Symbolic Flowers in Chinese Culture

In celebration of Chinese New Year coming up on February 12th, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the most popular flowers in Chinese culture and the traditions associated with them. Flowers are actually very popular Chinese New Year decorations, so here are some lucky plants to bring you luck and prosperity this new year!

Plum Blossoms

Plum blossoms are depicted everywhere from pottery to wall scrolls in Chinese culture, because of their scenic properties and symbolic meanings. Considered sacred in China and symbolise romance, prosperity and growth, they’re also popular with young people looking for love.

Peonies

Feminine beauty, innocence, affection and charm – peonies are particularly auspicious for Chinese New Year. Peonies symbolise richness and peace in Chinese mythology, because of how the blooms grow in clusters. For a very long time, peonies were exclusively flowers of Chinese emperors. They used to decorate their balconies and royal gardens.

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums, or the so-called “golden flower”, is one of the most beautiful plants that comes from China. This symbolic flower signifies intellectual accomplishments, cleansing qualities, and longevity of life. White chrysanthemums represent nobility and elegance. They are also thought to attract good luck to the home and represent a life of ease. 

Lilies

Chinese people love Lilies because they think that this flower represents good fortune and happiness, which is why this is a popular flower for weddings. Since lily flowers die, re-flower, and die again, they are considered to be special in Chinese culture.

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Share your personal Parker’s story

Do you have a story to tell? We receive so many interesting, emotional and exciting real-life stories from customers on a daily basis, and we love them so much that we want to interview you!

Whether you’ve been a customer with us for decades, decided to transform your garden over lockdown, or a newbie gardener that has discovered a love of plants, we want to hear your story.

If you’d like to share your story for the chance of being featured in one of our future online articles, please get in touch.

To share your story, please contact us via email at:

[email protected]

We look forward to hearing from you!

2021 Community Garden Competition – WIN £100 WORTH OF BULBS

We’re back again for our annual community garden competition! Are you a part of a local community garden? Let us donate!

We know that during the recent lockdowns and with the public not being able to socialise as much, community gardening projects have suffered. However, with a new year comes new hope that we can get out and garden together again. So, tell us about your community garden group and share how your garden has benefited your local area and community.

We will be selecting three community gardens and donating a selection of bulbs/plants to their gardens. The prizes will consist of a specially selected range of J.Parker’s plants and bulbs, hand-picked to compliment your community garden’s theme.

How to enter

Simply answer this question (in 250 words or less):

How does your community garden support the local community?

Please send your answers to us via email at: [email protected]. (Remember to please keep your entries under 5mb to ensure we receive them).

What you can win

There will be 3 prizes for our top 3 favourite community gardens, including:

1st Prize – £100 worth of plants & bulbs

2nd Prize – £75 worth of plants & bulbs

3rd Prize – £50 worth of plants & bulbs

T&Cs

  • Three winning entries will receive a donation of bulbs or plants from J. Parker’s for use in their community project.
  • Entries should be under 250 words. Images can be used so long as your entry email is less than 5mb in size.
  • Send your entries by email to [email protected] (please keep your entries under 5mb to ensure we receive them) or entry via social media.
  • Entrants agree that, should they be successful, their story and their project may be used in future for coverage on our blog and social channels.
  • 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.
  • The following criteria will be used to judge entries;
  • How the idea will benefit local communities and environments.
  • The originality of the idea and anything that sets it apart from other entrants.
  • The winners will receive a donation of J. Parker’s products with a value of up to £100 subject to available stock. This will be made up of products of our choosing based on the project described in the entry, cannot be exchanged for cash and there is no substitution for this prize. This donation of products can only be used for the purpose outlined in your entry.
  • Competition closes 24th February 2020.
  • Winners will be notified by email before the 28th February 2020.

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What to Plant in February

Spring isn’t far away and there are many bulbs and plants that you can start to plant in February. From early spring-flowering beauties to getting a head start on planting your favourite summer bulbs, if you’re keen to get planting, here are our top February planting picks.

Bulbs in the green

Bulbs in the green are active-growing bulbs which arrive with fresh foliage on the bulb. These little plants are quick and easy to grow, and are the perfect way to grow snowdrops and aconites with a 100% success rate. Plant in February for late winter/early spring blooms.

