What is cross-pollination

The question of how to cross pollinate is a common one. But before learning how to, it’s best to learn what it is. Cross-pollination is not only exclusive to bees! It is a process of transferring pollen from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower. Cross-pollination can be used intentionally to create unique varieties of plants and vegetables.

What is cross-pollination

When one plant pollinates another variety, the two plants genetics combine to create a new variety. This new variety shares characteristics from both plants. A popular cross-pollination is for tomatoes, to create new and better varieties. This is intentional cross-pollination but it doesn’t always happen this way. In some instances, external forces play a hand in cross-pollination, like the wind or bees, carry pollen from one variety to another.

Common cross-pollinate misconceptions

Unlike flowers, not all plants can cross-pollinate easily. Cross-pollination within vegetables is less about the pollen, and has more to do with the species. For example, a cucumber could not cross-pollinate with a tomato as they are not the same species. But, it can happen between a broccoli and cauliflower.

Secondly, that the current harvest has been affected. This isn’t possible. Cross-pollination only affects the fruit of any seeds planted from that fruit. If think your harvest looks odd then it might be worth exploring other options such as pests and diseases before jumping to conclusions.

Controlling cross-pollination

Cross-pollination can be controlled, it just requires some extra steps. The easiest method is making sure to only grow one species in the garden as cross-pollination is unlikely to happen. If you want to grow multiple varieties you should determine if the plant you are growing is self pollinated or wind and insect pollinated. You can eliminate the chance of cross-pollination by planting different varieties of the same species at least 3m apart.

Whether is it intentional or not, cross-pollination isn’t always a bad thing. Your plants remain unaffected and you might even create a new variety that grows better and stronger than ever.

Read more gardening information from J Parkers:

How to get a post-lockdown garden

Next weekend starts the lifting of several restrictions that have been put place since the start of the year. With outdoor social mixing once again allowed, it is high time to show off that garden you’ve put to much work into! After months of grafting, weeding and watering. Spending as much time as you could outside, let’s make the garden the centre of attention!

Tidying up your garden

Time to rummage through the back of your garden shed and find the lawn mower, it’s finally time to shine! Whether it’s a simple back and forth or you’re an expert at mowing lawn stripes, this is undoubtedly the first step to tidying up your garden. Much like your grass, now is a great time to ensure your patio or decking are up to scratch and ready to display summer essentials such as barbecue’s, furniture, or maybe even more potted plants. The patio is your oyster.

Social space

With outdoor meetings now on everybody’s agenda seating is essential. It doesn’t have to be fancy seating or bespoke furniture. There are many ways to turn your garden into a social space. Just ensure you have a space large enough to seat the six people of your choice. Furniture doesn’t always have to be an option, a picnic blanket spread on the floor. Even camping chairs can get the job done. So long as you have a space that can accommodate your chosen group all you have to do is provide the entertainment.

Clear the clutter

You did the hard part of transforming your garden. Now you’re stuck with the remains. If there is still any clutter left over its high time to get rid of it. Clean out any garages, greenhouses or sheds while you still have the free time. The best way to get rid of garden waste is your local recycling centre or tip. A great suggestion is labelling boxes to ensure they go to the right waste bin. If you run out of time or simply can’t find a place suitable, store the waste somewhere it can’t be easily accessed or seen.

Enjoy yourself

Lockdown has been such an incredibly hard time for everyone. The gardening industry has seen a massive boost since the start of lockdown with more people picking up the hobby. We at J Parker’s have been so happy to provide quality bulbs to everyone – old and new customers. It doesn’t matter if you are a gardening expert or novice, you should be proud of the garden you’ve created. As Summer comes closer it is time to let your garden loose. Show off your new hanging baskets, bedding plants or potted tubers and enjoy yourself!

Need some more garden tips? Check out these blogs:

What is Organic Gardening?

Like the word natural, the word organic gets tossed around a lot. But what does it mean to practise organic gardening? Organic gardening is essentially gardening without using synthetic products like fertilizers and pesticides. It involves the use of only natural products to grow plants in your garden. 

The benefits of organic gardening

Organic gardening comes with many benefits. Organic gardens cultivate an ecosystem that involves feeding the soil, encouraging wildlife, and getting creative with nature’s pest and disease controls. It’s cheap, it’s practical – and it’s good for plants, people and communities. Plus, growing organic fruit and vegetables is the best way to be sure that you’re supplying the purest, highest-quality foods to your family. 

