February in the Garden

February invites the first signs of spring into our gardens; days are lengthening, bulbs begin to emerge from the ground, and colour in the garden is just around the corner. This month is about cleansing (after the Latin word februum which means purification), and there’s no better time than now to give your garden a little TLC in preparation for spring.

Tidy Up

Flowers

  • Remove faded flowers, such as Winter Pansies and Violas, from containers to encourage them to flower more during spring and prevent from going to seed.
  • Deadhead early flowering plants such as Primulas regularly to encourage fresh flowers.
  • Remove any dead or decaying leaves from container plants to avoid encouraging slugs and snails in early spring.

Grasses

  • Deciduous grasses which have been left unpruned over winter should now be cut back to the ground.
  • Remove dead material from evergreen grasses to make space for new growth in the coming months.
  • Tidy up decaying material around perennials and remove any leaf litter to discourage the slugs and snails as they arrive in early spring.

Cutting Garden

  • Prepare your cut flower beds by removing any stubborn perennial weeds, such as brambles or bindweed, which may be hiding.
  • If the soil is particularly stony, it can be sieved and raked until the texture is nice and fine.
  • Borders can also be given a boost by adding organic feed such as chicken manure and seaweed.

Looking after your lawn:

  • Remember to keep off the grass when there’s a frost, as the blades are more susceptible to damage which could lead to lawn diseases and other problems.
  • Ensure you brush off any debris or leaves which have fallen onto your lawn, as they can smother and cause discolouration to the grass.
  • Towards the end of the month, if the grass has produced some growth, you may be able to give your lawn a light trim with the lawnmower.

Planting Summer Bulbs

There are many lovely late-spring and summer bulbs which although usually planted in the autumn, if you missed that slot, early spring provides another opportunity. Below are some beautiful bulbs suitable for planting this month.

Allium

Alliums are easy to grow and once established return reliably every year; if planted in February will flower in late spring and early summer.

Lilies

Lilies can be planted in February and March and make a great scented display. If your garden has wet, heavy soil they are better planted in containers.

Anemone

Anemone can be planted from February onwards. The best chance of ensuring summer bulbs flower the following year is to feed them during the growing season.

Crocosmia

Crocosmia can be planted in the spring for flowering in late summer and make a great display. They’re easy to grow and return reliably each year.

Prepare for your summer garden by shopping our New Spring 2020 range HERE!

Alternatively, you can request our Spring 2020 catalogue here.

Valentine’s Day Flowers to Grow at Home

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, there are flowers in every shop and supermarket. Why not grow your own for next year? Anyone can grow cut flowers! It’s a personal, economical and rewarding way to show love to your family and friends.

ROSES

Roses are the flower most associated with love and romance. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet says to her lover “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” to express that love has no boundaries. The rose has also been England’s national flower since The War of the Roses in the fifteenth century.

Blue Moon

Rose ‘Blue Moon’ is an unusual icy-blue colour and have a lovely fragrance, which makes them an eye-catching addition to bouquets and displays.

Fragrant Delight

This stunning rose is one of the most popular variety of Floribunda! Its blooms are coppery peach-pink blossom in colour and are highly fragrant.

Scarlet Queen Elizabeth

This bold red rose produces glamorous scarlet flowers with a subtle fragrance. The gorgeous red colour is a classic for a Valentine’s bouquet.

DIANTHUS

The name Dianthus comes from the Greek words ‘dios’ (god’) and ‘anthos’ (‘flower’). The common name ‘Carnation’ was derived from the Latin word ‘incarnation’, meaning the incarnation of God. It symbolises admiration, passion, affection, love and gratitude. One of the world’s oldest cultivated flowers, the popularity of Dianthus has remained throughout many centuries.

Doris

This delicate pretty pink flower has a wonderful striped red centre which makes it stand out. Doris has a subtle fragrance and is ideal for a cut flower display.

Scent First Memories

Memories is a beautiful creamy white flower from our ‘Scent First’ range of Dianthus which produce amazingly fragrant flowers.

