Pumpkin Carving Competition Winner

Today is National Pumpkin Day! What better way to celebrate than to crown one of you as the winner of our Pumpkin Carving Competition! The first of its kind for us, we enjoyed hosting this competition and seeing all of your amazing designs. Any competition where creativity – whether it is photography or art – can play a roll in what you submit is our favourite. To bring this spooky season to a close, the winner is to receive a dark flowering collection of spring bulbs that isn’t available on our website. Without further ado, here is our winner…

@SundeepToor on Twitter

We love everything about this submission! Not only did they do an amazing job carving our logo but the added flowers gave this pumpkin some floral flair that makes it so unique! Alongside the sweeping camera shots, spooky music and accompanying set design, there’s no surprise why it stole our hearts. Even without the added embellishments, this pumpkin is worthy of being placed on the doorstep of any home!

Congratulations on winning our competition, and a big thank you to everyone for entering! We saw so many amazing submissions – some more logos, classic scary faces and even an artistic rendition using the gorgeous orange leaves. We hope you enjoyed this competition as much as we did. Keep an eye out for our next one coming soon!

Stay on trend with our latest blogs

Spring Garden 2022 Colour Trends

Every year Pantone release their colour trend report for the following year and 2022 is shaping up to be a fun one. One inspired by London Fashion week, interior design and current events. 2022 is injecting heaps of fun and creativity into our lives. After another year of trying to get back to normal we have been focussing on our own space. Making homes more comfortable than ever and gardens our new oasis. The new Spring/Summer 2022 palette promotes simplicity, fun and a connection to nature. The main highlights are airy pastels, bright bursts of colours and earth tones.

“Our use of colour is connected to the cultural mood. As we explore a new future, we are looking for opportunities to do something completely different […] Colours that celebrate our desire to break the boundaries satisfy our fervent need for the playful creativity and unconstrained visual expression we are seeking as we enter into this time.”

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute

The Colours

The Spring/Summer 2022 colours and descriptors are:

  • 14-5713 Cascade, “connected to cleansing waters, cools and refreshes”
  • 16-1349 Coral Rose, a floral tone “whose energizing presence brings a sense of excitement”
  • 18-4143 Super Sonic, “electric in intensity”
  • 12-0825 Popcorn, a bright and cheery yellow hue that “radiates warmth to all who embrace it”
  • 13-2004 Potpourri, a “light hearted and carefree fresh pastel pink”
  • 17-1928 Bubble gum, “sends a message of playfulness and positivity”
  • 18-1160 Sudan Brown, a “naturally rich earth-baked brown tied to the great outdoors”
  • 15-0549 Fragile Sprout, “sharp and acidic, visually arresting”
  • 14-3612 Orchid Bloom, “reminiscent of our heightened love for nature’s florals”
  • 18-1307 Coffee Quartz, a “flavourful brown that touches on both the basic and the glamorous”

What plants to grow

Want to get ahead of the rest? Here’s a list of plants that will make your spring garden on trend and evoke the playful and unconstrained spirit that Pantone intend to bring!

Tulip Pink Clearwater

13-2004 Potpourri, a “light hearted and carefree fresh pastel pink”

Lily Orange Ton

16-1349 Coral Rose, a floral tone “whose energizing presence brings a sense of excitement”

Narcissi Tete-a-Tete

12-0825 Popcorn, a bright and cheery yellow hue that “radiates warmth to all who embrace it”

Iris Latifolia Collection

18-4143 Super Sonic, “electric in intensity”

Crocus Striped Beauty

14-3612 Orchid Bloom, “reminiscent of our heightened love for nature’s florals”

Keep reading to stay on top of gardening trends

The Best Cut Flowers for Spring

Growing your own cut flowers is an easy way to create an outstanding seasonal bouquet! Not only will this save you money, but your home will be filled with glorious colours and fragrances.

These plants produce the best cut flowers throughout spring, providing you with an outstanding seasonal bouquet. Discover which blooms will look the best in your favourite vase below!


Spring bulbs are among some of the most popular cut flowers for the season! From classics like daffodils to essentials like lilies and tulips, there’s no limit to what you can create with these beauties.

Tulip Lily Flowering Mixed
Double Daffodil Collection
Lily Short Stemmed Collection


Perennials are perfect for spring bouquet designs. Their ability to reappear every year makes them an exceptional money-saving option to grow in your gardens. They also look incredible in flower arrangements, making them some of the best cut flowers that grow throughout the season.