How to start an organic garden

Good soil is key to organic growing. Fertile soil provides the home for millions of bacteria, which are essential for healthy plant growth. Soil also holds air and water which gives it a good structure (not compacted or waterlogged) and good texture (not too heavy or light). This allows plants to put down roots, to absorb water and nutrients, and encourage strong growth. 

Organic gardeners also withhold from using pesticides and use natural bug control methods. Many organic growers, and even some who are not, plant their crops in certain combinations in order to repel pests.

Throughout the year, organic gardeners collect their household waste and yard clippings to use in a compost bin. Compost bins are a cheap and easy way to create your own natural compost. This bin is turned regularly in order to facilitate decomposition. Early in the growing season, the organic gardener will work the compost into the garden plot, thus enriching the soil with the natural ingredients needed for a rich growing bed.

Check out some of our other blogs:

Drought Resistant Plants for Your Garden

Agapanthus flowers

Do you find watering the summer garden time consuming? With British summers getting hotter and drier, drought tolerant plants are the answer to growing a beautiful garden that can withstand the summer heat.

What are drought resistant plants?

Drought tolerant plants are specific varieties that are suitable for planting in dry conditions. They are perfect for planting in bright, sunny spots in the garden. Many drought tolerant plants have silver or grey-green leaves, their light leaf colour reflecting the harsh rays of the sun. Some have a coating of fine hairs on their leaves or stems, helping to trap moisture around the plant tissues.

Check out our favourite drought tolerant plants that will best adapt to the prolonged dry season.

Our recommendations:

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’
Hydrangea ‘Vanilla Fraise’
Echinacea ‘Hot Summer’
Echinacea ‘Pink Double Delight’
Sedum ‘Kamtschaticum’
Sedum ‘Summer Glory’
Salvia Nemerosa ‘Rose Queen’
Salvia Nemerosa ‘White’
Euphorbia Ascot ‘Rainbow’
Euphorbia ‘Bonfire’

Check out some of our other blogs:

How to Grow a Sensory Garden

Growing a sensory garden is simple way to create a space that’s not only amazing to look at, but great for mental well being. In our blog post, we’ll share what a sensory garden is and which plants we recommend to start off your very own sensory garden.

What is a sensory garden?

Sensory gardens should be filled with plants that activate all our senses; touch, smell, sound, sight and taste. To create a sensory space, focus on:

  • Scents that fill the air: Daphne, Philadelphus and Honeysuckle
  • Plants you can smell up close: Hyacinths and Muscari
  • Plants that make sound in the wind: Grasses and Bamboo
  • Plants that add texture: Eremurus, Gypsophila and Wisteria
  • Plants you can taste: Edible aromatic plants like Wild Garlic

Our Sensory Garden Starter Pack:

We’ve selected our special sensory favourites from our online range to start off your sensory garden journey.

Muscari ‘Cupido’

Easy to grow and versatile spring plants. Enjoy the lovely fragrance of these pale blue, pea-like flowers in patio pots or around trees and shrubs.

Hyacinth ‘Miss Saigon’

A vibrant, showstopping Hyacinth. These bold purple blooms are perfect for adding fragrance along borders or pathways.

Allium ‘Summer Drummer’

A popular plant at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. These tall, highly fragrant Alliums are perfect for the back of the border.

Eremurus ‘White Beauty’

A dazzling white bloomer that adds height and texture to the garden. These award-winning, long-flowering beauties are perfect for the summer garden.

Daphne ‘Eternal Fragrance’

A creamy white Daphne. Their sweet scent is not to be missed when being carried in the breeze on a warm summers day.  Perfect for patio pots.

Wisteria ‘Prolific’

A show-stopping climber. If you want to add, texture, scent and movement to the garden, this vibrant purple Wisteria does it all.

Check out some of our other blogs:

Our New Spring-Flowering Bulbs

Our 2020 Spring-flowering bulb range has arrived! Since the garden is now sorted for summer, it’s never too early to start planning for autumn-planting season.

With many new varieties added to this year’s range, we’ve selected our favourite new spring-flowering bulbs to inspire you to plan your upcoming spring displays.

Our Autumn bulbs are all available to pre-order now for delivery in September.