Lilies

Bold and beautiful, plant lily bulbs in pots, or straight into the ground, from early autumn to mid spring. With so many varieties on the market, dwarf and Asiatic lilies are perfect for beds and low-growing borders, whereas Goliath OT lilies are ideal for the back of the border.

Bare root roses

Unsurpassed in beauty and fragrance, roses are a key element of the summer garden. The best time to plant bare rooted plants is whilst they are dormant in the winter time, which is why February is the perfect time to get planting bare root roses.

Shrubs

Give your garden structure and interest with shrubs. Since they can be planted anytime between autumn and mid-spring, shrubs are one of the easiest plants to grow. If you plant while the weather is cooler, it makes the job easier, giving the plants that much longer to get established before the summer heat hits.

Fruit trees

Eating homegrown fruits plucked right off your own fruit trees is terrific. Along with bare rooted plants, fruit trees should be planted in their dormant season. This usually means between November and the end of February.

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New Year, New Garden Giveaway Winners

This month we said we were giving 3 customers the chance to win a £50 e-voucher to spend on our J. Parker’s site. Now that January is finally over, it’s time to announce our New Year, New Garden giveaway winners!

The winner’s list…

  • Tracy L.
  • Edith C.
  • Michael F.

Congratulations to each of our garden giveaway winners. Each winner will be receiving a £50 e-voucher to spend on our website.

This month’s giveaway saw hundreds of entries so thank you all for heading over to our Facebook page and taking part. We will be back with another new competition in February so keep your eye’s peeled.

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When to Plant Bulbs in the Green

‘In the Green’ Bulbs are growing plants that are lifted in late winter/spring when the bulb is actively growing, in flower or after flowering, when they are beginning to die back. These plants are easy to grow, quick to establish and are an extremely useful way to inject flowers quickly into bare spots in your winter garden. Learn when to plant some of your favourite spring-flowering bulbs with our planting tips.

When to plant them

Flowering from January through to March, ‘In the green’ bulbs, such as winter aconites and snowdrops, should be planted while they have leaves in early spring, rather than as dormant bulbs in the autumn.

How to plant them

When your plants arrive, tease them apart taking care not to damage the roots. Plant at the level at which the leaves change colour (approx. 8-10cm deep). Fill soil around the bulbs, compacting lightly. Water immediately.

Our favourite varieties

Discover some of our favourite ‘green’ bulbs for planting in the garden this spring.

Single Snowdrops
Double Snowdrops
Winter Aconites

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Tasty pancake toppings for pancake day

Pancake Day is the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. It is also traditionally the day for eating lots and lots of pancakes! Here are some of our top 10 favourite sweet pancake toppings to avoid flops on Shrove Tuesday.

Pancake toppings

Check out these traditional and tasty pancake topping ideas.

  • Classic lemon and Sugar
  • Fresh Strawberries and Nutella
  • Chocolate, peanut butter & banana
  • Salted caramel sauce
  • Maple syrup with pear
  • Chocolate sauce and cherries
  • Lemon curd & blueberries
  • Peaches and cream
  • Banana, honey & walnut
  • Cinnamon and poached apples

Pancake day tips

Here are some of our top tips for throwing the best pancake day possible.

  1. Make the pancakes in advance

If you have little ones, prep your pancakes, otherwise you feel like a sous chef with your family demanding their next pancake. Pop the made pancakes onto a plate, cover with foil and keep or re-heat over a pan of simmering water. That way you can all sit at the table together and enjoy your fair share along with the family.

2. Leftovers

If you make a few pancakes too many, don’t worry, you can always freeze any spares and take them out when you fancy. Pancakes will keep in a freezer for up to 3 months!

Check out some of our delicious recipes:

How to Grow a Cut Flower Garden

Growing cut flowers has surged in popularity over recent years, along with the grow your own product trend. Growing cut flowers is so easy to do, there will be no need to hit the supermarkets for bouquets again! Discover the best cut flower tips, as well as the most popular summer blooms to grow for cutting.

Two ways to start growing cut flowers

Use existing borders

Utilise existing beds and borders by planting groups of annuals, perennials and bulbs suited for cutting to allow for picking without affecting the overall appearance of the border. Add in a few interesting shrubs and grasses for texture and extra interest!

Create a cutting garden

Dedicate an area of the garden to growing cut flowers. If space allows, the advantage of a cutting garden area over picking from borders is that it avoids depleting beds and borders. Choose a sunny area of the garden, and apply moderate applications of general fertilisers over the space; this will help get tall healthy growth and abundant flowers.

