As spring approaches, it’s time to head outdoors and prepare your garden for summer blooms. Flowers categorised as ‘summer bulbs’ are flowering bulbs which grow and bloom during the summer, and so they are planted at the start of spring. Summer bulbs need warm weather and warm soil; a rule of thumb to remember is if it’s time for your tomatoes to go outdoors, it is also time to plant your summer bulb.
J.Parker’s Spring 2020 Collection is available to browse and purchase online NOW! So why not take a look our selection below of some beautiful summer bulbs, and kick-start the inspiration for your summer garden.
How to plant: Begonias planted in beds which are enriched with well rotted or leaf mould will make a fine show. They should be started in shallow boxes in light soil; the saucer like tubers should be planted very shallow with the hollow side up. As soon as any danger of frost is passed then they can be transferred to their position in the garden at least 30cm apart.
How to plant: Dahlia tubers can be planted 10cm deep in fertile well drained soil, outdoors in spring when the frost has disappeared. They prefer to be in a sunny location and spaced at approximately 45cm apart. In areas where there is extreme cold, dig up dahlias and store in a cool peat over the winter. Apply a high potash fertiliser every few weeks in summer and dead head when necessary.
How to plant: each lily bulb should be surrounded with a little sharp sand both under and above the bulb to keep slugs away and to ward off excessive wetness. As most liliums are stem rooting we strongly recommend you plant at 15cm deep. They give a much better display when planted in clumps of 3, 6 or 12 bulbs (45cm apart). Planting time is October through to April.
How to plant: plant gladioli corms about 10-15cm deep and about 10-15cm apart, in fertile/well drained soil. When planting in a heavy soil, place some sand underneath each corm to help with drainage. At Parkers we recommend planting Gladioli in groups at monthly intervals, starting early spring, to extend the flowering season for a display which lasts all summer long.
With the new year approaching we can look forward to warmer weather and new growth appearing in our gardens, and now is the perfect time to be thinking of your summer display. Summer-flowering bulbs add an injection of colour to any garden and make for eye-catching borders and displays. Whilst often planted out in spring, many bulbs are suited to being planted as early as February. Be one step ahead and take inspiration from our selection below of Must-Have Flowers for 2020!
Summer Flower Top-Picks:
Lilies add a touch of the exotic to the garden, and their large, brightly coloured heads are bound to attract the eye. These flowers are a striking addition to pots and borders and provide a beautiful scent. Planting time is December to April.
Begonias are extremely popular for their versatility and reliability. From hanging baskets and window boxes to borders and pots, these colourful favourites are a centerpiece in the garden. Planting time is from February onwards.
Gladioli are a classic flower which have added excitement to summer displays for generations. Available in an array of bright and bold colours, they are often referred to as the ‘sword lily’ for their blade-shaped foliage. Planting time is early March to May.
Eucomis descend from South Africa and have an unusual pineapple shape. Their long-lasting flowers and attractive foliage are an exotic feature point of borders, pots and flowerbeds. Planting time is from February, if into pots and containers.
The general rule for planting bulbs is to dig deeper than the obvious. The usual guide is two to three times the depth of the bulb itself, however you will do less harm by planting too deep than too shallow. The other general rule is that bulbs need good drainage. The best way to achieve this is to mix grit into the general area or container of planting.
Many summer bulbs are ideal for growing in patio containers, especially tender species. These can then be lifted in winter and stored.
Step by Step:
Planting in borders:
Dig a hole wide and deep enough for your bulbs. Most bulbs require planting in a hole two to three times their depth.
Place the bulbs in the hole with their shoot facing upwards. Space them at least twice the bulb’s own width apart.
Replace the soil and gently firm. Avoid treading on the soil as this can damage the bulbs.
Planting in containers:
Dig a hole three times the bub depth, and plant the bulbs one width apart.
Water bulbs once after planting then regularly when in active growth. Reduce watering once the leaves die down through the dormant season.
If you bring pots of hardy bulbs indoors for flowering, put them in a sheltered spot outside as soon as flowering is over.
Looking for more information on planting our bulbs? Below you can find a selection of videos from our resident plant expert Jeff Turner explaining how best to plant your Summer Bulbs.
