RHS Award-Winning Bulbs to Inspire your Garden

The RHS Award of Garden Merit is given to plants that have been tested and proven to be good garden worthy plants through a number of factors including: flowering performance, strength and disease and pest resistance.

We have a huge selection of award-winning bulbs and in our blog this week, we will be going through a selection of award-winning varieties, from Tulips to Alliums and Daffodils.

Popular Award-Winning Varieties

Alliums (Ornamental Onions)

A pollinator favourite that deserves a place in any garden. Easy to grow and undemanding, these late spring/early summer flowers have a great range of colours, shapes and height, so there’s an Allium for any garden.

Planting time: September-December 🏡

Flowering time: May – June 🌸

Position: Full Sun/Partial Shade

Allium Sphaerocephalon (Drumsticks)

A truly unique Allium. This little showstopper was a popular choice at the Tatton Park Flower Show this year. With two toned purple and crimson blooms, these vibrant flower heads are great for the garden and as a cut flower for the home.  Click here to view online.

Allium Gladiator

Bring some glorious height to your beds and borders with these big clustered blooms. Their rosy-purple flowers form a large cloud-like ball of colour that can make a great feature in the summer border. Click here to view online.

Allium Mount everest

A stunning pure white variety. ‘Mount Everest’ towers above the rest with its enormous compact clusters of star-shaped flowers. Great for the back of the border. They will also bring wildlife flocking to the summer garden! Click here to view online.

Crocus

One of the first signs of spring. Crocus blooms bring the first bit of warmth to the new year, and autumn-flowering Crocus brighten up the garden once the summer blooms begin to fade.

Planting time: September – December 🏡

Flowering time: February – March 🌸

Position: Full Sun/Partial Shade/Shade

Crocus Sternbergia Lutea

Fill your garden with waves of rich golden colour with Crocus Sternbergia Lutea. Blooming with distinct, golden cup-shaped blooms, these flowers are perfect for naturalising in the garden for a carpet of golden colour. Click here to view online.

Crocus Dorothy

These cheery golden flowers will bring the sunshine to the late winter garden. A herald of the brighter days to come with the spring season. Perfect for naturalising in rockeries, borders or containers. Click here to view online.

Crocus Tricolor

A stunning tri-coloured Crocus. With lilac petals surrounding a white base and pretty yellow centre, these compact ‘Snow Crocus’ flowers will brighten up the winter garden when little else is in flower. Click here to view online.

Daffodil/Narcissi

Narcissi, a firm favourite of the British spring garden. With a wide range of shapes, colours and sizes, they are perfect for beds, borders and containers in gardens, big or small.

Planting time: September-December 🏡

Flowering time: March – April 🌸

Position: Full Sun/Partial Shade

Daffodil Carlton

Bring some modern beauty to the spring garden with Daffodil Carlton. With large, two-toned yellow flowers, they make a very effective addition to the border or in pots on the patio. Easy to grow and produce a lovely sweet scent. Click here to view online.

Daffodil Cheerfulness Mixed

Create a garden bursting with spring cheer with our combination of Cheerfulness Daffodils. With showy blooms and a sweet fragrance, these flowers will make a real impact in the border. They also make excellent, scented cut flowers. Click here to view online.

Narcissi Elka

These little award winners showcase long trumpets of creamy pale lemon flowers. A perfect compact variety for mass planting in rockeries or growing pots and containers. A reliable Narcissi for brightening up the spring garden. Click here to view online.

Hyacinths

Richly coloured and heavily fragrant, Hyacinths are beautiful spring-flowering bulbs that bloom in a rainbow of delightfully vibrant shades.

Planting time: September-December 🏡

Flowering time: March – April 🌸

Position: Full Sun/Partial Shade

Hyacinth Delft Blue

A beautiful highly fragrant bloomer with a unique blue hue. Their large star-shaped blooms are the perfect choice for planting in patio pots, window boxes or in the garden border. You can even force them indoors as a scented Christmas feature. Click here to view online.