Cyclamen Hederifolium
Giant Flowering Snowdrops
Helleborus Orientalis mixed


These spring-flowering shrubs have the bonus of introducing a large number of flowers into the garden throughout the season, as well as growing perfect plants to add to any bouquet.

Magnolia Collection
Pittosporum tenuifolium Irene Paterson
Azalea japonica Diamond Pink


Clematis climbers are among some of the few climbers that flower in the spring season, but when they do, they bring their A-game! Their attractive flowers and floral fragrance make perfect cut flowers. They also look incredible when grown up trellises and pergolas, providing months of interest to the garden.

Clematis armandii Collection
Clematis Montana Alba
Clematis urophylla ‘Winter Beauty’

Read more from J. Parker’s

How to properly move your garden plants

There are many reasons as to why someone would need to move a plant from one place to another. Maybe you’re moving house and want your garden plants to relocate with you. Or maybe your plant just isn’t flourishing in a certain part of the garden and you want to give it a fighting chance. Moving a plant is an easy process so long as you take your time and treat your plants gently.

If this move isn’t hindered by a timeframe the best time to move plants would be during early spring when the soil is not that warm. Trees, shrubs and roses should be left until late autumn when the plants are not fully grown. Cooler conditions are best suited as they do not stress the plant as much as heat will.

Step 1: Identify the space

The best place to start is by identifying the space you want to locate the plant. The roots being out of soil for too long can be detrimental so make sure the move is done quickly and gently. When it comes to deciduous shrub or rose bushes, prune the top half back to make the move easier.

Step 2: How to move your plant

This part requires more patience and a light hand. Grab your spade and gently loosen the soil around the roots and plant. When inserting the spade make sure that it is done away from the base of the plant to avoid damage. If you find you’re not reaching the roots don’t be afraid to keep digging. It is inevitable that roots will be broken but just try to expose as much as you can before you start lifting.

Step 3: Removing your plant from soil

This part is a two handed job and if you need help then that is encouraged. Hold the top part of the plant with one hand and hold the roots with your other. Gently pull to see if the roots come away from the soil easily. If there is resistance, continue to remove soil until the plant can be lifted.

Step 4: Replant your plant

Take this time to prune away any dead or broken shoots. Carry the plant to its new planting hole – if you’re not immediately transporting the plant be sure the roots do not dry out and wrap them. It goes without saying but if you are moving from one place to another leave the garden for last. Lower the plant into its new home, check that there is enough room for the roots and avoid squashing them to make sure they fit.

Step 5: Watch your plant flourish

​Not sure how to tell your plant is the same depth as before? Part of the stem should be lighter than the rest, indicating the soil level. Water well, repeating during dry spells and pay particular attention during spring and summer!

Daffodils: A Bright & Colourful History

Daffodil history blog header

Daffodils are THE spring bloom. Their bright yellow trumpets are recognisable across the globe, and no spring display is complete without them.

As you can imagine, they have always been a staple seasonal flower. The rich daffodil’s history even precedes the Romans, dating back to 300 BC. These powerful perennials can withstand harsh winters, are pest resistant, and look fabulous in any arrangement. But where did their long reign begin?

We’ve delved into the humble daffodil’s history, opening the historical window to one of the most popular bulbous blooms in the UK.

Echo & Narcissus

Echo and Narcissus at the pond

Daffodils, or Narcissi, indeed have a rich history. What’s most known is the Greek mythological story of ‘Narcissus and Echo’.

(Left Image: Echo and Narcissus by John Waterhouse)

As the legend recalls, Echo was a mountain nymph and had been recognised by the Greek gods for her natural beauty. Zeus particularly found her useful in distracting his wife, Hera, when participating in other affairs. Echo would talk to Hera for hours, giving Zeus plenty of time to escape from her watchful eye.

Eventually, Hera caught on to the Nymphs role in her husband’s activities. Enraged, the goddess cursed Echo to never again have a voice of her own, only able to repeat the last words that were spoken to her.

Echo sculpture, Labyrinth Park
Echo in the Grove of Narcissus & Echo. Labyrinth Park, Barcelona.

Distraught, Echo wandered into the outskirts of ancient Boeotia, where she set eyes on the handsome Narcissus. Narcissus was considered impossibly attractive and is believed to be one among the most beautiful mortals, with a face that rivalled the likes of Hyacinthus and Adonis.

Although Narcissus was blessed with otherworldly good looks, it came at a price. A blind seer prophesied that he could only remain attractive if he stayed humble. He was told to never look upon his reflection, lest he falls into despair.

As Echo observed Narcissus, she fell deeper and deeper in love. She longed to call to him but could only wait till Narcissus spoke. He cruelly rejected Echo when she eventually emerged and ran away from her into the depths of the forest.

