Shade-Loving Plants for the Garden

Do you have a shaded area in your garden where it seems like nothing will grow there? Full shade areas can look dreary but don’t worry, there are plants to suit every garden, and all you need is a little creativity. There are so many varieties on offer in a mix of shapes, sizes and colours suitable for brightening any shaded spot. Below, we have compiled a list of our most suitable picks, from ground cover to perennial flowers and grasses, to add to any shaded spot in the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suitability

To grow healthy plants in shady areas, it is important to match the degree of shade that a plant needs or will tolerate with available light. Do you know which type of shade applies to your garden?

Partial Shade: A situation in half sun and half shade where there is some direct sun but possibly for less than half the hours of daylight.

Full Shade: Under tree cover, shrubberies, and  buildings. If a site gets less than 2 hours of direct sun a day, it is considered heavy shade.

 

A common misconception is that there are a group of plants that love shade, but the truth is that some plants can tolerate shady areas better than others. Here’s an easy checklist to decide whether the plants you are considering for a shady area are really a suitable candidate. They will need to be either:

  • Suitable for neutral to acid soils
  • Variegated foliage
  • Evergreen
  • Prefer moist or wet soil

Perennials

Some may think they have no choice but to add foliage to shaded areas of the garden. However, shade flowering perennials thrive in areas that receive little to no direct sunlight and can help to bring a little colour to a dark corner. Here are some of our suggestions for shade tolerant blooms:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for a beautiful perennial to brighten up a shaded spot? Our Acanthus mollis Whitewater produces tall spikes of white flowers against their backdrop of dark green variegated foliage; a perfect addition to borders or large patio containers.

Tip – These pretty flowers can be cut for vase displays or dried floral arrangements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This fascinating clump-forming perennial produces striking mint scented flowers of a deep purple shade against bronze tinged foliage. Monarda Blaustrumpf would make the perfect addition for flower beds and borders and thrive in semi or full shade where other perennials may struggle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This useful and hardy plant does well in all types of shade. Geranium Versicolor is ideal for planting in borders or patio pots for adding striking and unusual blooms to your garden with their vivid pink veined white flowers. This variety makes for great ground-cover in full or partial shade.

 

Ground Cover

It can be difficult to find hardy shade ground cover for those difficult areas of the garden that can lie blank and shady, but once you put your imagination cap on you can discover several different varieties that make the perfect ground cover for those shaded areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not all Euphorbias do well in shade but Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’ is an exception. This rapid growing ground cover plant produces amazing dark purple foliage with contrasting lime-green flowers from Spring in to early summer, making this variety an ideal candidate for borders, patio pots or containers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This reliable evergreen shrub is perfect for bringing some colour to shady areas. Also known as the variegated leaf Periwinkle, Vinca major Variegata produces pretty violet-blue flowers from late spring in to summer; a perfect plant for growing anywhere in the garden, even underneath trees.

Products: Lime Marmalade (left), Creme Brulee (middle) and Berry Smoothie (right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These charming evergreen clumps of roundish leaves with lobed or scalloped edges come in every colour under the sun. Here we’ve picked out Heuchera Lime Marmalade, Heuchera Creme Brulee and Heuchera Berry Smoothie as our top recommendations for their vibrant hues. Especially when combined with other shade-loving perennials, Heuchera are amazing for ground cover, borders or in front of shrubs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bored of plain foliage? This stunning silver touched deep green foliage that becomes dotted with spikes of pretty white blossoms in spring and early summer. This evergreen shrub is perfect for adding interest to your border displays and in any shaded spot in the garden.

Ferns

Happy to grow in inhospitable spots, many ferns are evergreen, and since they come in a range of shapes and sizes, you are certain to find the perfect fern fit for any shady spot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also known as the Harts Tongue Fern, Asplenium scolopendrium is an evergreen fern with luscious upright green foliage. This hardy evergreen needs little attention in the garden, provides colour all year round and can even be grown in woodland/under trees or shady borders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This small and easy-to-grow fern is the perfect plant for the border or rock garden in full or partial shade. With a mass of golden yellow leaves and striking red stems, this exotic Athyrium Vidalii is guaranteed to provide a dash of unique colouring to even the shadiest parts of the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re looking for a fern full of vibrant colour, the coppery red fronds of this Dryopteris erythrosora is the perfect option for your garden. This gorgeous plant can be planted in the border, patio pots or containers and are very tolerant of most conditions making them the perfect shade partner.