The best cut flowers for spring

Bulbs

The most popular spring bulbs for cutting are tulips, daffodils, and lilies, due to their strong stems and assortment of shapes and colours. Tulips in particular are great for displaying in your favourite vase, where they will make a great impact to your bouquets. Daffodils are also a classic option as spring cut flowers, reminding us all of those fresh spring mornings.

Perennials

Perennials are perfect for cut flower displays because they’ll grow back year after year and provide wonderful blooms each summer. Peonies make wonderful late-spring cut flowers and have a long vase life, whereas forget-me-nots and bluebells create a sweet, smaller bouquet, but still impactful all the same. These beautiful flowers provide copious amounts of colour and interest in vases around the home. 

Shrubs

What about shrubs? Roses are renowned for their fabulous fragrance and pretty blooms, and there are plenty of varieties that bloom in late spring! Simply snip a few stems of your beautiful bushes in the spring.

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New introductions for Spring 2021

From dazzling dahlias to statuesque gladioli, in 2021 we have added dozens of new introductions to our spring range. To help you plan your summer displays this year, check out some of our new spring favourites.

Dahlias

Dahlia Hartenaas

Dahlia Hartenaas is a beautiful pink Collarette variety that blooms from July all the way until the first frost. A great pick for borders, containers or cut flowers.

Dahlia Pulp Fiction

There is nothing fictional about the beauty of this new dark-leaf dahlia. Producing beautiful scarlet florets, plant this stunning dahlia in beds, borders or containers.

Dahlia Crème De Cassis

This romantic decorative dahlia showcases magical pale lilac petals with deep purple centres. Perfect for cut flower fans!

Gladioli

Gladioli Amber Mistique

A stunning cream gladioli with violet centres. Ideal for cutting, this beautiful new sword-lily deserves a prime spot in beds, borders and containers.

Gladioli Lumiere

A flower that packs a punch. This large-flowering gladioli boasts the most vibrant plum purple and pink blooms. Perfect for cut flowers or bouquets.

Gladioli Lemonlicious

A statuesque gladioli that will brighten up any garden. These pastel yellow flowers with deep yellow centres are perfect for the back of a border or as cut flowers.

Cannas

Canna Semaphore

An exotic, easy to grow perennial. The bright yellow flowers of Canna semaphore will add plenty of colour to your summer containers.

Canna Triomphe

Stunning scarlet red blooms. This low maintenance perennial is not only stunning, but is a favourite amongst pollinators.

Canna Angelique

Stunning salmon pink blooms against a dark purple foliage. Canna Angelique is an excellent perennial that will add an exotic touch to beds and borders.

Lilies

Lilium Levi

A romantic Asiatic lily with delicate pink and white flowers. A lively lily which will look amazing in borders or planted in patio containers.

Lilium Martagon Purple Morning

This fragrant pale pink lily produces glossy petals on tall, erect stems. Ideal for summer landscapes, and perfect for cut flowers.

Lilium Tribal Kiss

An Asiatic lily that makes the perfect plant for adding exotic beauty to the back of a border. Boasting white flowers with violet centres, this amazing lily makes the most beautiful cut flowers.

Dahlia flowers for every garden

cactus dahlias

One of the most beautifully versatile summer flowers. Blooming from summer into autumn, the colourful, long-lasting blooms of dahlias belong in every garden. Varying in size, colour and shape, discover our guide for choosing the best dahlia flowers for your garden.

For pots/containers

For pots and containers, the best choices are the shorter, dwarf varieties. With a more compact shape and low growing habit, dwarf dahlias provide beautiful bright coloured blooms at a smaller size, making the perfect companions for patio pots, containers, especially if you’re short of space in the garden.

For flower beds and borders

If you are passionate about vibrant summer colour in your flower beds and borders, dahlia flowers are the perfect solution. For the front of the border, low-growing dwarf dahlias or pollinator-loving mignon dahlias are the perfect options, and to get impressive blooms at the back of a border, dinnerplate and decorative dahlias are ideal due to their height and colourful flowerheads.

For cut flower beds

All dahlias can make exceptional cut flowers but narrowed down a list of the most desirable and popular types. Pompom dahlias work well for cutting. Their natural habit is to continually produce flowers as they go through the season. Waterlily types are also a great choice as they are free flowering, normally held on long stems, and any of the miniatures will make perfect cut flowers.

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