A huge congratulations to our competition winners!
We have had a phenomenal response to this year’s competition and the standards have been particularly high so a big thank you to everyone who entered – you made it very difficult for us to choose!
Our Gold Prize of £100’s worth of J Parkers vouchers goes to Deborah Fox for this lovely group spring bulbs shot.
Our Silver Prizes of £50’s worth of J Parkers Vouchers go to Jenna Sanders for her crocus shot, and to Kim Fletcher for her Allium and Snail image.
Our runners up will all receive a Bronze Prize of £25’s worth of J Parkers Vouchers. They are: Barry Roberts, Bellinda Ferretter, Hayley Bromley, Isabelle Johnson, Jay Rae, Patricia Baird and Teresa Sherman.
Once again a huge thank you to everyone who entered, you’ll be able to see lots more of the entries from this and previous years on our facebook and pinterest pages from next week.
Geums were once a severely overlooked plant, often used to plug the gaps in a cottage garden scheme. But then suddenly everyone started noticing new bright, zesty flowers colours appearing all the time at flower shows boasting spectacular long flowering times turning these beauties into stars in their own right.
A fantastically useful plant, they are disliked by slugs and snails so are very useful deterrents in the garden. Boasting disease free foliage with a neat compact habit and the pretty flowers, they are a great addition to any display. The evergreen/semi evergreen foliage with is excellent for smothering weeds making them very useful groundcover all year.
Each stem produces lots of buds that will flower in succession, giving you a long summer display. Good for cutting but get the most out of them in the garden first.
New bright and zesty colours making them suitable to star in the garden instead of juts filling the gaps!
Geums don’t tend to come true when seed raised, which is why there are lots of interesting crosses out there so a great variety on offer.
Position: There are three different groups of cultivars rivale, coccineum and chiloense. The rivale have nodding, bell-like flowers. They like moisture retentive soils and prefer to grow in shade or semi shade. Coccineum are an alpine plant, flowering well after a cold winter and have upward facing flowers. The choloense are tall, sturdy plants producing large double flowers and can tolerate full sun as well as semi shade.
Soil and propagation: Geums like moisture retentive soils and will benefit from an annual mulching. Low maintenance but if you divide them when they start to loose growth from the middle they will last much longer, bringing years of pleasure. You can also take cuttings from the base in early spring.
They may succumb to powdery mildew at the end of the summer, just remove any affected stems. Prune back hard after flowering to give the foliage a boost for the rest of the year.
Geums are very popular for Cottage Garden style designs and work really well with lots of perennials. Featuring a few well places Dahlias amongst your Geums will make them more of a colourful backdrop to the main event. Make them pop by paring the red, yellow and gold tones of geums against purples from Alliums or Pulmonaria. You can enhance the golden shades by planting daisy like Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Coreopsis or Helenium.
If you need good coverage in a shaded area why not try planting with Helleborus, which boast a similar stock of healthy evergreen foliage but will flower earlier in the year, giving you dashes of colour throughout the seasons as well as a constant lush green coverage.
From the inspiring and profound, to the practical or the downright silly! We’ve collected some of our favourite quotes to feed your enthusiasm and get you out into your gardens.
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
– Greek proverb
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
– H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
One of the least arduous but most productive of gardening jobs, the magic of deadheading never fails to delight me. It was a revelation when the principle was explained to me: that flowers are the attempt by the plant to reproduce itself. So if you cut the heads off before the flower turns into seeds, the plant will continue to flower.
– Tom Hodgkinson
Plant and your spouse plants with you; weed and you weed alone.
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau
My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.
– Claude Monet
Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.
The striking, showy flower heads of the humble Allium have long been a favourite of the modern cottage gardener. Blending beautifully into a summer perennial border, tall statuesque Alliums will cheerfully tower above lower growing plants just a seamlessly as smaller Alliums will add a zing to the front of a low border or edge.
Easy to grow and versatile enough to be able to be grown in borders, flower beds, patio pots and containers, where they really will pack a punch. A must have impact plant for spring and summer.
Beyond the garden Allium flowers and seed pods are excellent additions to cut flower displays. If you’re feeling creative they can be dried and sprayed to use as festive decorations.
Not just a pretty flower…
Also known as Ornamental Onions, Alliums are from the onion family and are a fantastic addition to any garden. They are great for deterring Aphids, protecting other plants in your garden as well as themselves making them excellent companion plants.
Loved by bees…
Over the last few years we’ve been running a Spring flowering Bulb Competition (see details for this years competition here) and as these past entries show, (above) Alliums are highly attractive to bees! Great for the wildlife friendly gardener.