New Hyacinths

Our favourite new Hyacinths for 2020.

Hyacinth ‘Spring Beauty’

A truly romantic Hyacinth. These baby pink, star-shaped blooms add fragrance and colourful beauty to the spring garden.

Hyacinth 'Spring Beauty'
Hyacinth 'Red Diamond'

Hyacinth ‘Red Diamond’

A vibrant crimson showstopper. These eye-catching Hyacinths will add a pop of colour to spring pots and borders.

Hyacinth ‘Dark Dimension’

Add drama to the spring garden with these luxurious, deep blue Hyacinths. Perfect for pairing with light flowers for a stunning contrast.

Hyacinth 'Dark Dimension'

New Narcissi

Our favourite new Narcissi varieties for 2020.

Narcissi ‘Peach Cobbler’

A delicious combination of creamy white flowers with a rich, apricot centre. Bring the sunshine to your borders with this amazing Narcissi.

Narcissi 'Peach Cobbler'
Narcissi 'Blushing Lady'

Narcissi ‘Blushing Lady’

These pale yellow blooms surround a gorgeous, blushing pink centre. The perfect pastel flowers for the spring garden.

Narcissi ‘Heamoor’

Sunshine in a flower. These vibrant, double Narcissi blooms will add cheer to any spring display.

Narcissi 'Heamoor'

New Tulips

Our favourite new Tulip varieties for 2020.

Tulip ‘Anfield’

A ravishing red Tulip. These brilliant double blooms are the perfect compact Tulips for patio pots.

Tulip 'Anfield'
Tulip 'Mascotte'

Tulip ‘Mascotte’

These fuchsia pink, fringed Tulips will sparkle in the spring garden. These easy to grow flowers will add the wow factor to spring borders.

Tulip ‘Apricot Impression’

Blooming in salmon and apricot shades, these flowers will create a sea of romantic colour to spring borders and containers.

Tulip 'Apricot Impression'

How to Create Privacy in Small Gardens

Small urban gardens can be overlooked by other houses, which means privacy can be rare. To prevent neighbours being able to see into your garden or to just create your own private sanctuary of peace, check out our top tips for how to achieve privacy in a small urban space.

1. Block Sight Lines

An arbour, pergola or gazebo are all easy ways of increasing privacy if you’re overlooked by upper windows. Cover any of these structures with beautiful trailing plants to truly create your own natural private space. Another tip is to plant small trees near your terrace; they will give you more privacy than a taller tree further away.

2. Bushy Pot Plants

Growing bushy potted plants gives you the cover you need, and they’re mobile so you can move them around whenever you like. It’s an easy way to improve privacy that also adds a good dose of foliage to your outdoor space. Grab plants that have a good width spread to grow a private wall of foliage.

3. Beautiful Bamboo

Growing Bamboo in pots is a great way to leave your privacy concerns behind. These plants provide a well-concealed look as well as the lush greenery.

4. Cover up with Climbers

If you want to cover your garden fences or railings in a balcony or rooftop, climbing plants are a great option. Ivy plants would be a top choice, as they’re fast growing and evergreen; the perfect all-year-round cover.

5. Ornamental Grasses

Grasses can be used so easily to create internal screens or hedges that flower beautifully, move in the slightest breeze, and need little care during the summer months. Their fast growth rate makes ornamental grasses ideal for privacy hedges because new plants can rapidly fill in any gaps.

Check out some of our other blogs:

5 Gardening tips from the Chelsea Flower Show 2020

Usually held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has gone digital this year! From virtual garden tours from RHS judges and top garden designers to gardening experts sharing planting tips and tricks, there has been plenty to enjoy from this year’s show.

We’ve rounded up our favourite Chelsea-approved gardening tips, so that you can create your own prize-winning garden at home.

1. Working with Small Spaces

With many of us stuck at home at the moment and with many people living in urban spaces, you can still enjoy a bounty of plants, no matter the size. Create new levels with hanging plants, experiment with mobile potted plants and elevate plants with shelving or ladders.

We recommend:

Bacopa Scopia Mixed
Lady Fern

2. Create a Chelsea Inspired Bouquet

Nikki Tibbles, founder of British florists Wild at Heart, gave us a crafty tutorial on how to create our very own Chelsea-inspired bouquets with flowers from our garden. Combine the delicately coloured flowers of pale Peonies, pastel Delphiniums and Clematis flowers to create your own award -winning vase displays and bouquets.