No matter how small your garden, there’s always room for hanging baskets. There’s nothing quite as captivating in a garden as seeing a full, cascading hanging basket, overflowing with colour as the flowers catch the sun.
With the ever-growing range of varieties available, it can be a difficult decision choosing which plants are best for your garden. We have now made gardening quick and easy with our NEW Pre-Planted Hanging Basket Range. All you need to do is hang them up and water and sit back and enjoy the show!
If you’re still looking for a little floral guidance, here are our top ten basket plants for you to choose from.
A native to South and Central America, Africa and South Asia, Begonias are a flowering plant with around 1500 species. Since cultivation of these plants doesn’t require too much effort, they have become increasingly popular amongst gardeners. Their flowers are often showy with either vibrant coloured single or double blooms, which make for fantastic hanging basket additions for a display filled with frills and colour.
One of our newest additions to our range, Begonia Northern Lights Pink. This free-flowering double begonia blooms with hot pink petals and ruffled centres with shades of pink and yellow. These stunning flowers create a real eye-catching effect in summer hanging baskets.
Looking for an elegant twist for your basket displays? As a part of the popular Illumination series, this stunning variety produces delicate, double white blooms. This versatile variety can be planted in both sun and semi-shade for beautiful flowers all throughout the summer.
Million Bells are a dazzling little plant that features hundreds of small, bell-like flowers that resemble mini Petunias and are a must-have in the garden. Their versatile, trailing-like habit make them perfect for hanging baskets or even containers and ground cover.
This exceptionally long flowering variety is the perfect drought resistant plant for bringing character and interest all summer. Producing a mass of miniature, blue bell-shaped flowers, Million Bells Blue has a trailing like habit that makes an excellent addition to hanging baskets.
Brighten up your hanging baskets with the vibrant, miniature yellow bell-shaped blooms of Million Bells Yellow. With an exceptional long-flowering period and a strong drought resistance, these cheery flowers will create an avalanche of summer colour in the garden.
This summertime bloomer is an easy-to-grow, carefree plant. Lobelia is an attractive annual which produces a variety of long flowering blooms in a range of vibrant, beautiful colours from pinks, reds to cool blues, which make spectacular additions to hanging baskets.
Our Lobelia California Dark Blue Eye has a beautifully vigorous spreading habit and produces an abundance of large bright blue flowers all through summer. These plants make excellent hanging basket displays for a garden bursting with life.
This variety of Lobelia is a part of a sensational range bred by the famous breeder ‘Breier’ and showcases a beautiful abundance of large bright purple blooms. These flowers are ideal for hanging baskets as they naturally form a perfect mound with their even and neat flowering habit.
If you’re searching for long lasting blooms that perform even through the hottest days of summer, than look no further than the Verbena flower. This brilliant, drought resistant plant produces exquisite showy flower heads that appear in tight clusters of brightly coloured flowers along with vivid green foliage.
Winner of the RHS award of Garden Merit; Verbena Samira Peachproduces beautiful peach-pink flower heads that cluster to form a sphere that are perfect for planting in hanging baskets to bring a wave of warm coloured hues to the summer garden.
This series of fast-growing Verbena is a fantastic vigorous trailing plant and produces giant cardinal red and pure white flowers all throughout the summer months. These flowers are the ideal partners for hanging baskets for a fun summer display of patterned blooms.
Bright, bold and bursting with life, these excellent plants are a top choice for hanging baskets. Native to South America, the Petunia is an ornamental plant with showy trumpet-shaped flowers that is available in a variety of colours and shapes, double and single flowers, you are guaranteed to find the perfect fit for your garden displays.
Add a touch of drama to your hanging baskets this summer with our stunning Petunia Tumbelina Inga. These unique blooms burst with an abundance of deep red flowers with light pink edges. These fragrant flowers are superb when planted alone or along with a mix of different trailing varieties.
This new addition to our range is a prolific flowering variety and will bring warmth to the garden with their smooth golden caramel blooms that have soft shades of burnt orange with a brown center. Flowering all summer long, these beautiful blooms will provide months of enjoyment.
If you want an impressive big basket display, Trailing Begonias are the way forward. Trailing begonias are a vigorous plant which produce a profuse amount of delicate flowers with large outer petals and a tufted truffle centre. Their beautiful vibrant flowers are perfect for creating a flowing carpet of colour in your hanging baskets.