“Good-bye, my love!”

Said Narcissus to his reflection, and in turn, Echo to Narcissus.
a daffodil history

Eventually, Narcissus was overcome by thirst and stopped by a pond. He laid on his stomach and leaned over the edge of the water, only to be met with the eyes of the most beautiful man he had ever seen.

Overcome with emotion, Narcissus tried to kiss the reflection but was met with water. Eventually, he realised the reflection was his own and fell into a deep depression. As Echo watched over him, Narcissus began to waste away until he, eventually, felt himself fading to death. His last words were to his reflection; “Goodbye, my love!” he cried. “Goodbye, my love.” Echo whimpered in return.

Nymphs searched for his body, but in its place, they found a beautiful flower. Its head was white, its trumpet orange, and henceforth it was known as the Narcissus.

Echo, distraught over the loss of her love, retreated to her mountain cave until she wasted away. Eventually, all that remained was her voice, which was doomed to repeat only the last words of whoever entered.

A European Favourite Since 300BC

The name ‘Daffodil’ actually comes from the Dutch phrase ‘affo dyle’. Translated, this means ‘that which comes early’.

Daffodils were cultivated in gardens from as early as 300 BC. Historically, these blooms could be found in areas of Europe, North America and North Africa. This heritage makes them incredibly hardy, surviving harsh weather conditions that you’d find in the early spring months.

The first recorded mention of daffodils was written by a Greek botanist in his book famously titled ‘Enquiry into Plants’.

Daffodils Were Smuggled into Britain

Romans brought daffodils to Britain

Throughout the daffodil’s history, different cultures would share their knowledge of the seasonal bulb. In fact, Roman soldiers were the first to introduce Britain to daffodils.

They believed that the sap of the flower had healing powers. We now know that daffodil sap does the opposite of heal and can cause skin irritation.

Britain is home to just one native daffodil out of thousands of cultivars. Commonly known as the Lent Lily, this classic bloom produces thin yellow flowers that are centred around a large and in charge trumpet.

However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that we started to see gardeners take advantage of the humble daffodil. The movement started in Cornwall, but the conditions were slightly too warm for the daffodil bulbs. Farmers soon realised that they had better results when bulbs were grown up north. Subsequently, daffodil farmers started to buy lands between Lincolnshire and Scotland to take advantage of the colder climates.

According to Heritage Calling, over 90% of Daffodils are grown and sold in Britain to this day.

William Wordsworth – The Daffodil Love Letter

William Wordsworth's Cottage in Cumbria in relation to daffodils history

Inspired by carpets of daffodils when strolling by Ullswater in the Lake District, William Wordsworth penned these immortal words.

(Left Image: Dove Cottage, Grasmere. Wordsworth’s home in Cumbria.)

FOR oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the DAFFODILS.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth

The Lake District is home to carpets of native daffs. These blooms can be seen in woodlands and around lakes through the early spring months. In 2003, the Grasmere community built the St. Oswald Daffodil Garden to raise money for the church. This garden is inspired by Wordsworth’s poem, and excerpts can be seen around the grounds.

Sold on the Streets of London

Daffodils history and the london flower girls
Pictured: A young girl selling daffodils in London. 
Photo Credit: Coram in the care of the Foundling Museum

The early 19th century saw the start of the bloom boom. Extravagant flowers and plants were too expensive for the average person, and people profited off selling common crops that could be found in nearby parks and woodlands.

Children as young as ten years old could be found selling seasonal flowers on the streets of London to walkers-by. For many, selling flowers was their sole source of income and could only bring home around 1s 6d (one shilling and sixpence). In today’s money, this is worth around £5.86. However, this wasn’t enough to live on, and many went without food, water, or shelter.

Some of their favourite flowers to sell were the cheapest and most commonly found. This included daffodils, violets, pansies, and many more. You can read more about The Flower Girls of London, here.

The Symbol of Spring

daffodils history as a spring symbol

Even when you take the daffodil’s history out of the equation, these flowers are still considered a spring favourite across the globe.

They’re even described as the ‘herald of spring’, as they’re one of the first flowers to bloom after winter.

In fact, Daffodils aren’t just a spokesperson for spring. In many cultures, these seasonal blooms can represent a myriad of connotations. For example, in China, daffodils represent good fortune and positive events, which is why it’s used as a symbol for Chinese New Year.