Hyacinth Jan Bos

With its distinct reddish pink colour, Jan Bos is a very cheerful and impressive sight. These dense, starry dark pink florets are best planted where you will be able to enjoy their perfume daily, either near a door way or along a path. Click here to view online.

Hyacinth Miss Saigon

Bring a cheerful sight to the dull days of winter with these vibrant and rich purple blooms. Easy to grow and brightly coloured, these pretty purple flowers are great for boasting in the garden border or as an indoor display within the home. Click here to view online.

Tulips

A true symbol of spring. No matter what the colour, Tulips will brighten up your garden with weeks of cheerful colour, patterns and shapes.

Planting time: September-December 🏡

Flowering time: March – May 🌷

Position: Full Sun/Partial Shade

Tulip Calypso (Greigii)

Create a mesmerising sight in the spring garden with the bright and beautiful pink and orange shades of Tulip Calypso. This compact variety packs a punch through their large and showy flower heads. Easy to grow and will come back each year. Click here to view online.

Tulip Kingsblood

Add some romance to the garden with these cherry red flowers. This single late Tulip is ideal for a dramatic display of colour in the border and looks amazing as part of a cut flower display for the home. Click here to view online.

Tulip lambada

This Tulip is sure to bring a blaze of colour to the spring border. ‘Lambada’ showcases velvety coral red petals with fiery yellow-orange edges with a fringed detail, which are a real eye-catcher in the garden. A vibrant single late Tulip. Click here to view online.

Check out our spring-flowering bulb planting tutorials here…

How to Plant Greigii Tulips: Spring Garden Guide
How to Plant Greigii Tulips: Spring Garden Guide
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Trends from the Tatton Park Flower Show 2019

The Tatton Park Flower Show took place last week, and we sent a few members of the J Parkers team to scope out the top trends, flowers and planting companions at the 2019 show.

So let’s have a look at some of the gardening styles at this year’s show that you can try out in your own garden.

Popular Flowers

Here are 3 of the most popular and showcased flowers on display around the show and the show gardens.

Verbena Bonariensis

Verbena Bonariensis featured in ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar Garden’ by Simon Tetlow

Verbena Bonariensis were dotted around almost every show garden on display this year. Whether as a background plant for a wild border or used as a centerpiece plant with their long stems, these beautiful purple flowers were definitely in the spotlight this year.  A fantastic summer border plant with good pest resistance.

Echinacea

Echinacea featured in ‘The Mindful Garden’ by Ki Tong.

One of our favourite summer flowering perennials were heavily featured this year, the Echinacea. Also known as Coneflowers, they will flower from summer through late autumn, often still in flower as late as October. They make a bright and bold addition to the modern garden, look larger than life at the back of the border, and are a great way to attract butterflies and bees to the UK garden.

Alliums

Allium Drumsticks featured in ‘The Phytosanctuary Garden’.

The beautiful giant blooms of Alliums took a center stage this year. Large varieties were spread all around the show, whilst smaller flowering varieties such as Allium Drumsticks and the half-spherical blooms of Allium Miami were featured in this year’s show gardens. An easy to grow and versatile range of plants that can work in any garden.

Garden Trends

 1. Pollinator Pals (Alliums,Achillea, Agapanthus)

Alliums, Achillea and Agapanthus were strongly featured in the show gardens at this year’s show. The show had a strong theme of pollinator-friendly planting and when it comes to looking after wildlife in the garden, these varieties are well-loved by bees and other pollinators.

Agapanthus are great showy plants with exotic looking flowers, Alliums are easy to grow, stylish plants with tall stems and large pom pom heads of flowers and Achillea are a stunning flowering herbaceous perennial with each flower head containing of hundreds of long lasting, tiny flowers. So, it’s easy to see how these beautiful summer contenders have been a popular choice this year.

Click here to view Alliums

Click here to view Achillea

Click here to view Agapanthus

2. Multi-layered Borders

Another big trend seen around the show gardens is creating layers of a variety of border plants. Ass seen with the brightly colours florals in the ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite Garden’, the subtle contrasting tones in ‘The Perfumer’s Garden’ and the wild themed grassy border in the ‘Baroque Garden’.

