust.

  2. Arrange the Pears

    Arrange pear slices in decorative circles on the prepared crust. Sprinkle top with sugar, spices and cubes of butter.
    Bake 45 minutes until crust is deep golden brown and pear topping is cooked. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack; leave oven on.

  3. Make the Caramel

    While your tart is baking, in small saucepan over medium heat, heat sugar until dissolved. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, carefully swirling pan, until sugar begins to caramelize and turn amber in colour. Remove from heat; stir in butter and salt until combined. Stir in heavy cream. Continue to cook sauce for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and smooth. Remove from heat.

  4. Decorate and serve

    Carefully and quickly brush top of tart with caramel sauce. Be sure to brush both crust and pear topping. Bake the tart for another 10 minutes until caramel is melted and just begins to bubble.
    Return tart to cooling rack. Let it cool before slicing.


Tips

  • When should you pick pears?

It’s best to pick pears when they are mature but not fully ripe and let them ripen in the home. Simply, cup the fruit in your hand, tilt horizontally, and it should come away easily. You can then leave them indoors at room temperature for a week to ripen.

  • How do I store fruit tarts?

This pear tart is best served the day it is made; cool or room temperature storage is fine that day, but be sure to refrigerate the leftovers.

Check out some of our other recipes:

The Big Pumpkin Hunt – Announcement!

What a surprise!

To celebrate October, we’ve been hosting a pumpkin hunt! We hid 5 pumpkins in the spring bulbs section of our online shop, and the first person that found all 5 would WIN A £100 VOUCHER! However, our eagle-eyed customers found our 5 pumpkins so quickly, we’re going to finish off the next two weeks of the competition with another round!


Our 1st winner is…🎊🏆

Kira.P. Congratulations on having such lightening fast pumpkin hunting skills! Kira has won our amazing £100 voucher prize to spend in our online shop.

Time for the answer list. The 5 pumpkins we’re hidden on:

  1. Tulip Black Parrot
  2. Daffodil Delibes
  3. Allium Ambassador
  4. Crocus Large Flowering Mixed
  5. Lily abbevilles Pride

Time for Round 2

Since you all did such a great job spotting our pumpkins, we’re upping the difficulty and hiding 10 pumpkins across our WHOLE website. Whoever can spot all 10 new pumpkins will win…

💰💰 A £150 J.PARKER’S VOUCHER 💰💰

Here’s how to enter:

  • Locate all 10 new pumpkins hidden in product images on our website.
  • Email us at competition@jparkers.co.uk and name the products the pumpkins are displayed on.
  • The 1st person to locate all 10 new pumpkins will be our 2nd round winner.

COMPETITION CLOSES – 30/10/2020

Keep your eyes peeled, we’ll be posting clues for the pumpkin hunt on our Instagram!

When to Grow Indoor Daffodils

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When the days get colder and darker, nothing warms the soul more than bright and cheery indoor flowers. Perfect for showcasing around the table in the festive season, the elegance and delicate fragrance of indoor daffodils are simply unmatched.


Quick Summary:

  • Grow time: 8-10 weeks
  • Soil: Peat moss-based potting mix
  • Temperature: After the cold treatment, keep cool, approx 16°C, while plants are in bloom.

When should I plant them?

Typically, indoor daffodils take between 8-10 weeks to bloom. For specific times, stick to this planting schedule:

  • For Christmas blooms: plant mid-October/early November
  • For January blooms: plant mid-November

How to Plant in Pots

Choose a wide pot about 6 in (15 cm) deep with drainage holes in the bottom. Cover the bottom of the pot with potting soil. Now, pop in the bulbs; they can be placed tight, side by side. Cover the bulbs with additional soil, leaving the top third of the bulb above the soil. Water well.

The Growing Process

Move pot to a dark, cool location such as a basement, unheated garage or refrigerator. Keep them in cold storage for about 8-10 weeks. Keep the medium barely moist.