Grasses

Ornamental grasses provide many attractive functions in the garden. They are extremely adaptable, low maintenance, and have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way of creating a relaxing and calming effect in the garden. With their increasing popularity, more options have become available, and numerous lovely grasses are suitable for shade planting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This stunning evergreen perennial grass is the perfect addition for containers or a shady border as these plants thrive whether planted in sun, partial shade or full shade. With Carex testacea ‘Prairie Fire’s’ extraordinarily eye-catching green leaves with bright orange tips, this variety also changes in to a dark orange colour with brown flowers in the summer time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This highly versatile grass variety is ideal for planting in containers, near water features in gravel, in the border or alongside other grasses. With stunning needle-like leaves, Festuca Golden Toupee produces grey-green leaves that turn a bright yellow shade in the spring and thrive in pretty deep shade for bringing stunning vibrant hues of colour to a shaded garden.

Bulbs

It can be difficult to find blooms to rectify an unloved shaded area, however here are a few suggestions for bulbs to brighten up your garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This hardy perennial excels in partial or full shade. With pointed green leaves and slender, soft yellow bells that drop from its branched stems, Uvularia grandiflora makes a great addition to pots, containers and this variety even makes excellent cut flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A smooth cocktail of colours, purple buds opening to apricot, with rose shadings. Geum Mai Tai have fuzzy, dark green pinnate leaves and erect purple stems holding the semi double flowers. These hardy perennial plants will flower all summer from June right through to September and are suitable for partial shaded borders in the garden.

Climbers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With giant showy milk-white lace cap type flowers blooming over vigorous glossy green foliage. This fantastic, self-clinging Hydrangea petiolaris is the best climber for a shaded north wall. Very low maintenance needing only an occasional trim, left undisturbed it can grow up to a height and spread of 5m+ but will withstand gentle pruning to any manageable height to suit your garden.

ENJOY PLANTING THIS SPRING!

Contrasting Colours: Summer Garden Guide

Looking for a fun and eye catching colour scheme for your summer gardens this year? Bold, vibrant colours are set to make a return to our summer gardens in 2019. One natural way to combine colours in the garden is to choose complementary colours. That means selecting plants in colours that are across from one another on the colour wheel. The colour wheel is a gardener’s best friend when it comes to creating a pleasing garden palette. For example, red is across from green, orange is across from blue, and, as in this bright array, yellow is across from purple. So here are some of our favourite contrasting pairings for you to consider for your garden displays this year.

Red and Green

Red and green create a striking combination of colour. The green allows for a natural, calm feel. A landscape design of various shades of green, emphasizing tone, shape and texture, can be subtle and beautiful. Paired against the vibrancy of bright red flowers, the soothing tones of green really allow the red shades to create an impact. Here are some of our favourite pairings:

Bessera Elegans & Asarum europaeum (wild ginger)

We think these two plants are a match made in heaven. The vivid coral red flowers of the Bessera Elegans provide a burst of colour against an attractive ground cover of the glossy evergreen Asarum Europaeumwhich will create a truly magnificent exotic colour combination for the summer garden.

Euphorbia martinii & Gladioli Holland Pearl

This perfect pairing is ideal for your borders. These plants grow to similar heights and with the contrasting tones of the lime-green bracts of the Euphorbia Martinii against the deep red flowers of the Gladioli Holland Pearl, they are guaranteed to dazzle in summer gardens. An added bonus of this pairing, is that they both can be used in gorgeous cut flower arrangements.

Clematis ville de lyon & Chive Staro

A lovely plant combination for a lasting display from mid to late summer. This butterfly attracting, deep red blooming Clematis Ville de Lyon is perfect for pairing alongside edible plants. Clematis plants prefer growing in full sun which makes the area around the base an ideal spot for growing edible plants like our Chive Staro, and as an added bonus, these contrasting plants create a stunning, fragrant summer display of colour and shapes.

 

Orange and Blue

Create some visual excitement with the glow of orange blooms against the stark contrasting cool, bold tones of blue. These two shades seem like they are almost made for one another. Paired in garden pots, beds or borders, this spectacular colour combination is sure to add interest this summer.

