Plant of the Month: Crocus

With bulb planting season on the horizon, it’s perfect time to start planning your spring displays, and what better than beautiful, bold blooming Crocus flowers? As one of the well-loved staples of spring, Crocus are one of the first flowers to appear in spring. From bold and rich purples, lilacs, cheerful yellows, to striking blends and patterns, Crocus have every colour you need to create an eye-catching garden display.

Scroll down to view our favourite bestsellers, a run down of the different varieties on offer and for planting tips and tricks for bulb planting season.

Winter/Spring Flowering

Plant of the Month: Geranium (Perennials)

Are you looking for a beautiful, low-maintenance plant for your summer garden? As one of the most popular garden perennials on the market, hardy Geraniums will sail through the challenges of the seasons. Bursting with flowers, hardy Geraniums also enjoy a lush foliage which adds valuable texture in the garden. Incredibly tough, pest and disease resistant, perennial Geraniums give a lot and require very little.

Benefits

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!

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.

February Plant of the Month – Snowdrops

Snowdrops (Galanthus)

Snowdrops are the start of it all!

The sight of snowdrops appearing late in January is a cheerful reminder of the warmer, brighter days to come. Happening on them in the wild is a real treat, but they are easy to grow and radially available so why not grow them in your own garden?

There are a huge variation in size and shapes, and they are great naturalisers, so will multiply and come back year after year.

You can buy Single or Double Snowdrops in the Green in January – March.

Snowdrops-in-the-green-and-bulbs

Single Snowdrops (Glanthus nivalis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most common and easiest to grow is….. Glanthus nivalis, also known as the common or garden snowdrop. They are robust and easy to grow and have earned a RHS Award of Garden Merit. These are single flowering, with three inner petals marked green at the tips encased in milky white outer petals and strappy grass like foliage. The flowers has a sweet, honey scent that will attract bees. These traditional small-flowering Snowdrops give a barren winter garden a breath of life, and give a wonderful woodland feel if planted in drifts beneath a deciduous tree with Hostas. You could plant in patio pots or window boxes for a neater, more compact temporary display. Top quality plants supplied. Flowers January to March. Height 10cm.

AGM-Snowdrops

Giant snowdrops

The same features as the common variety but much taller, perfect for use as cut flowers. Galanthus elwesii is a spectacular giant snowdrop originating from eastern Asia. Elwesii’s honey scented nodding flowers are formed from an outer whorl of snowy white tepals encasing smaller inner tepals, flared and marked green at the tips. Fine 15-20cm stems sport dainty strap shaped leaves. Galanthus Woronowii, also known as the Broad Leaf Snowdrop, is a giant white snowdrop with green markings. It’s beautiful nodding honey scented flower heads can appear as early as January. Both varieties hold the RHS Award of Garden Merit. At this time of year we can only offer Snowdrops in the Green but these varieties will become available as bulbs in our autumn catalogues.

Double Snowdrops (Flore Pleno)

3-Snowdrops-Double-EDIT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The double form of the common snowdrop is a hardy and reliable variety that also holds an RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Russian Snowdrops (Puschkinia Libanotica)

2-Russian-Snowdrops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puschkinia are a little known spring bulb, however, it is one of the easiest to grow and is very reliable. They produce dainty white flowers with a blue blush that forms a stripe effect on the petals. This hardy bulb will naturalise and multiply like snowdrops producing a carpet of colour in March and April after the snowdrops have flowered, but before the bluebells. This fabulous pretty flower holds the prestigious Award of Garden Merit. These can be brought as bulbs from June, throughout Autumn.

Planting

POTM--Snowdrops

 

 

 

 

 

 

They prefer shade, and work really well amongst shrubs or under trees. Ideally they like fertile, moist but well drained soils.

Bulbs: Plant in moist, well-drained soil at least 5cm deep and 5cm apart. They can be grown successfully in pots and containers but only temporarily and will need to be lifted after their growing season.

In the Green: transplanted with their green foliage intact giving you a guaranteed 100% success rate. Make sure to water well once planted, to encourage their roots to re-establish with the soil.

They naturalise well and you can just let them die back at the end of their season so require little after care. If you get heavy, dense clumps of snowdrops in one place lift and divide the clump when the foliage starts to fade, careful not to break any of the roots.

Make sure the soil does not fully dry out in summer.

Video Planting Tutorial

In this video, our resident gardening expert Jeff demonstrates how-to plant Snowdrop bulbs into pots for advice on achieving a great early addition to your garden.

Tip

eranthis-snowdrop-mixed-EDIT

 

Team Snowdrops with Winter Aconites for a cheerful burst of colour, the sudden appearance of milk white and zesty yellow in February can’t help but bring cheerful thoughts of spring to mind!

Win £100 worth of vouchers

Winner

 

We were so thrilled with the response to last year’s Daffodil Photography Competition, that we are offering a second chance to win a £100 voucher to spend on J. Parker’s products.

Your image can be of any spring flowering bulb, so long as it’s your own original image of a variety purchased from us. Examples include Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinth, Iris, Muscari and many more. Any J. Parker bulb in flower in your garden before 14th June 2016.

To enter, you can share your image on our Facebook page, follow and tweet us @JParkersBulbs or e-mail it to us (along with your post code) to the address competition@jparkers.co.uk
All entries will be considered, and you can enter as many times as you wish. Competition closes 14th June 2016 and winners will be notified by e-mail before 26th June 2016.

To view some of last year’s entrants, please click here..

1. To enter the competition, please use one of three methods;

A) Share your image on our J. Parker’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/jparkers.co.uk),
B) Tweet your image to @Jparkersbulbs on Twitter
C) E-mail your entry under 5mb to us at competition@jparkers.co.uk

2. We will view all entries and any which meet the criteria outlined below will be considered for the prize of £100 worth of J. Parker’s vouchers.

3. All entries must be original images, taken by the entrant, of Bulbs in flower purchased from J. Parker’s in the past. You must own all rights to the image and in entering the competition you agree to allow us to use your image in further promotions, on social media or in print.

4. Entrants also agree that their names may be published with their entry. No other details will be shared with any third parties.

5. The winning entry will be judged on both the quality of the plant and the image. The Judge’s decision is final.

6. All varieties of Daffodils and Narcissi will be considered, but only those purchased from J. Parker’s will qualify for the competition prizes.

7. The winner will receive a £100 voucher to spend on any products currently offered by J. Parker’s. This cannot be exchanged for cash and there is no substitution for this prize.