Gardening for Beginners: How to Plant Bulbs in Pots

Regardless of size, your garden deserves to be filled with bouts of colour and fragrance throughout the year. Containers are a perfect way to plant and grow your favourite seasonal blooms if you lack the space!

Planting bulbs in containers is an easy task that can be done by anyone, whether you’re new to gardening or an expert. Follow this easy guide to learn exactly how to plant bulbs in pots.

How to Plant Bulbs in Pots

The process of planting bulbs in pots is easy and can be done by anyone! Planting your spring bulbs in autumn will give your garden a real boost once the season begins.

Step 1 – Add your Compost

Find a container that has holes at the bottom. This will help with drainage when you water your plants, avoiding waterlogged soil. Soggy soil can actually damage your bulbs, stopping them from growing, so good drainage is important. You can even add things to the bottom of the pot to add extra drainage, like a broken up terracotta pot.

Fill your container midway with compost. Every plant will have different needs, but many will need to be planted around twice its depth. That’s why it’s important to leave plenty of space for them to grow.


Step 2 – Lay out your bulbs

Pop each bulb on top of the soil layer, with the pointy end facing upwards. Allow each one a bulb’s distance apart, cover with soil, and pat down gently.

This is the perfect way to plant a single layer of bulbs within a pot. However, there are other ways to create a container display that lasts throughout the entire season!

How to Create a Bulb Lasagne

A bulb lasagne is an easy way to showcase your favourite bulbs all in one pot. Each layer will bloom at a different time of the season, allowing you a colourful display for months on end.

To create an effective bulb lasagne, place a layer of early-blooming bulbs at the bottom layer and cover them with soil. On top, place your mid-flowering varieties and cover them with another layer of soil. Place your later flowering tulips at the top, and cover with soil again until the compost reaches the top of the pot. Give each layer 3-4 inches of space to allow sufficient growth.

Common Issues and How to Solve Them

Grey squirrels love to dig up bulbs and steal them, ruining your displays. In borders, plant your bulbs in an aquatic basket and cover them with chicken wire. In containers, simply cover the pot with chicken wire. You can remove this wire once the plant emerges from the ground. 

If you’re unsure of how often to water your plants in containers, double-check the information on each variety, as it can differ from plant to plant. However, containers can become quite dry, as the drainage is much better than if you planted your bulbs in the ground. For peace of mind, thoroughly water once a week. If the soil feels dry on the surface and centimetres underneath, then give them more water.

If the season is quite wet, then you won’t need to water them as often, but keep an eye on the soil as the season progresses.

Enjoyed learning how to plant bulbs in pots? Why not try something else?

How to Harvest Cherries

how to harvest cherries blog header

Planted in the early months of the year, cherry trees are ready to harvest throughout the summer months. These juicy berries are a perfect pick for a hot summers day, and are a popular choice among many gardeners as they’re so sought after throughout the season.

If you’re new to growing fruit trees and would like to know how to harvest cherries, then follow this easy to follow guide.

How to harvest your Cherries

cherry blossom tree

Cherry trees are a wonder for the garden all year round. In spring, their blossoms will provide the most gorgeous display. In Japan, festivals are held around the country to celebrate the flowering of their cherry trees, which is called ‘hanami’.

Once summer rolls around, your cherries will be ripe and ready for picking! If you’re hoping your fruits last as long as possible, try and prune the cherries by including the stem. However, if you’re using them directly in recipes, you can leave the stem behind.

Cherries are exciting summer fruits that can be used in numerous recipes throughout the season. How about using them to create your own fruit sorbet, or for a traditional cherry pie?

When to harvest

Cherries can be harvested from June to August. The riper the cherry, the sweeter the fruit. If you’re looking for a tangy taste, harvest your cherries earlier in the season. However, if the weather is quite wet, you can pick them earlier as rain can make the fruit split.

Shop Cherry Plants and Trees

Cherry Sylvia
Cherry Morello
Cherry Kordia

Read more from J Parker’s:

how to harvest cherries blog sub - how to make your own fruit sorbets
how to harvest cherries sub blog - what to plant in July

How to prune shrubs

Once you learn how to prune shrubs, it’ll make garden maintenance a lot easier. It’s not as hard as it sounds, and it can improve overall performance, flowering and much more!

Some deciduous shrubs require being pruned in winter. This is due to to them shedding their leaves and sending the food preserves to their roots. If pruned earlier in the year it removes those important food reserves in the green leaves. However, there are some shrubs that benefit from spring pruning depending on when they flower, so check before you start snipping!