Festuca ‘elijah blue’Crocosmia Mistral

The hot orange funnel-shaped blooms of the Crocosmia Mistral create a fiery contrast paired against flowering grasses, such as the silver-blue foliage from the superb evergreen Festuca ‘Elijah Blue’ that blooms giant spiked flowers during the summer. This perfect pair is ideal for containers and borders for an attractive combined display.

Hemerocallis apricot beauty & Campanula Glomerata Superba

The beautiful blue hue in the flower clusters of the Campanula Glomerata Superba create a stunning stark contrast against the bright orange ruffled blooms of this perennial companion, Hemerocallis Apricot Beauty. These stunning flowers will continue to flower all through the summer months for a beautiful and reliable summer bed pairing.

Dahlia Ludwig Helfert & Agapanthus Back in black

Dahlias look fabulous on their own or combined with other plants and Agapanthus are an excellent vertical choice for brightening up the backgrounds of Dahlias. Dahlia Ludwig Helfert produces spiky orange blooms that provide a dramatic burst of contrasting colour alongside the dark blue flowers and glossy black stems of the Agapanthus Back In Black. This vibrant pairing would make an amazing additions to the summer border.

 

Yellow and Purple

The bright cheery shades of yellow flowers juxtaposed against bold and rich purple blooms make a beautiful colour contrast that excite the senses when you gaze out in to your gorgeous summer garden. Here are some of our favourite combinations that we’ve picked out for you.

Lavender Little Lady and Echinacea Golden SKipper

Lavender has very specific growing requirements that would need to share its space with a plant with similar needs, of which one is Echinacea. They both perform well in full sun and in less-than-rich soil. On top of being great growing companions, the vibrant yellow blooms of Echinacea Golden Skipper against the Lavender Little Lady‘s traditional purple blossoms will produce a striking and fragrant display.

Digitalis Hardy Ambigua YellowHydrangea Zaza

When choosing plant companions, it is best to choose ones that have similar cultural requirements. Shade-tolerant annuals can be massed together to create a bed of rich flowers in front of Hydrangeas. For pairing with the luscious purple-blue clustered blooms of our Hydrangea Zaza, our creamy yellow Foxglove (Digitalis Hardy Ambigua Yellow) grows gorgeous tall stalks lined with bell-shaped flowers which together are certain to create a gorgeous contrasting mass of floral shapes and form.

Geranium Birch Double & Crocosmia Sunglow

The amber-yellow funnel shaped flowers of the Crocosmia Sunglow are ideal for planting in bold swathes along summer borders, and when accompanied with the stunning and delicate purple blooms of Geranium Birch Double as a low flowering addition, these two create an ideal companionship in the garden.

 

Contrasting Shapes

Matching the colours of two or more flowers, while varying their shapes, is another way to guarantee a winning combination.

Phlox Paniculata Pink & Echinacea After Midnight

The pink hues of the coneflower and the phlox are closely identical, but their flower structure offer a striking contrast. Echinacea After Midnight‘s single blossoms are reminiscent of coarse daisies, while the lush, pyramidal clusters of Phlox Paniculata Pink‘s florets add an imposingly beautiful contrast of shape combination.

Hosta Fire and Ice & Verbena Samira Lavender Star

The soft lavender hues of the Verbena Samira Lavender Star matches beautifully with the dainty spikes of flowers in the Hosta Fire and Ice. The identical floral tones are set apart by their drastically different shapes and sizes. The beautiful Verbena flowers planted around this Hosta variety in the border would make an enchanting yet bold statement in the border.

HEMEROCALLIS FRAGRANT RETURNS & IRIS SIBIRICA BUTTER AND SUGAR

Siberian Iris grown in clumps can create a beautiful contrast with Day lilies like our Hemerocallis Fragrant Returns. The stunning trumpet-like blooms of the Hemerocallis offset against the demure, drooping petals of the Iris Sibirica Butter and Sugar. These beautiful plants when paired together in summer borders are guaranteed to bring the sunshine to your garden with their unique shapes and cheerful, pale yellow blooms.

Happy Planting!

Winter Care: Spring Flowering Bulbs

Bulbs are the epitome of nature’s talent for packaging, containing within themselves all the essentials they need to grow to provide gorgeous blooms year after year if well cared for. Your spring bulbs may be snug underground awaiting the warm weather of Spring but they need to be cared for until then. Bulbs are designed by nature to withstand cold winter temperatures. Indeed they rely on winter’s cold to trigger the biochemical process necessary to bring the bulb to flower in spring, but to help you get the best height, colour and performance out of your spring bulbs, here are some must-know tips for caring for your spring bulbs after they are planted.