This vigorous Begonia produces an abundance of delicate soft pink blooms all through the summer months. They are highly tolerant to drought and heavy rain and fast growing, making a perfect addition to hanging baskets for a cascading mass of colour.
Bursting with a blaze of glorious colour, Begonia FirewingsOrange is the most vigorous and top performing of all the trailing Begonias. Their vivid orange flowers are guaranteed to bring the sunshine to the garden this summer with their avalanche of fiery, pendulous blooms.
The cascading varieties of Fuchsia have become immensely popular as they showcase beautiful, pendant-shaped flowers that are a delight to any garden. They are easy to maintain and are known for their high performance, so create a bold and beautiful avalanche of colour in your hanging baskets this summer.
These giant flowers create an impressive display with their beautiful double blooms. With their outer milky-white sepals and deep purple ruffled petals, Fuchsia Giant Deep Purple is the perfect plant for trailing along the edges of summer baskets for a colourful display.
Originating from Peru and Bolivia, this spreading Fuchsia variety produces vibrant, variegated green and pink foliage along with bright pink-red flowers. As an added bonus, their foliage gradually gets darker as the summer season progresses for added interest.
Beautiful Geraniums gently cascading over the side of summer baskets and planters are a marvelous sight. With their bright green foliage, vibrant colours and tumbling habit, they are an essential addition for creating the perfect hanging basket.
Often seen in Germany and Alpine Europe, this beautiful single flowering variety of Geranium produces a delicate avalanche of colour. This prolific flowering variety blooms with soft shades of light pink and are a superb addition to summer hanging baskets.
The pretty blooms of this Geranium variety are very tolerable of heat and wet conditions, that make the perfect partners for summer basket displays. Geranium Single Trailing Whiteblooms with a beautiful brilliant white shade with hot pink detailing on the inner petals.
A range filled with beautiful cascading dainty flowers; Bacopa, also known as Waterhyssop, is an ideal hanging basket addition for the summer due to their heat and drought resistant habit. Their beautiful soft pastel shades on their clustered blooms are the perfect free flowering staple for any basket display.
This trailing plant is a firm garden favourite due to their mass of single white flowers along with a rich golden leafed foliage. Our Bacopa Scopia Single Golden Leaf White will brighten up any summer garden for a reliable and heat tolerant cascading display of golden colour.
The stunning, pink star-shaped flowers of our Bacopa Scopia Double Pink are complimented beautifully by their yellow centers for an eye-catching pop of colour in any hanging basket. Their cascading habit performs beautifully in full sun for an elegant display of pastel colour.
Native to mexico, this herbaceous perennial bares an abundance of flowers and are a superb addition to hanging baskets to create a display of rich, lavish colour, which are certain to dazzle in the sunshine this summer.
This stunning Bidens Firelight produces daisy-like pink and white flowers on a bed of luscious ferns. Bejeweling the garden with their amazing bi-colour blooms, this easy to care for and abundant flowering plant is a true showstopper and an absolute-must for planting in hanging baskets.
These single daisy-like blooms showcase luminous white petals with bright yellow centers that are destined to bring the sunshine this summer. They have a compact, heavy flowering habit which makes them ideal for hanging basket displays, and they will bloom all throughout the summer months, from June through to October.
You can always choose the most popular plants for hanging baskets, but why not add stray in to the weird and wonderful by trying some more unusual plants to put in your garden this year?
This variety has sparked the interest of amateur gardeners as they are easy for beginners. Our Tumbling Tom Collection produces large, cherry sized, red and yellow fruit. Their superb trailing habit makes them perfect for hanging baskets.
If you’re looking to add a touch of drama to your hanging baskets, why not try our bold Petunia Back to Black? This stunning Petunia is as close to black as anything currently available. Create a stark contrast to the bright sunshine this summer with a basket full of these dark velvety petals.
Looking for something a little more wild this summer, why not fill a hanging basket full of foliage? Our collection of Evergreen Foliage Plants is the perfect choice for adding a pop of colour all-year-round in hanging baskets displays.
A favourite of gardeners for their low maintenance and highly rewarding growth. Strawberry Cambridge Favourite is a resilient mid-season variety. They are perfect to grow in limited space and produce a heavy crop of delicious sweet fruit.