Step 1: Check your tools

The tools you used to prune your shrubs can make or break the process. Whether you are using anvil pruners or bypass loppers. Or maybe even small powered tools like chainsaws, wood saws, or a metal hacksaw for thicker branches and trunks. It is vital that your tools are sharp enough to create a straight, clean cut.

Step 2: Where to start

Always cut branches on a slant at a 45 degree angle. Flat cuts are dangerous as they bring the possibility of inviting fungus or disease to your plant. Rainwater slides off a slanted cut. When proceeding to prune, you should cut just above what’s known as the ‘branch collar’. The ‘branch collar’ is a bumpy ring that is filled with plant growth cells, and gives the shrub a better chance of recovering from the cut.

Step 3: Where to prune

‘Heading back’ is a well known technique that gives your shrub a natural look. To achieve this look, locate the tallest main branch. Follow this branch until it meets a lower side branch that points upwards. Cut the main branch off just above the smaller one. Repeat this process with all the main branches, but make sure to continuously access your work. Remember that new growth will give additional height, to prune slightly lower than expected.

If done correctly, then over the next couple of months your shrubs should be growing healthier and stronger than ever. Pruning is an important part of garden maintenance and shouldn’t be ignored.

Read more gardening advice & tips from J Parkers:

How to Plant Geraniums

Geraniums, also known as Cranesbill or pelargoniums, are hardy bedding blooms. Their vibrant colours and gorgeous green foliage can provide months of beauty to the summer garden.

If you’re new to gardening and are searching for the perfect flower for your beds, then look no further. If you’re unsure on how to plant geraniums, then use this blog as a handy guide!

Where to Plant Geraniums

Typically, Geraniums are used for bedding and container displays. Our Geraniums are supplied as handy plug plants, making the planting process far more straight forward.

However, you can also plant varieties like trailing geraniums in hanging baskets for a floriferous effect throughout the season!

How to Plant Geranium Plugs

Before planting, ensure your soil is well prepped. Position them in well-drained, fertile soil in an area of the garden that reaches plenty of sunlight.

Gently remove the plug from its tray. To do this, you can push from the bottom of the tray and lift. Give each plug a small pot so that it can retain moisture before potting on after a few weeks if the weather allows.

Add compost to each pot and dig a hole that will fit the plug, ensuring the surface of the plant is level with the soil. Cover gently and pat the soil to ensure its secure.

Water once planted, but ensure the soil doesn’t become too wet. Geraniums aren’t thirsty plants, and will do well with intermittent watering. However, when you do water them, do so in the early mornings or late evenings, so the sun doesn’t evaporate the water instantly.

When to Plant Your Geraniums

As a rule of thumb, Geraniums should be planted from the end of May to June, after the risk of frost has passed. If you live in colder climates, then wait as long as possible so you know that there’s no danger of harsh weather.

Read more from J Parker’s

When to prune acers

The best time to prune acers is when they’re dormant during November and December. But it doesn’t hurt to brush up on your knowledge to ensure you’re ready for when the time comes. The reason we prune acers whilst they are dormant is due to the sap they bleed when pruned which weakens the tree. It is also best to keep the pruning to a minimum as to keep the natural shape of the tree.

Acers are a great addition to any garden, and make an amazing centre piece for any garden. With leaves that turn beautiful shades of red, crimson, orange or yellow in Autumn. As slow growing and compact plants, acers are especially great for smaller gardens.

One thing to be aware of when planting acers is that they grow best in a sheltered position, and need to be protected from wind and frost.

How to prune

In order to keep this natural shape start by removing the badly-placed or crossing shoots to encourage the natural framework of the tree to grow. When reducing the width and height follow the long branches back to the side branch and prune.

Why we prune

Pruning is much more than sawing off branches. Pruning encourages growth, increases flowering and improves overall plant health. Here are a few others reasons to prune your trees:

  • Strengthens tree structure
  • Improves tree health
  • Reduces the risk of dead or weak branches

Important Notes

The key to making sure your acer continues to grow steadily and healthily is to only prune back to a well-placed side branch. Leaving it as a stub will make it susceptible to decay and dieback. Also remember to take out any dead, damaged or diseased wood.

Whether your acer is the main garden event or just a beautiful addition, keeping on top of its maintenance can ensure that it will take centre stage.