General Tips

  • During a warm winter spell, the bulb leaves may start to sprout but do not worry as the foliage and flower bulbs can withstand freezing temperatures without damage. Only when brittle stems are broken, or the weather changes are too abrupt will be when the flowers suffer.
  • If you wish to feed your spring bulbs, feed them at planting time or just as they begin to emerge in the spring.
  • In colder areas, apply a nice layer of mulch over the bulb bed once the ground temperatures have dropped.

Daffodils/Narcissi

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  • For sprouting Daffodils, water sparingly as Daffodils do not require much care but some watering will help establishing roots.
  • Potted Daffodils require regular watering as the soil tends to dry out quicker.
  • If there is no snow cover, the bulbs will also need water throughout the winter.
  • Apply a low-nitrogen, high-potash (potassium) fertilizer after flowering if bulbs are not performing as desired.

Crocus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Apply fertilizer after bulbs flower if your spring is long and temperate; bulbs will have a chance to use the extra nutrients to produce bigger carbohydrate stores.
  • In late February, remove mulches from snowdrops and crocuses so the shoots can come through.
  • In February and March, keep plastic milk jugs or other coverings on hand to protect the flowers of crocuses and other early bloomers against the return of severe weather.
  • Do not let the soil dry out. If the ground is fairly dry in the spring, make sure to water sparingly.

Snowdrops

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Water during the autumn/ winter with a water-soluble fertilizer to nourish the bulbs as they develop new roots and top growth. Your bulbs will survive without fertilizer, but providing extra nutrients encourages more flowers, larger blossoms and longer life for your bulbs.

Tulips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • After the tulips bulbs are planted, you need to water them thoroughly and then cover the area with a mulch of pine bark or shredded leaves to protect them.
  • You can build up their strength further by giving them a liquid feed every 10 to 14 days while they’re still in leaf.

Flower Aftercare

  • After your spring bulbs have bloomed, remove spent flowers of large-flowered bulbs, such as Tulips or Daffodils, as soon as they fade.
  • When the season’s blooms are past, your snowdrops need to store energy for next year’s show. Allow the leaves to photosynthesize (process sunlight to produce food) until they yellow and wither, before removing the spent foliage. Trimming still-green foliage will reduce plants’ ability to nourish next year’s flowers, resulting in fewer, smaller flowers.
  • Six weeks after blooming is when it will be safe to mow the green leaves of any naturalized crocus and snowdrops on your lawn.

Have you completed your gardening jobs for January?

Click HERE to check out our garden job list.

Good luck with your flowers this spring!

12 Days of Christmas In The Garden

Winter is coming and to celebrate the season and the upcoming festivities filled with mulled drinks, festive foods and presents, we’ve selected our 12 favourite Christmas themes flowers to bring an extra hint of magic and sparkle to your homes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Amaryllis Christmas Gift

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amaryllis is a perfect festive plant because it naturally flowers in both spring and winter. This striking Amaryllis, Amaryllis Christmas Gift, is named after it’s stunning snow-like blooms that are guaranteed to add character to your household in winter.

  • The amaryllis was quite revered in Victorian times and carries strong associations of pride. During the Victorian era proud women were thought to be beautiful so this was certainly a compliment to the amaryllis.

2. Crocus chrysanthus Prince Claus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These stunning goblet shaped flowers bring one of the first bursts of colour to the garden in spring, and Crocus chrysanthus Prince Claus blooms beautiful white flowers with purple cores rising from the centre. Crocus are sometimes referred to as the ‘snow crocus’ and are viewed as the herald of spring.

  • Crocus have a natural insulation. Crocus plants can cope with the cold weather and occasional frosts as their leaves and petals are covered by a waxy cuticle.

3. Dahlia Santa Claus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This fun and festive Dahlia is the Dahlia Santa Claus; a stunning bi-coloured Dinner Plate Dahlia, the largest of all the varieties, with red and white striped blooms. A wonderful summer plant that suits all garden borders and patio pots, as well as making perfect cut flowers.

  • These colourful spiky flowers bloom from midsummer to first frost, when many other plants are past their best.