Question: How do i plant up a hanging basket?
Here is a set of easy steps to get you started on creating your hanging baskets in time for summer.
STEP 1: Line your basket to help maintain moisture and stop the compost from falling out (plastic coating, sphagnum moss, coco fibre, felt etc..)
STEP 2: Add a water-saving gel and slow-release plant food to help keep the plants moist and nourished throughout the season.
STEP 3:Around the sides of the basket, gently push the roots of trailing plants through the basket liner and firm them in to the compost. Repeat this all the way around the basket and add a little more compost.
STEP 4: Arrange the remaining plants in the top of the basket (one in the middle and the rest around the edge).
STEP 5: Water plants thoroughly.
STEP 6: Hang the basket to a bracket using the chains.
AFTERCARE: Water daily. Water twice daily during the height of summer.
How-to Planting Tutorials
Planting up a hanging basket is not as daunting as you may think. Here are a handy selection of our video guides to help you create your very own stunning hanging basket displays for your garden!
With the winter months coming to an end and spring on the horizon, you may well look to the garden and start plotting another year of beautiful borders and overflowing hanging baskets.
In recent years, Begonias have soared in popularity for their versatility and reliability. These colourful favourites will solve all your summer garden needs, from hanging baskets and window boxes to borders and pots. With such a shining reputation, its an easy choice to make but you may be wondering which variety is for you.
This week we’ll help you get a head start on that summer planning with our comprehensive guide to Begonias.
Although it has been theorised that Begonias have been around for thousands of years, the plants first got their name in 1690. The renowned botanist Charles Plumier named the plant after his colleague and friend Michael Bégon, a fellow plant collector.
Native to the slopes of the Andes, tuberous Begonia thrived naturally in the cool mountain temperatures and moist shade of the Amazon rainforest. Hundreds of years of propagation and hybridisation has given us the larger, more colourful and diverse Begonia. Nowadays we are spoilt for choice, with everything from giant, double flowering show-stoppers to unusual, fringed favourites.
Double Flowering – Ruffled, double flower heads. Clusters of brightly-coloured, delicate petals create a cheerful rainbow of colour on a bed of attractive green foliage.
Cascading and Splendide– This range includes our cascading, exhibition size cascading and Splendide, which will create a truly graceful display. Trailing double begonias with a graceful, trailing habit, perfect for hanging baskets, large pots on the patio. The Giant Cascading Begonias produce an avalanche of large double blooms which can reach up to 15cm across. Our Splendide variety boasts large, double flowered blooms and a vigorous cascading habit.
Non-Stop – As the name suggests, these beautiful Begonias will keep producing endless flowers throughout summer, making them a premium choice for your garden displays. These summer flowering plants are ideal for pots, bedding, containers and window boxes where the almost endless addition of flowers will be hard to miss.
Fragrant Odorata– A range of premium cascading begonias in elegant shades of pink, red and white with the added bonus of a very pleasant fragrance.
Multiflora– A cheerful selection of low-growing, bold, brightly-coloured flowers with lovely olive green foliage. These lovely Begonias are ideal for front of border or containers where they will flower all summer long.
Superba (Mighty Mini) – Our range of premium upright Superba Begonia, Mighty Mini Begonias are a great addition to the summer garden. This colourful upright favourite produces a dwarf and compact habit, coupled with large sixed flowers that catch the eye easily. Supplied as 4/5cm tubers, unless otherwise indicated, they really will produce a superb display, as the name suggest!
Fimbriata– Large vibrant blooms with serrated edges stand upright on a bed of spades shaped foliage. Give your patios charm throughout summer with their red, pink, yellow, white and orange frilled blooms, also known as Fringed Begonias.
Tubers can even be stored over winter and reused year after year, making the Begonia plant excellent value for money. Preferring half-sun and rich, moist soil with good drainage, we recommend that Begonias are grown indoors first and planted outdoors only when all traces of frost have disappeared.
Growing Begonias from quality tubers helps improve results. We only supply the best grade tubers possible to offer you the best results. They are simple to plant, care for and the high level of results they achieve make them an easy choice when growing Begonias.