When shoots reach about 5cm tall, bring the pot out of cold storage and place the growing daffodils on a bright windowsill. Rotate the pot daily for even growth.

Daffodils in Bloom

When in full bloom, keep potted daffodils in a bright location out of direct sun. Make your daffodils last longer by keeping the pot in a cool room.

The Best Autumn Woodland Walks in the North

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With the leaves changing colour and birds singing, autumn is the perfect season to go and enjoy the wonderful beauty of nature. So if you’re looking for a nice place to go and wander, here’s our favourite natural beauty spots in the North of England to go to this autumn.

Dunham Massey, Greater Manchester

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and head to this delightful village for a breath of fresh air. This easy walking route follows a circular route around the impressive grounds of Dunham Massey Hall. Spend a frosty morning or sunny autumn afternoon trailing through the magnificent deer park with its 17th century mill and the tranquil Island and Smithy pools.

Allen Banks Ancient Woodland, Northumberland

Set on the steep valley sides of the river Allen, go on a spontaneous day out and explore the woods and see what wildlife you can spot on this gentle riverside walk. It’s the largest area of ancient woodland in Northumberland and has been here since at least medieval times.

Formby Woodland Walk, Merseyside

UK coastal walks: Formby – is this Britain's most exhilarating coastal  landscape?

Take a leisurely stroll through the pine woodland of Formby. With many different paths to take, look out for red squirrels, sweeping coastal pinewoods, prehistoric footprints and dramatic sand dunes are just waiting to be discovered.

Wallington River Walk, Northumberland

Enjoy the river walk around the beautiful Wallington Hall grounds. With the trees changing colour, take a tranquil walk along the banks of the River Wansbeck, crossing over bridges, stepping stones and enjoying the local wildlife as you go. The perfect walk for any season.

Alderly Edge Woodland Walk, Cheshire

Alderley Edge picked as one of the most romantic destinations in the UK |  Knutsford Guardian

There are many different walks to take around Alderly Edge. Enjoy the stunning views from The Edge while avoiding the crowds at this popular tourist spot, or head south from Alderley Edge and explore quiet lanes, mixed woodland, field paths and find the remnants of the Birtles estate.

DIY Gardening Crafts to Keep You Busy During Lockdown

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Do it yourself projects are on the rise this year. With many of us spending a lot more time around the home, sales within household goods stores were 9.9% higher in August 2020 than February 2020, mainly due to a rise in the desire for home improvement items, according to The Office for National Statistics. So, with lockdowns still present all over the UK, why not bring the DIY trend into the garden with these autumnal DIY gardening crafts.

Home-made Birdhouse

Pick up a pre-made birdhouse from the craft shop or build your own. Then, paint it your favourite colour at home and hang it out in the garden. Avoid hanging your birdhouse in a spot that receives strong sunlight, rain and wind.

Tip 💡 For decorating, why not try painting your birdhouse in polka dots, stripes, or flowers!

Pallet Compost Bin

Composting is a cheap and easy to way to create your own nutrient rich compost to add to your garden plants in the springtime. Using leftover wooden pallets are perfect for those of you who are new to composting. To make a pallet compost bin you’ll need four pallets of matching size. Join together four pallets to create the back and sides, then stand them up and screw them into place. Now, you have your completed pallet bin!

Upcycled Planters

Almost anything can be turned into a fun, unique planter. Tin cans and buckets can be painted and upcycled into fun small garden planters for patios. Whereas larger items such as tyres, chest of drawers and wheelbarrows can be given a new lease of life as a planter to create a feature in the garden.

Foliage Wreath

A great one for the kids, these festive autumn front door wreaths will give your home serious autumnal curb appeal. All you need is a wire circular frame, some moss to form the base, and a bunch of your favourite flower and foliage. Simply bundle your foliage, cover the frame, and attach using floral wire all the way around the wreath.

You can use:

Have you done any do it yourself gardening projects? Share your photos with us on Instagram!