4. Crocus Chrysanthus Snowbunting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starch white golblet shaped flowers with an orange throat. The RHS have given the Crocus ‘Snowbunting’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit. This beautiful crocus variety is perfect for creating a blanket of snow in rockeries or containers.

  • Saffron-based pigments have been found in the prehistoric paints used to depict beasts in 50,000-year-old cave art in what is today Iraq. Later, the Sumerians used saffron as an ingredient in their remedies and magical potions.

5. Lonicera purpusii Winter Beauty (Honeysuckle)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lonicera purpusii Winter Beauty (also known as the winter flowering Honeysuckle) produces masses of creamy-white fragrant flowers in midwinter. This plant flowers reliably by Christmas year after year, with flowers lasting until early spring. Sprigs of this honeysuckle are perfect for those festive winter flower arrangements!

  • During Victorian era, Englishmen often planted honeysuckle in front of their houses to keep evil spirits and witches on the safe distance.

6. Holly Blue Angel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do as the classic Christmas Carols says and “deck the halls with boughs of Holly”. A classic winter wonder, Holly Blue Angel. This shrubs shiny evergreen, blue tinted foliage producing masses of red berries in winter is a staple of Christmas plants.

  • The idea of decorating your home with holly for Christmas dates back to ancient Druids. They believed that the protective qualities of the plant would safe guard them against bad luck and evil spirits.

7. Phlox Peppermint Twist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just like cinnamon and ginger, peppermint is a staple theme of the Christmas festivities. This unique Phlox Peppermint Twist is not dissimilar from the stripes of those well-loved Christmas treats candy canes, with their prolific pink flowers with distinctive white stripes.

  • Phlox make great plants for wildlife, and tend to attract hummingbirds in bird gardens.

8. Rose Hot Chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who doesn’t love some hot chocolate in the winter time? Rose Hot Chocolate is a beautifully unique coloured Rose that produces blooms of rusty orange with velvety smoked chocolate brown, reminiscent of a delicious winter sweet treat.

  •  Ancient Romans used roses as room decorations, and sometimes wore the flower as a necklace. It was also believed in Roman circles that anything said “under the rose” was deemed to be top secret.

9. Tulip Peppermint Stick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tulip ‘Peppermint Stick has striking candy cane colours of red and white, which make ideal candidates for a christmas bouquet. As the season progresses, the flowers slowly open to produce colourful star shapes and then almost a complete white star when they fully open.

  • The Tulip is a classic flower of love, although it was considered more of a symbol for charity by the Victorians.

10. Snowdrops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the first flowers of the new year, the snowdrop is one our most endearing flowers. The much loved traditional Snowdrops produce honey scented nodding flower heads with pure white outer petals surround small inner petals with green tips.

  • Snowdrops were named after earrings not drops of snow. In the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries women often wore dangly, white drop-shaped earrings known as ‘eardrops’ thus inspiring the flowers name. Some other common names of snowdrops are: Candlemas Bells,  White Ladies and Little Sister of the Snows.

11. Tulip Christmas Orange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tulip Christmas Orange is a flaming orange colour with a broad cherry flame. These flowers are also in demand for forcing around Christmas time for festive displays of colour.

  • Because tulips are one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, they can mean rebirth.

12. Petunia Chameletunia Cinnamon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for something warm up your garden like the tasty cinnamon treats at Christmas time. Our Petunia Chameletunia Cinnamon has a beautiful profusion of orange-red flowers adding that perfect amount of sweet spice to your summer gardens.

  • All types of petunia can be divided in 4 major groups: grandiflora, hedgiflora, multiflora and milliflora.

Merry Christmas and have a happy New Year!

How to Plant: Dwarf Tulips

Need advice on planting Dwarf Tulip bulbs? We’ve compiled our gardening advice in this informative blog guide on planting, arrangement, and aftercare to help make your gardening job easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tulips are one of the most popular Spring bulbs for a reason. Fantastic colours and attractive shapes make them a stunning choice for your garden displays. There are a wide variety of Greigii/Kaufmanniana or dwarf Tulips within our range, from First Price, Little Beauty, Humilis, and Scarlet Baby; all with stunning colourful blooms that would be perfect for any spring border, or even hanging basket, and their spectacular foliage produces year after year whilst requiring minimal care.

Planting

Tulips do not need to be planted until October in to December. Plant bulbs in well dug soil about 8-10cm deep and approx. 15cm apart. It is often beneficial to use a little bonemeal or super phosphate mixed in with the soil. Tulips delight during their growth in a sunny location.