Throughout Europe’s medieval period, daffodils had a more sinister interpretation. It was believed that if you gazed upon a drooping daffodil, it signified your impending death. Cheerful, right

Luckily this is no longer believed, and the humble daffodil remains a symbol of good health, fortune, and happiness.

buy daffodil bulbs from our website

Read more from J. Parker’s

how to plant daffodil bulbs blog
new daffodils and narcissus for spring 2021 blog

Christmas Gift Inspiration

Heads up – Christmas is just 76 sleeps away! Although it sounds like more than enough time to plan your pressies, its also only 11 Fridays till the big day. Seems a lot sooner now, right?

Thankfully that still gives us ample time to grow our indoor flowering bulbs. These beautiful blooms are often found in spring gardens, but with some persuading they can appear just in time for Secret Santa!


Amaryllis are well-known for their indoor growing abilities. Very few indoor bulb species can grow to the height and volume of amaryllis, making them an impressive gift to any floral enthusiast.

Even if their blooms don’t appear in time for Christmas, the promise of a single bud will be more than enough to keep your garden-fiend friends entertained for months.

Shop our selection of indoor-flowering Amaryllis here.


The ever impressive indoor daffodil can be enjoyed even earlier than your average spring-flowering outdoor varieties!

From the most notable Narcissi Paperwhite to other classic blooms, your friends and family can now enjoy the cheerful colour of the reliable daffodil in the thick of winter.

Browse our range of indoor flowering daffodils here.


Hyacinths are classic indoor flowering bulbs. These fragrant and showy blooms make for an impressive display, whether in the spring or forced in winter.

That being said, they’re not the plant to give those who have pets as they can cause some harm if ingested. However, they are still perfectly safe to grow inside, giving you months of enjoyment.

Shop our entire selection of indoor flowering Hyacinths here.

Read more from J. Parker’s

Sticky Toffee Pear Pudding

As the weather gets cooler, looking towards the freezer is no longer a desirable desert option! Now is the time for crumbles, puddings and warm custard on an autumn evening. The new star of your dinner time is our Sticky Toffee Pear Pudding, a deliciously sweet treat that you won’t want to share!

Servings: 8 – 10 slices

You will need:

  • Peeler
  • Mixing bowl
  • Medium pot
  • 20 x 30cm Baking tin


For poaching:

  • 8 small pears (we like to use Conference Pears)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • zest of lemon

For sponge:

  • 180g self-raising flour
  • 125ml milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp golden syrup
  • 2 large eggs

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes


  1. Poach pears – Peel and cut the bottom off each of your pears and discard the pips and scraps. In a pot boil 600ml of water and add the sugar, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves and lemon zest. Add the pears once the mixture has reached boiling point. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved and cover for 15 minutes or until pears are soft. Save the liquid!
  2. Make the sponge – Beat together the butter and sugar until they form a soft paste. First add the rest of your wet ingredients (milk, vanilla extract, golden syrup, eggs). Once incorporated add the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon) and mix until smooth.
  3. Add the pears – This part is up to you! You can either add your pears to the mixture and then pour into the pan. Or, pour your batter first and then add the pears if you want to make your pudding look fancy.
  4. Bake the pudding – Bake for 35-40 mins at gas mark 4 until the cake is cooked through. Use a skewer to check if the centre is cooked, if it comes out wet then continue to bake for another 10 minutes.
  5. Make your sauce – While your cake cools, bring the poaching liquid to a boil and then simmer until reduced to a glossy syrup.
  6. Enjoy – You can either cover the sponge with your delicious sauce or save it for later for serving alongside custard for a warm, autumnal treat!

Take a peek at our October treats:

Pumpkin Carving Competition

Spooky season has finally arrived! Before you break out the carols and Christmas lights, let’s enjoy October for what it is. A time for tricks, treats and a brand new competition! For this October we’re going all the way with the spooky vibes and want you to join us. In between planting the rest of your autumn bulbs and preparing the garden for a scare or two, get some newspaper, a sharp knife and your little orange friend. Pumpkin carving is an incredibly fun activity for everyone that encourages creativity, garners admiration from neighbours and even uses those baking skills!

How to enter

Submit photos of your perfectly carved pumpkin! Feel free to let your creativity flow and carve your pumpkin however you want (bonus points if you do carve our logo!). We’ll be joining in the fun as well so stay tuned to our TikTok page to see our very own creation!