Read more from J Parkers:

How to Keep Your Plants Cool During the Summer

Knowing how to cool plants down in the summer is an essential part of gardening through the season. Although some plants and flowers are drought resistant, many can struggle through particularly warm weather.

If your plants struggle to thrive throughout the summer months, then you’ve come to the right place! Here are some quick and simple ways to keep your plants cool during seasonal heatwaves.

Install Shade Cloth

Shade cloths are great for protecting crops through the season. You can buy these at most outdoor stores or online. Usually, they won’t be as big as the one pictured above.

Shade cloths are perfect for reflecting the heat of the sun away from your more delicate crops, such as peas and lettuce. The use of a shade cloth can help your crops to grow for longer, providing more produce!

The Best Time to Water Your Plants

You may not realise, but there are optimal times for watering your plants in summer. Although you may think they’re being hydrated when you do it midday, this can actually stunt the amount of water the root is getting.

As a rule of thumb, water your plants early in the morning, or in the evening once the sun has gone down. This allows the water to soak into the soil and nourishing the plant before the midday sun can dry it out.

Think About Your Plants Positioning

Potted plants are great for those that need a bit more shade. Pots can be moved anywhere around the garden, allowing you to find the shadiest areas throughout the day as the sun moves. For this reason, it’s best to grow drought-resistant plants in beds and borders, as they can resist a beat of heat.

Utilise Your Mulch

Mulch is a perfect way to cool plants down. Adding a bit of mulch, like leaves and grass cuttings, to the surface of the soil that surrounds the plant can actually cool the plant down.

Mulch also helps to retain moisture in the soil, and prevents weeds from appearing!

Read more from J Parker’s:


How to Plant Lavender

This guide will not only teach you how to plant Lavender but also where. As an incredibly fragrant flower there are optimal places to allow these flowers to bloom. One of the easier shrubs to grow, Lavender grows best in free-draining soil. It also thrives in full sun and is drought tolerant. Best planted in spring as it will flower in Summer, filling the air with that well-known, aromatic scent.

Step 1: Where to plant

Before you start planting your lavender, it’s vital to choose where. Lavender grows beautifully in containers, but absolutely steals the show when planted in flower borders and herb gardens. It also works well as a boarder or lining a walkway, ensuring the sweet scent can be smelled all over the garden.

Step 2: Prepare your soil

Ensure you’ve removed all weeds from the selected area, and dig over any free-draining soil. If growing in groups, space plants about 90cm apart. If you’re growing a hedge, space plants about 30cm apart.

Step 3: Water

After planting, water regularly during the first season, especially in dry weather. Although lavender is drought tolerant, during the first summer newly planted lavender should be watered regularly.

Step 4: In containers

Containers, about 30-40cm, hold Lavender the best with large draining holes. Make sure the lavender is planted at the same level as its previous pot. At first water well, but then once or twice a week during summer to ensure the soil does not dry out. Containers dry out quicker as the roots have a limited amount soil in which to search for moisture.

Tips:

  • To keep your lavender plant neat and attractive, annually trim the plant in late summer, once the flowering has finished. Remove any spent flower stalks.
  • In winter, cover the lavender with a winter mulch which will protect the lavender from freezing winds and temperature.
  • Lavender is also multifunctional and can be easily repurposed. Lavender oil is perfect for aromatherapy. Or, if dried it makes great tea!

Read more of our gardening tips and planting guides:

How to care for Herbaceous Perennials

Herbaceous perennials are the backbone of any garden display. Not only will they add plenty of colour and texture to your garden, but you can rely on them to reappear year after year!

Perennials, on the surface, seem easy to care for. And usually, they are! But by following these simple steps, you will help them to thrive throughout their season for years to come.

What Are Herbaceous Perennials?

Simply put, herbaceous perennials are plants with non-woody stems. This description encapsulates many different types of plants, from annuals to evergreens. Often enough, when people refer to herbaceous perennials, they typically are referring to plants without woody stems.

Although they are under the general umbrella of ‘herbaceous perennials’, not all of these plants will act the same. Evergreens, for example, will continue to thrive throughout the majority of the year, whereas others will die back at the end of their season.

Caring for your Plants Throughout the Season

Like we mentioned before, as long as you’ve chosen the correct plants for the climate in which you live, your perennials will need very little maintenance. However, there are some things you can do to help them thrive for longer!

In spring, add mulch as this will help the ground to maintain its moisture and will also mitigate the appearance of weeds. Taller perennials, like Lupins and Peonies, might need staking to help them reach their full potential. Do this in spring, so that their blooms hide the stake.