For the best results position in full sun, and in well drained soils. For poorer soils treat with potash feed in the spring, which will help all your spring flowering bulbs and encourage them to return the following year.
Plant from early autumn at three or four times their own depth. The gaps you leave between Alliums will depend on their mature size, as well as your overall design ideas! For smaller Alliums plant 10cm apart, the larger varieties will need at least 25cm in between. We indicate planting depths/distance for individual varieties on their own product pages.
Most Alliums will do well in containers as long as you give them enough space. They need a good 4cm of compost beneath each bulb, so choose deep pots, and for soil use any multipurpose compost, such as John Innes No 3. Some prefer to mix equal parts soil to horticultural grit. Re-pot each autumn.
Allium Superglobe Mixed
This spectacular mixture of medium and tall Alliums varying in shades of creamy white, pink, mauve to the deepest purple-violet to create an amazing firework like display in your summer garden.
Those beautiful leaves…..when they’re no longer beautiful!
One of the most striking features of Alliums is the long, sturdy stems that keep those amazing pom-pom like balls of flowers suspended on high. From the base of the Alliums grows lush, lance like swords of green foliage. As the flowers fade the basal foliage will wilt and turn brown. Unsightly as it is, don’t try to remove the leaves until they have all completely died off or you will stop the bulb taking enough food for winter to ensure it comes back the following year. If you are including Alliums in your flower bed and border design it’s a good idea to ensure to surround them with low growing plants that flourish in late summer to screen the foliage as it browns. Lavender likes similar conditions to Alliums or Hardy Geraniums will come in after the Alliums and continue to the end of summer.
Thanks to their increasing popularity, Allium varieties such as Purple Sensation, the huge Globemaster variety, and Spharocephalon – more commonly known as The Drumstick Allium – have become staples for many gardeners.
However the more you delve into the species, the more weird and wonderful specimens you will find!
Can’t decide which Alliums to plant?
In this guide, our resident gardening expert Jeff shares his knowledge and advice on the different varieites of Alliums, to help you choose which Alliums are best suited for your summer garden displays.
These stunning, long prized flowers are grown for their beautiful brightly coloured bowl shaped flowers. The silky, long lasting flowers have the texture of crepe paper and their introduction into the summer and autumn garden is a great way of making a statement. Perfect for a border or rock garden display, they also make excellent cut flowers.
We supply as loose roots, much easier to grown than from seed, and once established these are very low maintenance and last for years.
Plant in prepared soil, with a hole large enough to firmly hold the roots. They will do well in any fertile soil but it must be well drained. Taller varieties may need support.
For best results plant in an area where they will get at least 6 hours in full sun. Choose your location carefully, once planted they really don’t like to be moved! Oriental poppies thrive in the cooler spring temperatures and will go dormant once the high heat of summer sets in so it’s best to plant amongst late summer bloomers that will fill the gap they leave behind. Deadhead as needed, but when their season is over allow to die back and don’t overwater during summer as they won’t come back next year.
The brilliant scarlet poppies are probably the most well known but there have been several different colours breed from pure milky white to beautiful shaded picotee varieties. Find all our Papaver varieties here.
Oriental Papaver bloom from spring to mid-summer, dying back in the height of summer. After being the crowning glory of your beds and border, the loss of the beautiful flowers and luscious bushy foliage can leave quite a gap in you garden. The best solution for this is to plant them among some late flowering perennials that will happily take their place. We’ve selected a few of our favourites that flower at the right time to fill the gap.
A perfect replacement for an oriental poppy. This new and improved compact variety of the Chocolate Cosmos produce beautiful velvety chocolate coloured flowers and a much stronger chocolate scent. Flowering from July to October and producing lots of bushy, compact foliage, as well as the gorgeous rich maroon coloured flowers, this is a great choice to fill the gap when the oriental poppies die back in June.
The lovely rust-like effect on the petals of this Helenium make it a really interesting choice in the garden and a great flower to perk up the gaps left by striking Oriental Poppies. Flowering from June to October, its tall, daisy-like fiery orange and yellow petals contrast dramatically with its striking brown centre. A hardy and vigorous plant, and very easy to grow.
One of the most popular Dahlias, and a perfect replacement with its gorgeous red flowers and masses of dark foliage flowering from June to October. A great performer that with its colouring will blend harmoniously with your garden design. Highly attractive to bees and as an extra bonus, this variety is an award winner holding the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Kniphofia are a great late summer flowering perennial and we’ve chosen Red Hot Poker as a great companion plant, flowering from June right through to October. It is a statuesque, upright perennial which produces fiery red clusters of spiked buds on its tall, tubular stem, opening into orange flowers which slowly fade to yellow. Its lush, evergreen foliage, flaming colour palette and impressive stature make it the perfect addition to gardens in need of height and vibrancy.