Valda Wyatt

Our Valda Wyatt produces frilly vibrant pink blooms and have a lovely scent. They make fantastic cut flowers and a bright addition to bouquets.

IRIS

The Iris’s history dates back to Ancient Greek times when the Greek Goddess Iris, the messenger of the gods and the personification of the rainbow, acted as the link between heaven and earth. It was said that the flowers had the power to bring bliss and favour to earth and the people living on it. They symbolise faith, hope, wisdom and royalty.

‘Dance Ballerina Dance’

Ths beautiful and easy to grow Iris produces brilliant lilac-pink petals with pale pink ruffled edges. The flowers stand on sturdy stems ideal for cut flower displays.

‘Beverly Sills’

This new germanica Iris produces an abundance of delicate coral-pink flowers. Paired with lance-shaped green foliage, it makes for a lovely cut display.

‘Concord Crush’

This Iris sibirica produces ruffled violet-blue flowers with a yellow centre on each petal. Their unusual markings and colour are a wonderful addition to bouquets.

JASMINE

The flower symbolises love, beauty, good luck and purity. Jasmine has always been considered a symbol of eternal beauty. In parts of India many people believe that jasmine can purify an individual, specifically when they grow into different life stages, which is why it is also symbolic of hope and spirituality. This makes it an ideal gift for a loved one, especially a partner.

Trachelospermum Pink Showers

This Star Jasmine produces delicate pink star-shaped flowers with a bright yellow centre. These blooms look dainty when clustered in a bouquet.

Nudiflorum

These bright yellow flowers are delicately small but pack a punch with their vibrant colour. They are highly fragrant and add a pop of colour to cut-flower displays.

Trachelospermum jasminoides

This highly fragrant Star Jasmine has crisp white petals and a vivid yellow centre. Due to their dainty size, they add a lovely whimsical look to bouquets.

DICENTRA

The Bleeding Heart plant symbolises speaking about your emotions, passionate love, compassion and unconditional love, and spiritual connection. This flower got its name from its peculiar appearance, so does its scientific name. Known as Dicentra Spectabilis which translates to two spectacular spurs. In literal translation it means two spurs worth looking at, which fits the flower beautifully as it really is eye-catching.

Spectabilis

This Dicentra variety produces show-stopping deep pink heart-shaped flowers, which ‘bleed’ white petals. Dicentra Spectabilis add a great splash of colour to bouquets.

Sulphur Hearts

This unique variety of Dicentra is a lovely golden yellow tipped with a soft lilac colour at the bottom. These flowers make a lovely centre point to a home-grown bouquet.

Valentine

This remarkable variety of Dicentra produces stunning red heart-shaped flowers with a white droplet hanging from the bottom. The classic shape is perfect for a Valentine.

Cut-Flower Garden Top Tips:

If space allows, dedicate a part of the garden to growing just cut flowers. The advantage of a cutting garden over picking from borders is that it avoids depleting beds and borders, as well as providing a more productive planned area for the cut flower gardener.

  • No room for a big garden? You can squeeze about 20 plants into a 3ft x 6ft raised bed.
  • Plant or sow in rows; this makes weeding, staking and picking a much easier task.
  • Pick your flowers often; the more you pick, the more flowers the plant will produce.
  • Enjoy the rewards of growing your own, personalised cut-flower displays!

Planting Bulbs in the Green

A wonderful addition to the front of a border or lawn, bulbs in the green are great naturalising bulbs and in spring will provide your garden with a carpet of colour. Our selection of spectacular bulbs in the green are a lovely way to introduce some traditional charm and elegance to your garden.

The main advantage of planting bulbs in the green is that you can be sure that the plants are alive and healthy when you plant them. Planting in the green helps them absorb moisture quickly after they have been planted, as dry, rootless bulbs do not re-establish as well.

Probably one of the easiest bulbs to grow, at J. Parker’s we lift bulbs in the green with their foliage intact , so all you will need to do is replant them on arrival. All our bulbs in the green are supplied from nursery raised stock, and not from the wild.

