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.

WASA: Community Group (Kingston-upon-Thames)
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How to Create a Japanese Inspired Garden

japanese themed gardens

Japanese themed gardens create a calming space to unwind after a long day. Using a combination of simple elements and spiritual design creates an impressive tranquil haven, perfect for any size of garden.

If you’re looking to create your own zen garden, follow our tips for inspiration.

Paths and Bridges

japanese themed gardens bridge

Bridges and stoned pathways are often used within Japanese themed gardens. The stone symbolises the element, whereas bridges insinuate peace and serenity. Depending on the space you have to work with, a small bridge can be perfect to easily separate two areas.

Water Features

japanese themed gardens fountain

Similar to the use of bridges, water features bring a sense of tranquility and peace. However, less is always more! Make your water feature the main focus of your garden to achieve an authentic design.

Let’s Talk Plants

japanese themed gardens plants

Japanese themed gardens are often styled to one colour scheme. Reds, greens, and whites are most common. When it comes to picking which plants to use in your garden, Azaleas and Peonies are perfect!

Each plant’s used for their calming colours, an essential aspect for any zen garden.

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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!

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.

Can Gardening Be a Good Form of Exercise?

Exercise is essential to everyday life. However, going to the gym every morning just isn’t possible for many of us. To keep fit and healthy, all you need is 30 minutes of non-stop activity a day…

That’s right. Just 30 minutes (or longer!) of gardening a day is enough to keep the doctor away. Activities such as weeding, mowing the grass, and planting bulbs can do wonders for the old ticker. Not only does it raise your heart-rate and gets your body pumping, but it also helps you get much needed fresh air and vitamin D.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, just 30 minutes of pushing the lawn-mower around the garden is just as vigorous as riding a bike or playing doubles in tennis. Perfect for those not used to more intense of a work out.

Like any workout, you want to make sure you’re taking the necessary precautions before pottering in the garden. This includes light stretching and building up your activities from light to moderate to ensure you don’t hurt or injure yourself. Any sudden movements or twisting of the body can cause more harm than good.

Gardening is a great form of exercise, and any amount of time you have in the garden is time well spent. Be safe when starting any task and always ask for help if you feel that you’re over-stepping your abilities. Better to be safe than sorry later!

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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. 

Preparing Your Garden for Winter

preparing your garden for winter

Preparing your garden for winter is probably the last thing you want to do as the air gets colder and the days get shorter. However, if you spend just a few hours a day getting everything prepared before the first frosts of the season, it could save your plants from facing an early demise.

Ready to get started? Read on to find out how.

Border Maintenance

prepping your garden borders

Cut back your perennials and dying plants closer to the ground as they start to die down. Tidy your borders by removing any weeds and debris so there’s less work come spring.

Give Shrubs and Trees Some Love

fruit trees

Prune unruly shrubs into your preferred shape and cut back any damaged branches from trees. This helps them to be in the best possible shape they can before winter hits.

Plant Protection

protecting plants for winter

If you have access to a green house, move potted plants in for the duration of winter. If you’re worried about deciduous trees and shrubs, their bare roots can be lifted and stored until spring to avoid the root dying through any frost.

Take a Well Deserved Break

taking a break with a cup of tea after preparing your garden for winter

And finally, once you’re done preparing your garden for winter, take a well deserved break! This year especially has taken its toll on all of us, and in the run up to winter it’ll be more important than ever to look after ourselves.

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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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How to Create Your Own Sustainable Garden

Creating a sustainable garden has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years, and it’s easy to see why. Not only will it make it easier and cheaper to maintain your garden, it can also make a positive impression on the environment.

Thinking of starting your own sustainable garden? Here are some helpful tips to get you started.

DIY Compost

First things first: Kitchen waste. According to Wrap.org, we throw away a shocking 6.6 million tonnes of food each year. Instead of throwing your scraps into the bin that will just be wasted in landfill, you could create your own compost!

Not only is it easy to do, but it’s great as an extra additive to your flower beds. To start your own compost pile, find a shady area of the garden to place your bin. Creating the perfectly balanced compost takes a variation of additives, not just kitchen waste. Regularly supply your compost bin with grass clippings, weeds, prunings, and manure to feed the micro-organisms.

Save Your Water

Instead of using the main water supply to keep your garden hydrated, use collected rain water. Not only is this great for the planet, but it’s easy on your water bill too! Leave a few buckets out in the garden to collect what would otherwise be wasted rain water and use it on your garden beds and planters.

Keep It Organic

Using organic compost and fertilizer is more important than you might think. Organic fertilizers release nutrients as they break down, which soaks into the soil and improves the soil’s ability to hold water and nutrients.
Over time, this will make your plants healthier and much more hardy.

But, that’s not all. Non-organic soil and fertilizer can be incredibly damaging to your gardens environment. Soil without organic matter is all man-made, lacking in the necessary nutrients to help your plants thrive. Filled with damaging materials like Rockwool, Perlite, and expanded clay aggregate, it’s clear to see that non-organic soil and compost should be avoided where possible.

A Plant for Life

Trees are a brilliant investment for both your pocket and your health. Firstly, planting a tree is a great way to improve your immediate environment. Not only do plants and trees improve air quality and soil quality, but they also help reduce your overall carbon footprint.

Trees can last for decades. They provide homes for wildlife, offer food sources to pollinators and are beautiful additions to any garden. Do your future self a favour and plant a tree.

Perfect for Pollinators

And lastly, our final tip for creating a sustainable garden is to grow the perfect plants and flowers for pollinators. Wildlife such as bees and butterflies use the energy from flowers like Lavender and Alliums to get from A to B, so it’s essential to give them the opportunity to fuel up before taking off on their next adventure.

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