These impressive patio plants are also known as Angel’s Trumpets. The magnificent flowers on this tree like plant are perfect for growing in large tubs on a sunny patio. Best to move indoors or to a greenhouse in winter.
An amazing sight on a summers day – these climbing plants, commonly known as Passion Flowers, produce a constant flow of exotic shaped flowers throughout summer. The summer fruit is edible and can be used for making jam, for a good crop grow in a greenhouse.
This fragrant beauty is heavy with masses of dainty yellow flowers bubbling over its feathered foliage. Only when its growing on your patio will you appreciate why its name was given to a very popular cocktail!
Ever thought of growing your own Grapes? They are a magnificent treat and will grow really well in a greenhouse. Or if you don’t have a greenhouse and are a little short on space we have a whole range of Dwarf Fruit Trees that will make an excellent addition to your patios or conservatory. For exotic flavours try Figs, Limes, Lemons, Mandarins, or our newPepino Melon.
The stunning flowers of the Rhododendron have earned them a legion of fans, and quite right too! Some varieties of full size Rhododendrons will simply keep growing until they grow into giant trees, although you can prune them down, these larger varieties may not be an option in your garden.
This month we’re taking a look at some stunning dwarf varieties. The compact growth habit of these shrubs give them an outstanding formal appearance, making them ideal for small city gardens or courtyards where space is at a premium. They’re even small enough to slot nicely beneath taller shrubs in the border, or grow nicely in a rock garden.
Prepare the ground by digging in plenty of compost, neutral or acidic organic matter, or leafmold etc. Plant so the roots are covered, not too deep and apply a good layer of mulch lightly over the surface, don’t pack it down. Re-mulch and feed with an ericaceous fertiliser each spring.
Ericaceous fertiliser? This is for plants that are not as happy in limey soils. It’s a lime-free acidic compost that was habitually made with peat – however as awareness that adding peat to soils is bad for the environment you can now easily find peat free varieties to buy.
Dwarf varieties can cope with positioning in full sun but need evenly moist, well drained soils so keep on top of watering them in the hottest part of summer. Rhododendrons like lots of water and use rain-water if you can – you should particularly avoid tap-water if you live in a hard water area. As with larger Rhododendrons they won’t do at all well subjected to frost so take care to protect them and avoid areas you know are prone to it in your garden.
In truth not very much! Azaleas are a group within the Rhododendron family and they have some small differences. Rhododendrons will have ten or more stamens, while an Azalea will usually have five stamens. Rhododendrons have larger leaves and they will be paddle-shaped, Azalea have smaller, elliptical leaves. Also Rhododendrons are evergreen, whereas Azaleas can be evergreen or deciduous.
The many shapes and shades of the Tulip have helped to make it one of the most popular spring flowers. A familiar sight in British gardens, Tulip bulbs are so versatile that they can be planted with any other spring bulb, as well as having multiple uses in borders, patio pots and flowerbeds.
Equally useful in the garden or the vase, planting tulips in the autumn will give you a guaranteed display of vibrant colour throughout the spring.
Bedding and borders
Pots and Containers
Naturalising (some varieties – see below)
How to Plant Tulips
How to Plant Tulip Companions
How to Plant Darwin Hybrid Tulips
There are a lot of different types of Tulip to choose from, each boasting their own unique qualities.
These are dwarf growing varieties that flower prolifically in April through to early May each year. They produce massive peony-like flowers with delicate and brilliant colours which are very effective in flower beds and borders, and make a lovely cut bouquet. Double Early Tulip bulbs are supplied as top quality bulbs ready to plant in autumn and flower in spring.
Double Late Tulips flower later than most Tulip varieties, usually from late April into May. They produce giant peony shaped flowers on very sturdy stems of around 40-60cm and look spectacular when used as cut flowers. Double Late Tulips bulbs can be planted in autumn and will flower in spring. A really beautiful and unusual Tulip!
Fosteriana Tulips, also commonly known as the (Emperor Tulip) are chosen for their brilliant oriental colours and large flowers, creating a startling effect wherever planted. Sensational flowers on very stocky stems, perfect for a sunny border. Flowering in April/May every spring.
Fringed Tulips (also known as Crispa Tulips) have a very compact habit with extremely sturdy stems that produce colourful and vibrant flowers which have unusual fringed edges that give a ruffled effect. Flowering a little later than some Tulip varieties, they add colour and charm in late April into May. Height 50-70cm.