Our recommendations:

Delphinium Summer Skies
Clematis Aromatica

3. Healing Gardens

Garden designer Robert Myers shared his top tips for designing a healing garden. Now more than ever, our gardens are a haven to bring calm to our lives and help with our mental/physical well being. Restore calm with plenty of textured, multi-layered natural greenery, and add a sensory experience with scented plants around seating areas.

Our recommendations:

Leylandii Hedging
Lavender Munstead

4. Create a Mini Allotment

The Skinny Jean Gardener, Lee Connelly, shared his top tips for getting you and the kids growing your own edible produce. Lee says “grow something that you love to eat” and to keep it simple and easy with low maintenance fruit and veg. With space often being an issue for gardeners, Lee shares that you can create a mini allotment with just a window sill or washing up bowl!

Our recommendations:

Blueberry Spartan
Goji Berry

5. Think about Wildlife

Designer Tom Massey shared with us how to encourage wildlife by growing a mini-meadow. To create a meadow planting scheme, mix ornamental grasses with perennials to add both colour and movement to your displays.

Our recommendations:

Pennisetum ‘Hameln’
Allium ‘Drumsticks’

Check out our customers #mychelseagarden photos!

Top Plants for an Evergreen Garden

Providing foliage all-year-round, evergreen plants are perfect for adding colour, structure and height to any outdoor space. Get inspired to create your own green oasis with this amazing selection of evergreen plants, shrubs and climbers.

Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’

A glossy purple evergreen plant that blooms with small, pink flowers throughout the summer. Ideal for pots, borders and providing a colour contrast against light-coloured plants.

Ensete ‘Maurelii’

An award-winning exotic, evergreen beauty. Eye-catching green/bronze leaves upon a strong dark red stem. Perfect for adding height to am outdoor space in pots and containers. 

Clematis ‘Apple Blossom’

One of the most popular evergreen climbers on the market. Flourishing with romantic pink spring flowers, plant by a doorway or seating area, where you can enjoy their almond scent.

Euonymus ‘Paloma Blanca’

A compact bi-coloured evergreen shrub. The stunning foliage emerges greenish- white and darkens to a rich deep green with age. Ideal for pots, window boxes and borders.

Ornamental Grass Collection

Ornamental grasses have become a big trend for modern gardens. These eye-catching collection of evergreen grasses add texture, colour and height to borders, containers and rockeries.

Escallonia ‘Pink Elle’

Add a burst of colour with this fantastic, compact shrub. These evergreen shrubs have glossy, leathery leaves and burst with an abundance of white, pink and red flower clusters in the summertime.

Gardenia ‘Crown Jewel’

A sensational scented, evergreen shrub. The glossy forest green leaves provide a beautiful contrast against the pearly white, star-shaped summer flowers. Great for borders or containers.

Italian Cypress Totem Pole

If you have some space to play with, these luscious conifers add luxurious height to borders or large containers. Its columnar habit makes it ideal as a focal point in the garden.

White Garden: Best Plants for White Flowers

There is a timeless elegance in white flowers that will never fade. They brighten up dull spots, add contrast to colourful plants and add a subtle glow to the garden in the evenings.

Here are our favourite white bloomers to fill your garden with ethereal beauty all year round.

For hanging baskets:

These stunning flowers create a real eye-catching effect in summer hanging baskets. 

Scaevola Albanico ‘White’
Fuchsia ‘Hawkshead’
Surfinia ‘White’
Million Bells ‘White’

For flower pots:

Our perfect pot partners bloom with masses of white flowers to cheer up any patio pot, porch or garden space.

Dahlia ‘Toto’
Heuchera ‘White Cloud’
Hydrangea ‘Confetti’
Echinacea ‘Milkshake’

For beds & borders:

For a carpet of snowy blooms or large and in charge feature plants, these are our top picks for white-flowering beds and borders.

Lily ‘Pretty Woman’
Dianthus ‘Confetti White’
Gypsophila ‘White’
Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’

For shrubs:

Add beauty year-round with these amazing pure white blooming shrubs.

Pearl Bush
Buddleia ‘White Swan’
Snowball Bush
Euonymus ‘Paloma Blanca’