The best plants for beginners

This year more and more people are discovering the joys of playing in the dirt. However, it’s not as easy as chucking soil around and calling it a day. The right plants and the right knowledge can be the difference between The Garden Of Eden and a barren wasteland. So we’ve put together the best plants for beginners, as well as our planting 101 tips, to help out the new budding gardeners of the world,

Daffodils

Extremely easy-to-grow bulbs. Daffodils can be planted anywhere, from containers to scattering around lawns. They also naturalise in the garden from blooms year after year. The perfect bulbs to get your kids into gardening!

Sedums

Sedums are amazing, easy to grow perennials. Once planted, they require little care—simply water if they look dry and cut back plants after flowering to maintain their shape.

Lavender

Growing lavender is easy and rewarding. Lavender can be grown in garden beds or in pots. All you need to know to grow lavender successfully is that they needs well-drained soil and full sun. 

Ferns

With beautiful foliage and textures, ferns are easy to grow and require little maintenance. Most ferns thrive in sunny or shady spots making them ideal plants for beginners. Perfect for growing in pots and hanging baskets.

Rhubarb

Looking to grow your own produce? Rhubarb is one of the easiest crops to grow for beginners. All they need is an open, sunny site with moist, but free-draining soil. You can even grow them in pots!


Planting 101:

If you’re knew to gardening, there are a few basics to know when growing plants, such as their likes for different things (water, sunlight, soil type, etc.). Here are a few of the basic ingredients:

Sun ☀

Plants are pretty magical, as they harness energy from the sun and, through photosynthesis, convert that energy into their tissues. Because plants need the sun to grow, many of them, including most fruits and veggies, need a good amount of direct sun during the day.

Have a shadier plot? Research which plants prefer shady conditions if you have less light available. There are many shade-loving varieties, such as ferns, anemones and heucheras.

Water 🌧

Plants rely on there being a good amount of water available nearby to stay healthy. In many places, it may be necessary to water your garden regularly in order to keep plants happy.

Nutrients and soil 🤎

Plants need nutrients, lots of them. We always recommend planting in “fertile” soil — nutrient-rich bounties of growth for new plants. You might need to add nutrients manually if you’re new to gardening. This can easily be done by buying compost from your local garden centres.

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Christmas Wishlist Giveaway

With Christmas just around the corner, we’re getting in the holiday spirit at Parkers, so this December we’re back with another competition. To give something back to our loyal customers, we want to treat 3 lucky people to a special gift. For our Christmas Wishlist Giveaway, we want you to send us 5 items on your J. Parker’s wish list, and 3 lucky winners will win their wish list items!

What you need to do:

  • Pick out your favourite 5 items on the J.Parkers retail site.
  • On social or via email, write in and tell us your 5 wish list items.
  • On Dec 21st, 3 winners will be picked at random and contacted to receive their wish list items.

What can you win?

3 lucky winners will be chosen at random, and will receive the 5 items from their Parker’s wish list.

How to enter:

You can send your wish lists to us by December 21st via:

Or EMAIL your photos to [email protected] (images must be under 5mb – please include your name & address)

Terms and Conditions
  • Send your entries to us by email at [email protected], but you can also share them with us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
  • All Christmas Wishlist Giveaway entries need to be sent in by December 20th, with the winner being announced on December 21st.
  • 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.

Autumn Wreath Challenge Winner

As November comes to an end, so does our monthly competition! We would like to thank all of the entrants for joining in and helping make this year’s Autumn Wreath Challenge a success. So now, it’s time to announce our winner.

All through November, we asked you to create and make your own autumnal-themed wreaths. From berries, feathers and flowers, we received so many unique and amazing entries! Now, without further a due, our autumn wreath and £100 mystery plant prize winner is….

Nicola A.

“I’m finding It’s easy to get dragged down by all the miserable news at the moment so I seen your wreath competition and thought it was a great way to get out into my garden and clear my head. So I spent a lovely quiet morning surrounded by my cookie hens, gathering bits and bobs of autumnal colour from my garden and it was lovely to find a bit of solace .”

Nicola A. – Autumn Wreath Winner

Thank you all for entering, here are more of our favourite autumn wreath challenge entries:

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What to do in the garden in December

With the short days and chilly mornings upon us, winter has arrived. While it may be tempting to leave your garden alone during this period, it’s important to remember that there are a number of jobs that need to be done in winter to help your garden flourish in spring. Here’s our list gardening jobs to do this December to prepare your garden for spring.

Prune trees and shrubs

December is a great time to prune trees, shrubs and roses. It is best to cut out unwanted growth whilst the plant is dormant, since it’s easier to understand the shape and structure of the plant whilst it has no leaves. Plus winter pruned trees are less prone to disease.

Keep on planting

Yes, you can continue planting in December! The very best time of year to plant shrubs and trees is between early autumn to late Spring. Also, f you live in areas with milder winters, you can continue to plant spring-flowering bulbs, such as daffodils, tulips, crocus, muscari and fritillarias into the new year.

Make your garden wildlife-friendly

Local wildlife need all the help they can get during the colder months. If possible, add suet feeders around the garden/lawn, as they make a great source of energy for birds. Other foods that are perfect for birds include chunks of fruit, mealworms, or peanuts. Don’t forget to put out a fresh dish of water along with the bird food too!

More jobs for the December garden:

  • Tie back climbing plants
  • Tidy up the greenhouse ready to receive spring plants
  • A little weeding now will save time in spring
  • Mulch around trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials
  • Build raised beds and fill them with good quality soil ready for growing your own fruit and veg

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When to Plant Dahlias

One of the most popular summertime blooms. Dahlias are loved by gardeners everywhere for their cut flowers, long lifespan and beautiful colours and shapes. Since our Dahlia tubers are available for pre-order now, discover when to plant dahlia tubers and grow your own beautiful blooms.

When to plant Dahlias

Since dahlias struggle in cold soil, don’t rush to get them in the ground. Wait until all danger of frost has passed before planting out in the garden.

How to plant Dahlias

Position dahlias in sunny spots and plant in a rich, well-drained soil. Dig a hole around 6 to 8 inches deep. Place the tubers inside with the growing points, otherwise known as “eyes” facing up, and cover with 2 to 3 inches of soil.

How to Space Dahlias

Bedding (dwarf) dahlias can be planted 9-12 inches apart. Smaller types (approx. 3 feet tall) should be spaced 2 feet apart, and taller Dahlias should be planted around 3 feet apart to allow optimal growing room.

Check out some of our other blogs!

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.

Check out some of out other recipes!