Begonia sizes are measured by the diameter of the tuber. The tubers are counted into breathable bags and carefully packed to be delivered to you. Many of our varieties are supplied either as standard size (3/4cm) great for mass planting or exhibition size (5cm+) excellent for large flowering displays. We always state the tuber size so please check the description before ordering.
How to Grow
You can follow some top tips for success with Begonias below, or watch our video series with Jeff for his sage advice on planting cascading Begonias for hanging baskets.
You can start planting Begonia tubers from February onwards. Mix some good top-soil with one-sixth part of manure should form the basis. Once you’ve prepared the soil, add some leaf mould in a mix of 1 part leaf mould to 3 of loam and enough sand to make a fairly porous compost. Soot and bonemeal added to the compost will be appreciated.
As soon as the shoots of the tubers are about 2cm long pot them up in 15cm pots and place them into larger pots as the roots reach the sides of the pot.
Plant in full sun or partial shaded areas. The more access to sun, the more vibrant the colours will be.
You can feed once every two weeks with a high potassium up until the blooms begin to fade.
Make sure they are watered regularly during the summer and that the soil is not allowed to dry out. Begonias love moisture and will use up quite a lot during the hotter spells in the summer.
Lift tubers after flowering has finished and the leaves have begun to turn yellow. Store in a dry, cool (but frost-free) location over the winter. Store in soil that is only a little moist and keep this a little moist over the winter (with irregular watering) to keep the tubers from drying out.
If you held off planting in May, now is the ideal time to clear these plants out of your greenhouse and get your summer bedding and hanging baskets finished. There is minimal chance of frost even this far north so line your baskets, prepare the soil and use some organic compost to fertilize the soil. Ensure you water regularly particularly if the weather is warm and dry.
Hot weather protection
Hot and dry weather can be just as dangerous as the harsh conditions of winter for your plants. Recent dry spells mean watering is more important than ever. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. Regular watering of pots and baskets is essential to maximise your garden show this summer. You should also remember to keep your greenhouses cool and prevent scorch with shading and ventilation.
Prepare to tie up tall border perennials with support. Tall varieties such as Hollyhocks, Delphiniums and Lupins will need a little help and stakes can help prevent wind damage. You might also like to cut back early-flowering perennials such as Papavers as this will provide fresh foliage and possibly even a second flowering.
Protect fruit trees
Protect the newly developing fruit on your fruit trees from birds. This can be tricky as netting suggested last month for soft fruit, is not a viable option. We recommend using some of those unwanted DVDs or CDs in newspaper supplements by hanging these from your trees on string. The changing reflections of light created in a little breeze should keep birds away.
Keep everything tidy
The warm weather and increased sunshine means that weeds are popping up everywhere and can be an eyesore in your garden. Keep an eye on these particularly during dry spells and it will make your garden look much neater. You should also now be cutting the lawn weekly, pruning many spring flowering shrubs and trimming hedges into shape. For bulbs, allow foliage to die down naturally before cutting back to ground level. Keep any waste for your compost bin!
If you’ve been lucky enough to get some relaxation time in the garden, you may have had furniature such as lounger out on your lawn. Be aware that this could damage grass and cause patches of yellow damaged lawn. This is easily prevented simply by moving your lawn furniture regularly. Keep up trimming your lawn regularly, including the edges, and apply fertiliser for a healthy looking growth.
With March having arrived and with the weather finally beginning to warm up a little, it is now time to begin putting our gardening plans into action for the summer. Bluebells have sprung in abundance, Snowdrops are as reliably present as ever and the sight of the beloved Daffodil in the past few weeks has offered much encouragement to us gardeners (in a year were we have seen unusually high levels of rainfall earlier this year).
Spring is always one of our favourite seasons and equally one of the busiest, let’s get planting and let’s get preparing!
Each year in our own garden we love to test and trial new varieties and introductions, it keeps things new and interesting for us, but our garden is never without one of our most popular and best-selling summer flowering plants of all time – Begonias. The versatility, vibrancy of colour and relative inexpensiveness of Begonias, especially when grown for tubers, make them a must for the garden this summer and for many years to come. Whether grown for hanging baskets where they can trail beautifully or for containers and troughs where upright varieties will provide character and charm, please consider these perennial plants, we hope you will agree that once tried that you will find them difficult to ignore in the future.
