When to plant summer-flowering bulbs

Gladiolus

With one planting season over, it’s time to start looking forward to the next one. Spring planting season may seem far away, but it is never too early to start planning your beautiful garden displays. Get ahead and start planning for summer by learning when to plant summer-flowering bulbs.

When to plant bulbs

The optimal time for planting your favourite summer-flowering beauties is in the spring, between march and may. Early spring is the perfect time to start planting again when after all danger of frost has passed, and the soil has warmed up again.

Our favourite bulbs for summer 2021:

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How to protect plants from frost

Frost garden

With the colder days drawing closer, before the frosty mornings are upon us, it’s time to put in place the right protection for your plants, so they’re ready for the harsh winter weather. Submitting your plants to the winter elements without protection can result in blackened, distorted or limp growth and a browning of the leaves of your plants. Since in the UK, there may be between 7 and 10 nights where the temperatures are below freezing, keep reading to learn how to protect plants from frost this winter.

Winter pansies

When to protect your plants

The best way to seek to minimise frost damage is to prevent it in the first instance, rather than seeking a cure after it has happened. Put all frost protecting measures in place at the first sign of frosts.

Winter plant protection

How to prevent frost damage

Use protective wrappings such as bed sheets, blankets to cover tender and vulnerable plants. This acts like insulation, keeping warm air from the ground around the plant.

More frost protection tips:

  • Place plants in frost-resistant spots
  • Lift and store tender perennials
  • Avoid frost pockets
  • Cover plants before nightfall
  • Protect plants with cloches
  • Warm plants with water jugs
  • Water before a frost
  • Bring potted plants indoors
  • Wrap fruit trees

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winter garden
Flower bulbs

How late to plant spring-flowering bulbs

Many believe that early-mid autumn is the only time window for planting spring-flowering bulbs, but the truth is, if you miss this timeframe, don’t worry; there’s still plenty of time to plant bulbs. Keep reading to view our tips for planting spring-flowering bulbs in late autumn and winter.

When should you stop planting spring bulbs?

Tulips, Daffodils and all other spring flowering bulbs are normally planted throughout September, October and November. However, if you still have spring bulbs to plant, you can still plant them in December, as long as the ground isn’t frozen. A good rule of thumb is as long as it’s still mild, it isn’t too late. You can even keep planting tulip bulbs into January if the weather allows!

What do you do if the ground is frozen?

If the ground is frozen, there’s another option. Plant your remaining bulbs in pots using potting soil and store them in a dark, cool place over winter (e.g. garage or cellar), until the ground becomes workable again.

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Community News: WARA improving green spaces in Kingston-upon-Thames

WARA (Wolverton Avenue Residents Association) is a local community group in Kingston-upon-Thames. The aim of this group is to keep their local area neat, tidy and colourful, while getting residents and local kids to join in and help.

Recently Kingston council encouraged WARA to adopt the seven large planters in the busy avenue. Although no funding was available WARA have managed to construct and refurbish the planters but bulbs were needed to give early colourful impact. So, after getting in contact with the group, we were thrilled to get involved and provide a donation.

To continue to highlight the importance of maintaining green spaces around the UK, J. Parker’s sent WARA 1000 Daffodils and 500 Tulips to plant in their local community green spaces.

The group were kind enough to share some of the photos of their planting days with us. We love seeing local groups taking nature into their own hands in local spaces.

Simple Herb and Garlic Roast Potatoes

Nothing says crowd-pleaser like a dish of crispy roast potatoes. With the holiday season on the horizon, these tasty, rosemary roast potatoes are the perfect dish for bringing the family together for an unforgettable meal.


Servings: 5

Time: 1 hour


You will need:

  • Large pot
  • Small saucepan
  • Roasting oven dish
  • 13 Maris Piper potatoes (Red, Russet or Yukon Gold also work)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp – garlic cloves, crushed. 
  • 1 tbsp – freshly chopped rosemary 
  • 1 tbsp – freshly chopped parsley
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Pinch crushed chilli flakes

Instructions:

  1. Preheat

    Preheat oven to 220°C.

  2. Bring to a boil

    Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add in salt, baking soda, and potatoes, and stir.

  3. Boil Potatoes

    Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes after returning to a boil. Check the potatoes are cooked by piercing the potatoes with a fork. If they are easily pierced, they’re done.

  4. Fry up the herbs

    Combine olive oil, rosemary, garlic, and a few grinds of black pepper in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir constantly until garlic just begins to turn golden, about 2-3 minutes.

  5. Coat the potatoes

    Strain the oil over the potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and mix.
    Shake the pot that the potatoes are in to loosen the outer layer of the potatoes. This will ensure extra crispiness.

  6. Roast

    Transfer potatoes to a large baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes.

  7. Finishing touches

    Once your potatoes have browned and are nice and crisp, they’re ready to take out of the oven. Transfer to a bowl and season with more rosemary, salt and pepper.


Tips

  • What are the best potatoes for roasting?

You can use ANY kind of potato for roasting! From white potatoes, red potatoes, baby potatoes, russets, to roasted sweet potatoes, whichever potato you choose will make for delicious roasties.

  • What goes with roast potatoes?

Roast potatoes are a staple side dish for many meals. These mouth-watering rosemary roast potatoes pair perfectly with a roast joint (beef, lamb), roast chicken, grilled fish, as well as roasted vegetables.