Greigii and Kaufmanniana Tulips are colourful and exciting dwarf growing botanical Tulips which grow to only 20-25cm tall, producing unusual glossy green or mottled foliage that look stunning grown in any area within the garden. Greigii and Kaufmanniana Tulips flower earlier than many other short stemmed Tulips, from as early as March onwards into April. Try planting in rows along a path, driveway or in a flower bed, where the sturdy stems and bright colours will easily catch the eye.
Lily Flowering Tulips produce spectacular Flute shaped flowers that produce gracefully reflexing flowers, all on tall and very strong stems. They are particularly useful for cut flower arrangements and look amazing as part of a flower bouquet. Also known as Fluted Tulips.
Multi-Flowered Tulips are one of the most popular and effective Tulips for flower bouquets where their amazing variations in colours, coupled with strong stems allow them to really make a statement. They produce three to six flower heads per stem offering great value for money. Praestans Tulips are a popular botanical Tulip producing 25-30cm flowers which are a great naturalising bulb that multiply profusely.
Quite possibly one of the most unique but equally splendid Tulip varieties has to be the Parrot Tulip, producing giant irregular shaped flowers with petals that resemble the feathers of a tropical Parrot. Flowering from April into May, Parrot Tulips really do produce some of the most beautiful colour shades and are excellent for bedding purposes, where they can create an exotic look and feel.
Originating back to the time of Rembrandt, when Tulips were first introduced to Holland, Rembrandt Tulips are a combination of colours used to create a flamed effect that will delight almost like a flicker of a rainbow. Modern Rembrandt Tulips bulbs are 100% virus free and produce streaky bi-coloured blooms from May onwards. Height 50cm.
Single Early Tulip bulbs are a traditional dwarf growing Tulip with a smaller habit than many varieties, but just as effective when grown in groups in a border or rockery. They are excellent for bedding and are one of the earliest of all Tulip types to flower outdoors in spring. Height 30-40cm.
There is probably no Tulip more versatile as the Single Late Tulip, commonly referred to as a Cottage Type of Tulip. Single Late Tulip bulbs produce very bright coloured large blooms on long, graceful stems. A wonderful variety grown for their beauty and attractiveness, with no cottage garden in spring being complete with some of these.
Tulip Species bulbs, also known as Dwarf Botanical Tulips, with their fascinating colours are natives of Asia Minor. These beautiful varieties are highly recommended for rockeries and borders, while also being suitable for patio containers and pots.
The Triumph Tulip is a result of a crossing between two premium varieties, Single Early and Darwin varieties. One of the largest range of Tulip varieties, Triumph or mid-season Tulips as they are known produce outstanding outstanding colours, with a very strong neat habit. A superb Tulip for planting in large groups in the border, flowerbed or also in patio container pots.
Viridiflora Tulips are one of the most elegant and stylish bi-colour Tulips on the market. Viridiflroa comes from the Latin words ‘viridis’ meaning green and ‘flos’ meaning flower. Combined together they represent the wonderful blend of colours we have come to love from this popular Tulip. Each Viridiflora Tulip bulb has a certain degree of green blended into each flower and is colourful enough to brighten even the darkest day in spring.
We are thrilled to launch a brand new Spring Bulbs Photography competition for 2017. For your chance to win up to £100 worth of J Parker’s vouchers send us your best photographs of spring bulbs growing in your gardens this year.
Your image can be of any spring flowering bulb, so long as it’s your own original image of a variety purchased from us. Examples include Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinth, Iris, Muscari and many more, any J. Parker bulb in flower in your garden before 30th June 2017.
For a little inspiration check out previous winners in our competition galleries for 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Email[email protected] (Entry must be under 5mb – please include your name and postcode)
All entries will be considered and you can enter as many times as you wish before the competition deadline – Competition closes 30th June 2017. Winners will be notified by email before the 7th July 2017.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
We will view all entries and any which meet the criteria outlined below will be considered for the prize of up to £100 worth of J. Parker’s vouchers.
All entries using photographs or drawings must be original images, taken/produced by the entrant. You must own all rights to the image and in entering the competition you agree to allow us to use your image in further promotions, on social media or in print.
Entrants agree that their names may be published with their entry. No other details will be shared with any third parties.
The winning entry will be judged on both the quality of the plant and the image. The Judge’s decision is final.
The winner will receive a £100 voucher to spend on any products currently offered by J. Parker’s. This cannot be exchanged for cash and there is no substitution for this prize.
All varieties of spring bulb will be considered, but only those purchased from J. Parker’s will qualify for the competition prizes.
Send your entries by email to [email protected] (email under 5mb) or you can share it with us on our Twitter or Facebook page.
As an extra thank you all entries will receive a 15% discount on their next purchase, valid for three weeks.
All entries will be considered, and you can enter as many times as you wish. Competition closes 30th June 2017. Winners will be notified by email before the 7th July 2017.