BLUEBELLS

The original much-loved English Bluebell naturalises bountifully, particularly in the shade of trees where other plants would struggle. These flowers are extremely distinctive in their lilac-blue colour and bell shaped blooms, and due to their fragrance are wonderful for attracting bees, moths and butterflies. Reaching a height of 20-25cm they can also be grown in containers, and so are suitable for gardens of all sizes.

SNOWDROPS

The arrival of snowdrops poking up through the ground is one of the first signs that spring is around the corner. This beautifully traditional plant produces delicate bell-shaped, pure white flowers. Plant in drifts beneath a deciduous tree to give your garden a whimsically woodland feel. Snowdrops reach an approximate height of 10cm and bloom from January through to March.

ERANTHIS

Eranthis, also known as Winter Aconites, are a relative of the buttercup and add a lovely burst of vibrant yellow to the garden in early spring. Their attractive green flower-shaped foliage grows around the yellow petals, and covers the ground long after the flowers have disappeared. These flowers are easy plants to grow: flowering reliably and often the earliest to bloom in spring.

HOW TO PLANT

For the best chance of success, small spring-flowering bulbs should be planted whilst they have leaves in early spring immediately after they have flowered with their foliage intact. Small bulbs can dry out easily while in storage, so are better lifted while in growth then replanted immediately, rather than as dormant bulbs.

Bluebells, Snowdrops and Eranthis need soil that doesn’t dry out. Therefore, they prefer a location which is sunny in winter but shaded in summer. An ideal place to plant them is under a deciduous tree.

Preparation:

  • Prepare your chosen planting site before delivery of your plants so that you can plant them as quickly as possible upon arrival.
  • The ground where they are to be planted should be enriched with compost or well-rotted organic matter.

Planting:

  • When your plants arrive in a bundle, gently tease them apart taking care not to damage the roots. Plant within 3 days of delivery.
  • Plant the bulbs at the same depth they were growing before they were lifted; you can see where this was form the level at which the leaves change from white to green. Everything that was below soil level before lifting is white, but if you’re unsure approximately 8-10cm will be okay.
  • Back fill the hole and around the bulbs, compacting lightly. Water the plants immediately.

Our Spring 2020 range is out NOW! To shop our lovely collection of Spring plants and bulbs, click here.

Alternatively, you can request our Spring 2020 catalogue here.

December in the Garden

There are always things to do in the garden in December. These simple gardening tasks will offer some calm and relief amid the busyness of the festive season. So, here are our top jobs to get done in the garden this month.

FROZEN PONDS
  • Don’t smash the ice on a pond with a spade as the shock waves could kill fish or other wildlife. Create a breathing hole by putting a rubber ball in the water before it freezes, removing it once ice forms.
Prep Beds and borders

 

potted plant care

• Potted plants are vulnerable to water logging over winter, which can cause root rot. Raise them up onto pot feet or stand on bricks, to allow excess moisture to drain away.

• Water pots when necessary to counteract the dry winter winds.

Trees and shrubs

• Cut off dead stems of wall shrubs and climbers, then tie in any wayward shoots to prevent them being snapped off in windy weather.

• Remove any dead, diseased or dying branches from deciduous trees.

 

HELP WILDLIFE
  • Leave out bowls of fresh water for wildlife to bathe and drink.
  • Don’t throw out any scraps, birds love bits of cheese, pasta, and bread.
  • Plant a feast of berry-filled bushes that birds and other wildlife can enjoy during the cold months.
GET FESTIVE

• Why not spruce up the bare branches in the garden with fairy lights or decorative baubles in spirit of the festive season.

  • Use broken twigs to make ornaments for your trees and gift toppers. Star twigs are a favourite.

 

fOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND WIN £50

Enter our Christmas Wreath Photo Competition by sharing snaps of your own festive wreaths on our social pages for a chance to win a £50 PARKERS VOUCHER!

Enter by midnight Sunday the 15th!

 

FILL YOUR 2020 GARDEN WITH BASKETS

We’ve just made your gardening so much easier! Our NEW premium pre-planted summer floral hanging baskets are the perfect way to enhance your displays and keep your garden looking fantastic all summer long!