Video

In this video tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff talks us through how to plant Dwarf Rockery/Botanical Tulips, with great easy to follow advice on how to achieve a terrific spring rockery display.

Aftercare

After the tulips have bloomed and when leaves fade and turn brown, the bulbs can be lifted, dried, cleaned and stored in a cool place until planting time. This allows the bulb to store more food and produce flowers the following year. Tulips should not be grown in the same soil for several years, so replace with fresh soil every other year.

Click here to view our full Tulip range!

Halloween In the Garden

It’s that spooky time of the year again! Why go out and buy cauldrons, candles and pumpkins, when nature provides such bizarre and beautiful creations? To celebrate Halloween, we’ve conjured up our 13 creepiest, darkest varieties guaranteed to give your gardens a haunted makeover, along with individual facts and superstitions.

13 Frightening Plants

1. Fritillaria Meleagris (Snakeshead)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The snakes head Fritillaria is a popular variety due to their unusual drooping pendants, flowering in the spring. This spellbinding plant displays a mixture of white and purple bell shaped flowers.

Fact: The nodding, pink-and-purple-checkered flowers of the Snake’s-head Fritillary are said to resemble a snake, hence the name!

2. Iris pumila ‘Hokus Pokus’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iris pumila ‘Hokus Pokus’ is a truly magical variety producing velvety petals of deep lilac and rust atop robust, fleshy stems. These exquisitely mystical blooms are guaranteed to add a touch of intrigue to your borders.

Fact: Iris take their name from the Greek word for a rainbow, which is also the name for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris.

Superstition: Iris symbolize eloquence. Purple iris are symbolic of wisdom and compliments. Blue iris symbolize faith and hope. Yellow iris symbolize passion while white iris symbolize purity.

3. Tulip Black Parrot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tulip Black Parrot is a mysterious and elegant variety, with large flared heads draped in rich, velvety maroon-black petals. Once the flower matures and opens, their serrated appearance of the petals edges become symbolic of a parrot’s plumage.

Fact: These tulips were developed from mutations of certain varieties of late-flowering and Triumph tulips!

Superstition: Wear Tulips for prosperity and protection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tricyrtis ‘Dark Beauty’ adds an exotic edge to any borders with their strikingly unique bruised purple/blue spotted petals with a dusky white accent, and their tentacle-like tepals bursting from the center with their yellow and white stamens and purple anthers.

Fact: Known in England as Toad Lilies, this wonderful perennial is native to eastern Asia and the Himalayas. A wonderfully weird introduction to the garden.

5. Hemerocallis ‘Whoopy’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This dark and mysterious day lily is a popular perennial flowering garden plant, producing a velvety purple edge surrounding a dark black core and green throat.

Fact: The genus name is derived from Greek, meaning beauty and day, referring to the fact that each pretty bloom lasts only one day.

Superstition: Wearing lilies and poppies was thought to lighten people’s distress, causing the wearer to forget all their troubles.

6. Tulip ‘Queen Of Night’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add a dramatic cloak of darkness to your gardens with Tulip ‘Queen of Night’, with deep velvety maroon flowers that give the appearance of a silky black sheen. ‘Queen of Night’ is classified as a single late tulip, meaning it has a single, rather than double row of petals and blooms in late spring.

Fact: The Queen of the Night is the closest that hybridists have come to creating a pure black tulip.

Superstition: Carrying Tulips in your pocket brings good luck.

7. Athyrium niponicum ‘Ursula’s Red’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fronds are a soft grayish-green with an overlay of silvery hues accented by contrasting dark maroon midribs. Silvering is best for several weeks in the spring, with fronds becoming greener as hot temperatures arrive. The attractive foliage and shape of this fern provide colour, contrast and texture.

Fact: Genus name comes from Greek athyros meaning doorless in reference to the slowly opening hinged indusia (spore covers)

8. Sedum Spurium ‘Dragons Blood’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also known as ‘Caucasian stonecrop’ or ‘Dragons blood’ this creeping perennial bursts to life with blood red flowers from June through to August. The large simple shaped leaves create a glossy evergreen that are thick, flattened, rounded, succulent and toothed or lobed near the tips.

Fact: In autumn, ‘Dragon’s Blood’ earns its name as the leaves turn from greenish-red to dramatic deep red!