  • FACEBOOK – Like our Facebook page and share your image to our page with the caption ‘Pumpkin Carving Competition entry’.
  • TWITTER – Follow us at @JParkersBulbs and tag us in your photos with the hashtag #parkerspumpkin
  • INSTAGRAM – Follow us at @jparkersbulbs and tag us in your photos with the hashtag #parkerspumpkin
  • EMAIL – Email us at [email protected] (Entries must be under 5mb – please include your name and postcode)

What you win

The winner of our Pumpkin Carving Competition will win a special Dark Flowering Bulbs collection that is not on our website! This prize will be a handpicked selection of dark flowering spring bulbs. It’ll be all of your spring favourites, Tulips, Iris and Hyacinth and more in beautifully deep colours, perfect to bring some dramatic flair to your spring and summer garden.

When does the pumpkin carving competition end?

The competition ends 24th October. The winner will be announced the following Monday with an accompanying blog post.

Terms and Conditions

  • All entries which meet the criteria outlined below will be considered for the prize of a Dark Flowering Bulbs collection.
  • All entries using photographs must be original images, taken/produced by the entrant.
  • Entrants agree that their names may or may not be published with their entry.
  • One winner will a Dark Flowering Bulbs collection sold by J Parker’s. There is no substitution for this prize and it cannot be exchanged for cash.
  • All varieties, colours and sizes of pumpkins will be considered.
  • Send your entries by email to [email protected] (email under 5mb) or you can share it with us on our social media pages.
  • All entries will be considered, and you can enter as many times as you wish. Competition closes 24th October 2021. Winner will be notified by email on 25th October 2021.

Stay up to date with the latest J Parker’s news:

The Perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe

This pumpkin pie recipe will really knock the socks off of your dinnertime guests this autumn!

An american classic that fulfills our cinnamon dreams in one beautiful triangle slice… Make your very own today by following this easy recipe.

Servings: Feeds 8/16 (depending on how generously you slice it!)

Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes

You will need:

  • Large pan
  • Colander
  • 22cm tart tin
  • Baking parchment
  • Baking beans
  • Sieve
  • Mixing bowl


  • 450g pumpkin, deseeded, peeled, and cut into chunks
  • 350g sweet shortcrust pastry
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 25g butter
  • 175ml milk
  • 1 tbsp Icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Plain flour for dusting surfaces


  1. Cook the pumpkin – In your large saucepan, add your pumpkin chunks and cover them with water. Cook on a low/medium heat until tender and drain.  
  2. Prep the base – Pre-heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Roll out your pastry on a lightly flour-dusted surface and line your tin with the pastry. Pop it into the fridge for 15 minutes, then cover it with parchment and baking beans and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes. Take the parchment and beans off the pastry and then cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the pastry is a golden colour.
  3. Make the Filling – As you wait for your pastry to cool down, now is the perfect time to prep your filling. Increase the ovens temp to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. In a bowl, combine your sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half your cinnamon. Puree the pumpkin in a food processor, and add it to the bowl once creamy. Then add your eggs, butter, and milk, and combine.
  4. Bake the pie! – Pour your mix into the pastry shell and cook for 10 minutes in the oven. Take it out and reduce the temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put your pie back in the oven and let it cook for 30-40 minutes so the filling can set.
  5. Enjoy – Remove your pie from its tin and set aside to cool. Mix your icing sugar with the rest of the cinnamon and sieve it over the pie. Enjoy cold with some whipped cream!


How to take this recipe to the next level

  • If you’re not a fan of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream is a perfect alternative when serving.

Liked this pumpkin pie recipe? Discover more tasty recipes on our blog!

What are hardy plants?

What are hardy plants? There are so many different terminologies used in the word of gardening it can be hard to keep up. From learning the difference between perennial and biennial. Or deciduous and ericaceous, there is a lot to remember. So don’t worry we’ll make this as simple as possible…

What does ‘hardy’ mean?

In the world of gardening the word ‘hardy’ is used to describe a plant that can stand up to low temperatures and survive. According to the Hardy Plant Society, there are several levels of hardiness that depend on the temperature level: a hardy plant can survive a temperature of -15°C compared to a frost hardy plant that can survive a temperature of -5°C. On the other end of the spectrum we have half hardy plants that can only stand temperatures as low as 0°C and tender plants which will not survive temperatures below +5°C.

In the United Kingdom on average the winter temperature drops no lower than -11°C meaning that hardy plants do well here. However, there is no guarantee that your plants will survive. The changeability of the weather is something to make note of. One minute your plants will be covered in frost and then basking in sunlight.

What are some examples of hardy plants?

There isn’t just one particular type of hardy plant, they come in all sorts of varieties. Here are some of our hardy plants:

Iris Latifolia

Agapanthus Twister

Euphorbia Blackbird

Catananche caerulea Major

Digitalis Hardy Apricot Beauty

Read our latest blogs below: