Grow Your Own Gifts With Indoor Bulbs

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Indoor bulbs are many gardeners go-to pastime when winter appears and hoards us all inside. Amaryllis, Daffodils, Hyacinths – they’re all wonderful indoor bulbs and create incredibly bright displays throughout the colder months.

As indoor bulbs flower from early December, they make perfect and thoughtful Christmas gifts to give to family and friends. However, they take some forward planning to get right.

Prepare Your Bulbs

Often, normal garden varieties of bulbs are fine to force. This goes for tulips, narcissi, crocus, and many more. However, there are specially prepared bulbs that have been treated in cold conditions, making them appear earlier than you would traditionally expect.

Hyacinths are a good example of this treatment. They are placed in a fridge up to 15 weeks, triggering their biochemical response that makes them flower. At J Parkers, we sell our own range of prepared bulbs, making your life that much easier. However, if you wanted to take your own crack at it, keep your desired bulbs in a cool place (garage, shed, etc) for 10 to 15 weeks. Once this period has finished, it’s time to pot your bulbs.

Planting Your Bulbs

Once you’ve treated your bulbs, they’re ready to be planted. Your indoor bulbs should be planted in well-drained but moist soil. Try to use grit where you can to create the proper amount of drainage. Take your container and fill the bottom with a layer of grit. Lay some soil on top and make a well for your bulbs.

If you’re looking to plant more than one bulb, space evenly so they’re not too packed together. Place your bulb with the pointed tip facing upwards and cover with soil. Water lightly once done.

Caring for your Bulbs

You should see your bulbs flower from early December. If you’re having trouble with your bulbs growing straight, pot in gravel and stones instead of soil as it helps anchor the bulb in place. Wait for the plant to flower and voilà! The perfect hand-made gift.

Our Favourite Prepared Indoor Bulbs

Amaryllis Christmas Gift
Hyacinth Prepared Woodstock
Narcissi Indoor Collection

What to Do In the Garden This October

child outdoors raking leaves

September is over and October has officially begun! When it comes to our gardens, many of us tend to linger for as long as we can before terrible chills plague our cities and towns.

October is often considered a chilly month, but there is still plenty to do in the garden before winter officially arrives!

flower bulbs on a spade

Plant Your Bulbs

The time’s arrived to dig some holes and plant some bulbs! Autumn is the ideal time to plant spring bedding and other spring-flowering bulbs. Flowers such as Primulas, Violas, and Wallflowers should be planted this month.

Pruning

Now that the colder weather has appeared, it’s time to prune and divide your plants and flowers. Cut back faded perennials to add to your compost and lift and divide poor-flowering plants.

Fruits and Vegetables

If your garden is more vegetable based, or you own an allotment, then this section is for you. The best veggies and fruits to plant this month are usually your rhubarb crowns, winter lettuce and asparagus crowns.

General Tidy

If you’re not planning what to plant in October in terms of bulbs and plants, there’s still plenty to do! Raise patio pots on bricks to avoid them sitting in water throughout autumn and remove stakes and other supports on plants that have died down for winter.

The Big Pumpkin Hunt – Win £100

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With Autumn well and truly here, this month’s competition is celebrating the spooky season with an online pumpkin hunt!

This October, we are hiding 5 pumpkins in the spring bulbs section of our online shop. 5 products will have pumpkins in the product images and the first person that find all 5 will WIN A £100 VOUCHER! 💰

What do I need to do?

  • Locate all 5 pumpkins hidden in product images in the bulb section of our website.
  • Email us at competition@jparkers.co.uk and name the products the pumpkins are displayed on.
  • The 1st person to locate all 5 pumpkins will be the winner.
(Pumpkin Product Page – Example)

Prize:

  • A £100 J.Parker’s voucher to spend in our online shop 🛒🛍

How to Enter:

  • EMAIL us at competition@jparkers.co.uk with the products you spot the pumpkins on. (Email entry must be under 5mb – please include your name and postcode)

When does the competition close?

  • Send us your answers by Midnight, October 30th.

Keep your eyes peeled, we’ll be posting clues for the pumpkin hunt on our Instagram!

NHS Green Garden Giveaway – The Winner’s List

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All throughout September, we have been running our NHS Green Garden Giveaway. During this unpredictable year to thank our NHS, we asked you to nominate your local NHS hospital and we would select 3 to donate £100 worth of plants/bulbs to.

We want to thank everyone who joined in with the fun, we received over 200 entries from customers giving praise to their local NHS hospitals.

So without further ado, here are the winning establishments:

We also asked you to nominate a NHS worker friend/family member. We have chosen 3 NHS workers at random to gift a £30 voucher to, and the winners are….

– Angie J. – NHS Analyst

– Katie C.

– Helen T. – Mental Health Nurse in Manchester

Our October competition is COMING SOON! Stay updated on our Instagram page:

No-Fuss Raspberry Coulis Cheesecake

Raspberry cheesecake

Its raspberry season, so what better time to make a deliciously decadent raspberry cheesecake? This rich and tasty no-bake cheesecake is incredibly easy to make, so it’s the perfect dessert to whip up on a weekday to impress the family without putting in loads of effort.


Servings: 10-12 servings

Time: 35 minutes (plus chill time)


You will need:

  • 8 inch (20 cm) springform cake pan
  • Electric whisk (optional)

For the base:

  • 150g digestive biscuits
  • 75 grams unsalted butter

For the filling:

  • 250g full fat cream cheese
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g good quality white chocolate
  • 30 grams powdered sugar

For the coulis:

  • 300 grams fresh raspberries (we recommend Autumn Bliss or Tulameen).
  • 50 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice & zest

Instructions:

  1. Make the coulis

    Combine most the raspberries (leave some for decoration later), sugar and lemon juice/zest in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture comes to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium-high and continue to cook, while stirring, until it is thickened, 4 to 5 minutes.  Pour into a heatproof bowl and cool in the fridge.

  2. Make the base

    Crush the digestive biscuits into a fine crumb (it should look like sand). Melt the butter on a low heat on the hob until it becomes liquid. Take off the heat and stir in the crushed biscuits until combined. Transfer the mixture into the cake pan and press the mixture into the bottom of the pan with a spoon to form the cheesecake base. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

  3. Make the filling

    Place white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place over a pan with simmering water. Melt over low heat. In a large bowl mix the double cream and cream cheese until smooth (use an electric whisk if preffered). Add powdered sugar, and vanilla extract and mix to combine. Mix in melted chocolate and set aside.

  4. Arrange the cheesecake

    Pour the filling over the prepared base, use a spatula to spread it evenly. Cover the cake pan in cling film and chill the cheesecake in the fridge for 6 hours (or overnight).

  5. Decorate and serve

    After the cheesecake has chilled, drizzle the coulis over the cheesecake and top with the remaining raspberries. Now you’re cheesecake is ready to serve!


Tips

  • Make it the day before you want to eat it – this cheesecake needs around 6 hours (up to overnight) in the fridge to chill and set.
  • To create a raspberry swirl effect in your cheesecake, after pouring the filling onto the base, pour some of the coulis onto the hot filling and use a chopstick to swirl the coulis into the filling.
  • For an extra zingy taste, add a teaspoon of lemon juice into your cheesecake filling.
  • If you’re harvesting your own raspberries this autumn, remember to pick on a dry day, then either use them fresh or freeze them for later use.

Did you make this recipe? Share your photos with us on our instagram page!

Want to grow your own raspberries?

What to Plant In October

What to plant in October head image

As the cold weather is finally upon us, you might be wondering what to plant in October.
Gardeners across the UK are probably getting their gloves on as we speak!

The end of September marked the start of bulb planting season, and this continues throughout October. However, if you’re new to gardening and are unsure of where to start this month, this blog is for you.
From bulbs to shrubs, there’s plenty to be getting on with this coming month.

Tulips

Our tulip range is truly extensive. There’s definitely a tulip variety for everyone to choose from, regardless of garden themes or personal taste. Offering a bountiful pop of colour to your beds, borders, and patio pots, the reliable tulip is a must-have for any spring garden display.

Tulip Anfield
Tulip Anfield
Double Early tulip collection
Double Early Tulip Collection

Snowdrops

Achieve a woodland aesthetic with our snowdrop range. These little bells of pure white remind many of spring forest walks. The perfect height for adding to the front of your bedding, as well as being incredible naturalisers. See these beauties reappear year after year throughout the spring months.

snowdrops single flowering
Snowdrops (Single Flowering)
snowdrops double flowering
Snowdrops (Double Flowering)

Iris

If you’re still unsure of what to plant in October, the Iris is truly something to behold. Available in a myriad of colours and heights, the iris is the perfect spring bulb. Add interest to your borders and patio pots with our spring-flowering irises.

iris spring flowering collection
Iris Spring Flowering Collection
iris reticulata natascha
Iris Reticulata Natascha

Daffodils

One of our more popular spring-time bulbs is the humble daffodil. No spring garden would be complete without some of these beauties. Dot around your garden for sporadic pops of colour, or cut in spring for beautiful cut flower displays.

daffodil and narcissi mixed
Daffodil and Narcissi Mixed
daffodil double flowering collection
Daffodil Double Flowering Collection
brand new autumn 2020 catalogue

How to Grow and Harvest Saffron

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The king of spices. As the world’s most expensive spice, Saffron is celebrated around the world for its versatility in gourmet cooking. Originating from the filaments of autumn-flowering Crocus sativus, discover how to grow and harvest your very own gourmet saffron spice in the garden.

Steps for planting Saffron

Plant Crocus sativus bulbs anytime between August to late September. Space the bulbs around 6 inches apart and 4-5 inches deep in the ground.

Tip 💡 – Approx. 50-65 flowers will produce 1 tablespoon of Saffron.

Steps for harvesting Saffron – Part 1

Saffron is so easy to harvest. Harvest time is in October/November once Crocus sativus start to bloom. Using tweezers, extract the red filaments of the stigma. After extraction, dry the saffron out in a warm, dry room.

Steps for harvesting Saffron – Part 2

Dry out the filaments for around 15-20 minutes and then vwala! You have grown your very own saffron, ready to use in your favourite recipes straight away.

Tip 💡 – If you don’t fancy using your fresh saffron straight away, store away in an airtight container for later use.

Saffron pairs beautifully with:

  • Paellas
  • Italian risottos
  • Seafood
  • Salad dressings
  • Soups
  • Stews

Check out our NEW Autumn catalogue!

The Best Spring Flower Combinations

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Bulb planting season has finally arrived. Create a beautiful garden, path or walkway with a profusion of spring-flowering bulbs. To spark some green-fingered inspiration, here are some stunning spring flower combinations that will shine in any outdoor space.

Crocus and Snowdrops

A beautiful early spring combination. These hardy, frost resistant blooms are perfect for adding life to the bare late winter garden. Snowdrops and Crocus are both naturalising bulbs, so you can enjoy their beauty year after year. Plant around shrubs, trees or scattered in the lawn for a natural effect.

Create this look with:

Crocus Grand Maitre
Snowdrops (Single Flowering)

Alliums and Tulips

A bright and bold mid-late spring partnership. The statuesque blooms of Alliums pair wonderfully amongst the jewel-like tones of Tulips. This charming combination will create an explosion of colour for weeks on end.

Create this look with:

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’
Tulip ‘Jumbo Beauty’

Daffodils and Pansies

This early spring combination is a breath a fresh air. These hardy flowers are perfect for creating a colourful display in the frosty air of early spring. Yellow daffodils and rich purple pansies make a striking partnership in beds, borders and pots.

Create this look with:

Narcissi ‘Dutch Master’
Pansy ‘Morpheus’

Hyacinths and Pansies

Looking to fill your garden with fragrance? Hyacinths provide colourful, fragrant blooms in mid spring. Paired alongside some beautiful bedding pansies, plant this combo along pathways, near a patio or in pots around a doorway to fully enjoy their beautiful scent.

Create this look with:

Hyacinth ‘Miss Saigon’
Pansy ‘Red Wave’

Tulips and Muscari

Tropical and exciting. A combination of Tulips and Muscari are the perfect late-spring partners. Underplant the tall stems of Tulips with the low growing blooms of Muscari for a hint of fragrance and to create a vibrant, clustered display.

Create this look with:

Tulip ‘Red Riding Hood’
Tulip ‘Orange Brilliant’
Muscari Mixed

How to Plant Crocus Bulbs

blue crocus flowers

Crocus bulbs are great additions to your spring garden, contributing a display of small purple, white, and yellow flowers. Crocus are also wonderful pollinators and invite plenty of insects and critters to your beds and borders!

However, if this is your first time planting crocus throughout autumn, then you may feel a bit stuck on where to begin. We’ve written this guide with you in mind, to help you go from bulb to border in just a few easy steps.

When to Plant Your Bulbs

When it comes to spring-flowering bulbs, you should always aim to plant them in early autumn. This gives the bulb time to grow through the winter and appear in spring!
Once you receive your bulbs, get them in the ground as soon as possible. Avoid frosty conditions and plant your crocus bulbs in soil that is warm and well-drained.

planting bulbs in the garden

Where to Plant Your Bulbs

Where to plant your bulbs depends on the display you would like to achieve. For example, if you’re aiming for a uniform look, plant your bulbs among your beds and borders. If you’d like a more natural look, plant your bulbs informally through grassy areas of the garden.

Crocus bulbs can be planted just about anywhere, as long as they are in full or partial sunlight and have plenty of soil, moisture, and grit for drainage.

How to Plant Your Crocus Bulbs

To plant your bulbs, you should follow these easy steps. First, dig a hole in your desired area that is two to three times the depth of your bulb. Make sure they’re spaced twice the bulbs width apart.
Plant with the pointed tip facing upwards, cover with soil, and water once done.

Shop our crocus bulbs!

Large Flowering Crocus Mixed
King of the Striped
Yellow Mammoth

How to Create a Cottage Garden

Mesmerising and enchanting, the wild yet simple beauty of cottage gardens have been loved by British gardeners for decades. The cottage garden look is all about unstructured borders, bright and bold colours, and delicately scented blooms. To kick off your own cottage style designs, here are our top six essential cottage garden plants.

Tulips

A springtime treasure. With an assortment of colours, styles and shapes, Tulips are perfect for planting en-masse in borders for a carpet of colourful blooms.

Poppies

A sprinkling of Poppies (otherwise known as Papaver) is essential for any cottage garden. These delicate flowers will bring a burst of life to your gardens from spring into summer.

Alliums

Loved for their culinary uses and beautiful, bobble-like blooms, Alliums are a treat in any garden. Perfect for attracting bees and butterflies to the garden too!

Dianthus

A charming, modern cottage garden plant. These easy to grow flowers are perfect for planting at the front of the border or in containers. They make amazing cut flowers too!

Foxgloves

Providing beautiful architectural height to the garden, the tall spikes of Foxgloves are great for attract garden. Perfect for borders and planting in groups.

Roses

Aromatic, beautiful and versatile, there’s nothing quite like Roses. These striking shrubs are perfect for growing as a feature shrub, at the back of a border, and they also make great hedging plants.

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