9. Tulip ‘Kingsblood’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark cherry red edged scarlet. Tulip Kingsblood is a striking tall, strong tulip that will bring a hit of colour to the late spring garden. Mix with dark maroons and oranges for an eye-catching combination or planted on it’s own for a bold statement.

Fact: The meaning of tulips is generally perfect love . Like many flowers, different colors of tulips also often carry their own significance. Red tulips are most strongly associated with true love.

Superstition: In Persia, Tulips are used as a ward against evil.

10. Dicentra Spectabilis ‘Bleeding Heart’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bleeding Heart is both bold and dramatic which makes a fabulous border plant producing fern-like foliage and arching sprays of heart-shaped deep Pink and White flowers.

Fact: The Royal Horticultural Society has given this plant the Award of Garden Merit for its reliable performance, stability of colour and form and good resistance to pests and diseases.

11. Rose Black Baccara

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add some dark glamour to your summer border with Rose Black Baccara, a striking fragrant variety of Hybrid Tea rose with petals of deepest maroon which fade to luxurious red as the plant matures. The Black Rose Bush produces large, velvety blooms and glossy foliage from its tall, statuesque stems, making it favourite cut flower of florists.

Fact: According to the Language of Flowers or floriography in the 19th Century, a black rose implies hatred, death, and despair. It can also signify rebirth or farewell for good, in certain situations.

Superstition: Rose petals falling unexpectedly without any cause is a negative omen, potentially portending death.

12. Fatsia japonica ‘Spiders Web’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bushy evergreen shrub with palmately lobed leaves, dappled with white, making it look as though it is covered in a ‘spiders web’. In autumn it produces clusters of white flowers that give way to black berries. Fruits persist on the prominent stalks for several weeks.

Fact: These evergreens are happiest in light shade, although it will still thrive where it is verging on the gloomy.

13. Tulip Perfect Partner Collection

Tulip ‘Havran’ is a truly beautiful, silk-satin almost black tulip with two to three flowers to a stem, providing that elusive darkness of colour for your patios, pots and borders. Pictured along side ‘Grand Perfection’, which flames blood red on a soft yellow background. As they mature, the yellow fades and turns creamy white.

Fact: In magical traditions, tulips appear in spells and rituals aimed at love, joy, safety, success and meaningful dreams. You can carry tulips as a charm that attracts prosperity.

Superstition: There is a superstition in Holland that Pixies live in tulip beds.

 

Happy Halloween!

How to Plant Tulips: Red Riding Hood Tulips

Looking to add a vibrant splash of character to your spring garden displays?

This Greigii Tulip has strikingly beautiful, oriental scarlet flowers. It is highly compact, growing to a height of only 20-30cm, and flowers in spring between March/April. The inner petals are brighter, with a dark base and flecks of yellow in the centre. The spectacular, grey-green mottled purple foliage is a highlight of these tulips. These tulips are easy to grow, and create a warm welcoming addition to garden beds, borders, containers, rock gardens and make stunning cut flowers too. These Red Riding Hood tulips are excellent alongside contrasting tulips of a similar style, such as Albion Star, or beside your other red varieties.

Tulip Red Riding Hood (Greigii)

Planting (including Tutorial)

Our Red Riding Hood bulbs come in packs of 15 and 60 and are supplied as 10cm+ bulbs. We recommend you plant around 8 to 10cm deep and approximately 15cm apart in well drained, fertile soil, and in a sunny or partially shaded location in the autumn from September to December.

In this simple how-to video tutorial, our resident gardener Jeff shows you how to plant our Red Riding Hood tulips, specifically in pots, with tips and tricks for getting the best results out of your bulbs.

Aftercare

Red Riding Hood tulips are fairly low maintenance plants for aftercare as they do not require pruning. After the tulips have bloomed and the leaves fade and turn brown, the bulbs can be lifted, dried, cleaned and stored in a cool place until planting time. Tulips should not be grown in the same soil for several years, so replace with fresh soil every other year.

How to Plant: Fritillaria (with Video Tutorial)

Looking for help and advice on planting Fritillaria bulbs? Look no further, we’ve compiled this handy guide full of information on Fritillaria planting, tutorial guide and aftercare advice.