Keep your plants well-watered, especially during particularly warm weather. And finally, deadhead wilting flowers to help encourage a new one to grow, as well as keeping the area looking neat and tidy.

Read more from J Parker’s

How to Plant Fruit Trees

Nothing feels more rewarding than growing your own produce. If you don’t have a fruit tree in your garden, planting one is a good investment, as there is nothing like eating the fresh fruit straight from the tree in autumn. Keep reading to discover how to plant fruit trees with our gardening tips.

Before planting:

  • Avoid planting if there’s a frost – place roots into moist soil until conditions improve.
  • Container-grown trees can be planted at any time of year except when frosty or if the soil is too dry or too wet. Bare-root fruit trees can be planted late autumn to early winter as this is when the tree is in its dormant stage.
  • Always try to plant fruit trees in a sunny and sheltered position. This will maximise the time your fruit has to ripen.

Planting in pots

Choose a pot that is 45-50cm (18-20in) in diameter. When planting, place some stones, broken concrete, clay pots, or polystyrene in the bottom of the containers to retain moisture. Use a good-quality compost, and insert the tree. Cover hole and water well.

Planting in the ground

Dig a hole up to three times the diameter of the root system, and break the soil up the surrounding soil with a fork before planting. Place the tree in the hole and carefully refill, placing soil around all the roots to eliminate air pockets. Firm the soil gently by stepping on it.

Quick Tips for Beginners

  • You don’t need a large garden the size of an orchard to grow your own fruit trees. Many fruits like strawberries and raspberries can be grown directly into the ground, into borders, and into containers. Perfect for those with smaller gardens or courtyard spaces.
  • Many fruit trees produce beautiful blooms as well as tasty fruits. Apple trees, pear trees, and beloved cherry trees all create gorgeous flowers that are an absolute treat.
  • Unless your tree is self pollinating (peaches, nectarines, some cherries), then you should be planting a pair of trees to ensure the growth of any produce. Many fruit trees, such as apple and pears, need their flowers to be pollinated by bees and such in order to grow produce. Plant a different cultivar of the same fruit nearby your first tree. Ensure they flower at the same time, or they won’t bear fruit.

Our favourite varieties

Here is a selection of our favourite fruit tree varieties that will add beauty and produce delicious fruits year after year.

Apple Elstar
Cherry Stella
Plum Czar

Check out some of our other blogs:

How To Plant Calla Lilies


Zantedeschia, often known as Calla lilies, are popular exotic looking plants that are native to South Africa. If you’re new to gardening, or would like to learn how to plant Zantedeschia, you’ve come to the right place! This handy guide includes everything you need to know about planting and caring for Zantedeschia (Calla Lilies).

How to Plant Zantedeschia

Learning how to plant Zantedeschia is as easy as pie! They like moist, well-drained soil and prefer to be planted closer to the surface. Where possible, plant them in a sunnier location. As a native to Africa, they will appreciate it!

Plant the tubers shallow, so the top of the tubers are slightly exposed. Water freely and apply a balanced fertiliser every two weeks until the flowers have faded. Keep slightly moist in winter.

Each tuber will produce several stems, perfect for creating cut flowers. Brighten up any room with a delightful bouquet or surprise your friends and family with a bunch of these stunning flowers.

Getting the most from your tubers


Calla Lilies can be lifted after flowering and stored throughout winter, allowing you to plant them again in spring. Simply dig them up once they have died back. The best time for this is usually in autumn, around the time the first frosts are beginning to set in. Dust off the soil and place them somewhere cool and dry on some old newspaper for several days to allow them to dry off. They can then be stored in a dark, dry area and a cool spot in some peat moss over the winter.

Once spring arrives again and the temperatures turn mild, you can replant your Calla Lilies for a gorgeous show throughout the season!

Some of our Favourites

Zantedeschia Cantor (Calla Lily)

A very popular variety for contemporary flower arrangements, exotic Zantedeschia Cantor boasts deep purple blooms.

Zantedeschia Lipstick (Calla Lily)

The Calla Lipstick presents gentle cream spadices, surrounded by contrasting vivid pink spathes.

Zantedeschia aethiopica (Calla Lily)

Zantedeschia aethiopica is a wonderful Calla Lily, also known as the White Arum Lily. This premium variety looks superb grown in groups within the flower bed and border.

Read more from J Parker’s