Creating a layered garden soothes the eye while enhancing other aspects of the garden. Planting a garden in layers considers both vertical and horizontal eye appeal but also the aspect in which we view the area and seasonal interest. Planting a garden in layers will ensure that the highest plants are at the farthest eye point of the garden with medium sized in the middle and the lowest growing at the front.

Repeated patterns, colours, forms and textures throughout a border can create unique patterns in the landscape.

 

3. Harmonising Hostas

A key trend that was prominent in almost every show garden at this year event was Hostas.

Originating from China and Japan, Hostas are one of the best perennials for shade in the garden, grown in either pots, containers or borders. Renowned for the amazing foliage they produce and have become a common addition for the modern garden designer. Hosta plants are a great perennial plant which is often chosen for their attractive shaped leaves and summer flowers.

Hostas are ideal to add texture and colour to a garden planting scheme. They can be used to complement other plants by adding a contrasting look and style that enhances the overall interest and aesthetic of the scheme. There is a huge choice of varieties available to buy, covering all shapes, colours, and sizes for all tastes.

Click here to view our Hosta range online

4. Glorious Grasses

Ornamental grasses made their presence known in many show gardens this year. A range of herbaceous perennials and grasses were featured in ‘The Mindful Garden’,  such as Festuca. The silvery needles of Festuca glauca were featured in the monochrome palette of the ‘Every Cloud has a Silver Lining Garden’, and long and varied grasses were displayed in the ‘Trail of Thoughts Garden’ to represent the fading of memory with colourful flowers giving way to a grassier and more muted landscape.

Grasses have long since proved their value in the landscape, moving from what was once considered a craze to one that is a solid cultural shift. As gardens have shifted toward lower maintenance and nature friendly, ornamental grasses have fit every bill that today’s gardener demands — while providing the contrast, texture and form that designers crave.

Click here to view our Grasses and Bamboo

5. Heavenly Hydrangeas

Who can forget the ever-changing blooms of hydrangeas. The use of beautiful fragrant shrubs were used for structure in a variety of the show gardens this year. The once overlooked hydrangeas of the past are now the trend setting plants of today.

With immense flower heads, Hydrangeas flaunt an old-fashioned charm that is hard to resist. Unrivaled in the shrub world for beautiful flowers, they are easy to cultivate, tolerate almost any soil, and produce abundant blooms. Hydrangeas are excellent for a range of garden sites from group plantings to shrub borders to containers.

Click here to view our Hydrangea range

 

July Plant of the Month: Geums

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.

Planting

Yhere 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.

Companion Plants

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.

Click here to shop Geums now

June Plant of the Month: Alliums

Easy to grow and versatile enough to be able to be grown in borders, flower beds, patio pots and containers, Alliums they really will pack a punch and are a must have impact plant for spring and summer.

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.

Why we love them

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, which will add a zing to the front of a low border or edge.

Beyond the garden, Allium flowers and seed pods are excellent additions to cut flower displays. If you’re feeling creative, they can also be dried and sprayed to use as festive decorations.

Bee Friendly

Over the last few years we’ve been running a Spring flowering Bulb Competition (see details for this year’s competition here) and as these past entries show, (above) Alliums are highly attractive to bees! Great for the wildlife friendly gardener.

Where and when to Plant

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.

Flowers and Foliage

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, or you could plant alongside Ornithogalum for a contrasting display as illustrated below.

Thanks to their increasing popularity, Allium varieties such as Purple Sensation, the huge Globemaster variety, and Sphaerocephalon – more commonly known as The Drumstick Allium – have become staples for many gardeners.

Click here to browse our full range of Alliums, delivered from mid-August onwards.

Gardener Favourites: Alliums

Allium Violet Beauty

Allium Violet Beauty

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.

Bee-on-alliums-from-customers

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.

Planting

POTM January Alliums

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

Allium Superglobe Mixed
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.

 Unusual Alliums

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.

Allium Purple Sensation

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.

Click here to view our full range of Alliums!