Fritillaria Lutea (Crown Imperial)                 Fritillaria Meleagris

Fritillaria are a stunning accompaniment to any garden display with their elegant drooping bell-shaped flowers that are particularly effective when grown in groups, as well as being versatile enough to add charm to rockeries, borders, flowers beds or even on the patio in pots. Our extensive range of Fritillaria includes smaller varieties such as Fritillaria Meleagris, which produce a mixture of white and purple flowers, and taller varieties such as Fritillaria Imperialis and many bi-colour favourites such as Fritillaria Uva-Vulpis and Michailovski.

Our beautiful Fritillaria bulbs flower between April and May in the spring, and our bulb sizes vary between 5cm up to 24cm, with certain varieties growing up to 120cm. They can be planted at 8-10cm deep and 10-15cm apart in well drained/light and moist soil. They can be planted in areas with full sun access or preferably with partial shade, and can be left to naturalise in grass, borders or even cold greenhouses. Fritillaria are very hardy and are an excellent choice for border displays, rockeries or for woodland areas, where their elegant drooping bell-shaped flowers are likely to add that little something different to your garden.

In this simple how-to video tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff shows you how to plant Giant Fritillaria with tips and tricks for getting the best results out of your bulbs!

Aftercare

When established in the right environment you can easily begin to see fritillaria plants multiply. In good growing conditions crown imperials will readily form large clumps. If a well-established colony begins to flower poorly then lifting in early autumn when dormant, thoroughly improving the soil and replanting, or moving to a new site may be enough to restore satisfactory flowering. The bulbs may take a year or two to re-establish.

Click to view our Fritillaria range!

How To Plant: Iris Reticulata Pixie

If you’re looking for an easy to grow bulb that will bring some vibrancy to your garden in early spring, you can’t go wrong with Iris Reticulata.

 

Of all our spring flowering Iris, Iris Reticulata Pixie is a particularly popular variety for a number of reasons. This beautiful Iris Reticulata flowers early in spring when little else in the garden is in flower, bringing vibrant violet-blue hues to your borders and patio pots. Each petal is delicately marked with golden yellow and white flecks. These exquisite flowers are sure to brighten up the garden in February and March.
You can plant these beautiful Iris in the front of your border, or in pots for the patio. Jeff talks us through both options in the below video so you can get the most out of your bulbs.
Bulbs are to be planted 8cm deep and around 10-12cm apart, in well drained soil. It is often best to try to position then with plenty of access to sun. For best results, plant in September through to November.

 

Take some care to prevent slugs and snails from attacking the Iris once planted, Jeff uses fine alpine grit to get the job done!
Most Iris can naturalise well if left undisturbed or alternatively bulbs can be lifted and separated in autumn. After flowering feed with a high potash fertilizer to encourage large bulbs to form.

Creative Gardening: How-To Start Lasagne Planting

Planting layered spring bulbs, also known as lasagne planting or double decker pots, is a great way to get a fabulous spring display or a staggered display that lasts several months and keeps delivering colour to your patio.

You can do this with any spring flowering bulbs and really get creative with the combinations you choose. We selected some traditional favourites for our own display, with Triumph Tulips, Dwarf Narcissi Tete-a-Tete, Bedding Hyacinth Mixed and finally large flowering crocus mixed.

Getting a long lasting pot display really couldn’t be easier, and we’ve put together this guide along with a complete video tutorial from our expert Jeff Turner to show you exactly how to get the best from your spring patio displays.

All you need is a large pot, some crocks or grit for drainage, good multi-purpose compost and some quality J. Parker’s bulbs. Watch the video below to see how Jeff gets on;

The trick is to plant the larger, later flowering bulbs towards the bottom so that the small, early flowering varieties can flower first early in the season, and as they die off the next lot comes through to continue the display.

In this case we plant our Triumph Tulips first, as Tulips prefer to be planted that bit deeper. We’ve used Triumph Tulips for their tall, strong wind resistant stems and the fantastic variety of colour that goes into our Parker’s mixture.

Next add another layer of compost, and plant your next set. We’ve gone for Narcissi Tete-a-Tete, the most popular dwarf Daffodil known for its versatility and reliability. This will produce traditional golden trumpets on short stems.

The next layer was Hyacinth, specifically a bedding sized mixture for a strong display, and finally the top layer is large flowering Crocus Mixed. This will be the last planted and the first to flower, as these beautiful early spring bulbs will produce a carpet of low-growing colour.

Have you tried this at home? Let us know how you got on!