A reliable, star attraction
Begonias, part of the Begoniacea family. have been around for many years and although some varieties can be grown indoors, typically here in Britain they have become one of our most commonly grown summer flowering perennials outdoors. Begonias, named by the famous botanist Charles Plumier, are well worthy if their place in the garden, flowering continuously through the summer months, often right up until the first frosts of autumn.
Growing Begonias from quality tubers helps improve results, they are very reliable and can easily be lifted and stored indoors over winter, then replanted the following spring for continued flowering.We only supply the best grade tubers possible to offer you the best results. They are simple to plant, care for and the high level of results they achieve make them an easy choice when growing Begonias.
Fill your hanging baskets with cascading Begonias
When looking to fill your summer hanging baskets we often look to traditional trailing plants such as Surfinia, Million Bells and trailing Geraniums. A superb way of mixing things up while still achieving excellent blooms is to try some trailing Begonias.Cascading or Pendula Begonias produce giant sized flowers through the summer months and are easy to plant on arrival. Ideal for hanging baskets mounted to the wall or for containers raised of ground level. For the largest blooms possible try growing on the Giant Exhibition sized 5/6cm tubers, guaranteed to produce up to 100% larger double flowers from each tuber. Chosen and used by the professionals at most garden shows and in large country homes, they are certainly worth that little extra money.
You can add a touch of fragrance to your trailing baskets with our range of Begonia Odorata tubers, which come in a range of colours. You can choose from ‘Odorata Red Glory’, ‘Odorata Pink Delight’ or the hard to ignore classic white ‘Odorata Angelique’. For the premium ‘Shower Bouquet’ effect we recommend the Balcony Begonia Collection, Gold and Pink ruffled edged petals, with a gentle cascading habit. Mix together for a wonderful blend as illustrated.
Try planting three 5/6cm tubers into an average hanging basket, in moist compost for a display that will cascade beautifully over the edges. Begonias are great lovers of moisture and during dry weather they should be watered in the early morning or the evening.
Give your patio pots and containers a splash of colour
The versatility of Begonias makes them great for the patio as well as in flower beds. By growing in pots and containers around the garden you can easily add a dash of colour, while having the added benefit of being able to move them around if the need arises. You can choose more compact and upright varieties which can be grown in pots, such as Double Flowering Begonias or for larger blooms with serrated edges why not opt for Fimbriata Begonias, a perfect choice for troughs on a windowsill.Non stop Begonias are compact enough for this but also are quite vigorous growers, so can virtually flower constantly through the entire summer, non-stop as the name suggests. Reaching heights of only 20cm they are great for the front of a border, with some Dahlias or Gladioli towering over them.One of our favourite varieties to grow in pots are the often ignored, but impossible to forget once you grow them yourself, ‘Maxima Switzerland’. The truly sensational dark leaves contrast effectively with the scarlet red flowers. A real treat for the container! ‘Bertinii Skaugman’ will offer your some of the most surprisingly large sized plants possible from a single tuber. ‘Flamboyant’ produces small flowers, but more than makes up for that by the abundance in which they appear.
Some top tips for success with Begonias 1. Begonia tubers may be started into growth from February onwards. The easiest way is to put them into shallow boxes containing a mixture of loam, leaf mould and sand. Meanwhile, prepare the potting soil.
Good top soil mixed with one-sixth part of manure should form the basis. To this prepared soil add leaf mould in a proportion of 1 part leaf mould to 3 of loam and enough sand to make a fairly porous compost. Soot and bonemeal added to the compost will be appreciated. As soon as the shoots of the tubers are about 2cm long pot them up in 15cm pots and place them into larger pots as the roots reach the sides of the pot.
2. Plant in full sun or partial shaded areas. The more access to sun, the more vibrant the colours will be.
3. You can feed once every two weeks with a high potassium up until the blooms begin to fade.
4. Make sure they are watered regularly during the summer and that the soil is not allowed to dry out. Begonias love moisture and will use up quite a lot during the hotter spells in the summer.
5. Lift tubers after flowering has finished and the leaves have begun to turn yellow. Store in a dry, cool (but frost-free) location over the winter. Store in soil that is only a little moist and keep this a little moist over the winter (with irregular watering) to keep the tubers from drying out.