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How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

It’s incredible the difference a few care steps can make to your fresh flowers. Fresh flowers are the perfect way to bring life and colour into the home, but sadly they don’t last forever. Discover how to keep your flowers looking fresh and lively for weeks with our simple cut flower tips.

Before you put your flowers in a vase:

  • Remove the foliage around the bottom of the stems. If any foliage that lies in the vase water can cause fungus and make your flowers wilt quicker.
  • Cut the bottom of your flower stems at a 35 degree angle. This will stop your flower stems from lying flat against the bottom of the vase, which will keep your cut flowers fresher for longer.

After your flowers are in a vase:

  • Keep your vase filled with water! All flower and foliage stems should be submerged. Flowers stay fresher, longer when they can get a drink!
  • If your flowers came in a basket or other container with foam, add fresh water every day.
  • Immediately remove dead or wilting leaves and stems from fresh flower arrangements.
  • Watch your water. When it gets cloudy it’s time to change it out.
  • First remove any dead or dying flowers from the arrangement.

For certain varieties:

  • Tulips grow a few inches after they are cut and will continue to grow toward the closest light source.
  • Hyacinths should not be cut down off the bulb. They actually last longer if left on the bulb.
  • Do not put Daffodils in a vase with other flowers. They secrete a substance that kills other flowers when in the same vase.

The Most Iconic Flowers in Film

Watch Big Fish | Prime Video
Big Fish, 2003

Flowers in film take on brand new meanings. From representing love, innocence or rage, flowers have taken an important supporting role in films for decades. Keep reading to discover some of the most iconic floral moments in cinema.

City Lights
City Lights, 1931

The story of Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp and how he falls in love with a blind flower girl. Throughout the film we see the Tramp with a flower that he received from the Flower Girl on the street. The flower symbolizes beauty and the Tramp’s love for the Flower Girl.

The Wizard of Oz
Image
The Wizard of Oz, 1939

The classic movie The Wizard of Oz was the first Hollywood film released in Technicolour. There’s no end to the displays of beautiful flowers shown throughout the film, however one of the most vibrant scenes of the film is when Dorothy is found sleeping in a large field of scarlet poppies, which have long been used to represent sleep and peace throughout history.

Vertigo
Vertigo - Flower Shop — Reel SF
Vertigo, 1959

Flowers are a recurring motif in Hitchcock’s masterpiece Vertigo. At the beginning of the movie, Madeleine enters a magnificent florist and buys a beautiful and delicate bunch of nosegay flowers. The bouquet appears again several times, most notably when Madeleine stands at the edge of San Francisco Bay, plucking petals from the flowers and tossing them into the water. The destruction of the bouquet mirrors Madeleine’s fixation on self-destruction.

Big Fish
Big Fish, 2004

The mesmerising daffodil field in the 2003 iconic film, Big Fish, is one of the most iconic use of flowers in film. Upon opening the window to Edward Bloom standing in a sea of sunshine-yellow daffodils, Sandra realises that every flower was planted for her.

Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland, 2010

From roses, iris, daisies, pansies, tulips and sweetpeas, there is no shortage of flowers in Alice in Wonderland. When Alice chases the White Rabbit, she runs into a flower garden where she meets a large group of beautiful flowers. The Flowers of Wonderland who live near the White Rabbit’s House are sentient beings who love to sing. 

How to Plant Bare Root Fruit Trees

Apple Tree

Enjoy bountiful harvests year after the year by growing your own fruit trees. From large apple trees to patio pot pear trees, anyone can grow their own fruit. Since the proper planting is critical for long-term success, discover when and how to plant bare root fruit trees below.

When to Plant Fruit Trees

The best time to plant bare-root fruit trees is towards the end of winter or the first half of spring, once the ground is no longer frozen so it can be easily dug but before new growth starts.

How to Plant Fruit Trees

For optimal growth, it is essential that fruit trees are planted correctly. Follow our step-by-step planting tips below.

Upon delivery

Open the packaging and put your hand inside the bag. If the roots feel damp you need to do nothing for the time being. Keep them in the bag and check them daily – if they feel as if they are drying out take the trees out and dunk the roots in a bucket of water for a few minutes and then put them back in the bag. Until planting, store the trees in their bags in a cool place out of the sun and wind.

Steps for Planting
  1. Dig a hole about a spade’s depth and around 3ft (1m) wide. A square hole is better than a round one as it encourages the roots to push out into the surrounding ground.
  2. Add a few inches of compost and work it into the base of the hole using a garden fork. Make sure to mix the compost in amongst the regular soil.
  3. Place the tree in the centre of the hole and a cane across the hole so you can check that this line is level with the soil around your hole as trees shouldn’t be planted deeper or shallower than they were first grown.
  4. Remove the tree and put in a thick wooden stake a couple of inches from the centre of the hole and on the side where the prevailing wind comes from. Hammer this firmly into the ground.
  5. Place the tree back in the hole close to the stake and start to shovel the soil-and-compost mix back around the roots. Gently firm this in, being careful not to damage the roots. When it’s half full, pull the tree up an inch and then let it drop again as this helps the soil to fill in around the roots.
  6. Fix the tree to the stake with the tie, leaving enough room for the tree trunk to grow but not so much that it wobbles about. Also add a protective tube around the trunk if animals are a problem.
  7. Water the soil well to stop the roots drying out and to further settle the soil around them.

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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.

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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.

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