Parker’s Perfect Bouquets Competition

It’s September, and with a new month comes a list of what can be planted. But this one is incredibly important! September is a vital time for the garden as it it when most of our top quality bulbs are sent straight to you ready for your garden. Getting your spring bulbs into the ground is a must, but what about your beautiful blooms? There is no better time to not only harvest any remaining flowers in the garden, but also to create a stunning cut flower bouquet for the home with them. If that sounds like a plan, then this is the competition for you.

How to enter

Submit photos of your Parker’s own cut flower bouquets to be in for a chance of winning.

  • FACEBOOK – Like our Facebook page and share your image to our page with the caption ‘Parkers Perfect Bouquet entry’.
  • TWITTER – Follow us at @JParkersBulbs and tag us in your photos with the hashtag #parkersbouquet
  • INSTAGRAM – Follow us at @jparkersbulbs and tag us in your photos with the hashtag #parkersbouquet
  • EMAIL – Email us at [email protected] (Entries must be under 5mb – please include your name and postcode)

What you win

The winner of our Parker’s Perfect Bouquet Competition will win 3 of our BRAND NEW Tulip Bouquet collections (worth £39.90)! Each of these gorgeous collections come in complimentary colours and shades to create a truly stunning display to brighten up any garden. Supplied as top quality bulbs, these spring-flowering beauties will be the perfect treat when they bloom, giving you flower displays worthy of RHS Chelsea.

When does the Parker’s Perfect Bouquet Competition end?

The competition ends 23rd September. The winner will be announced the following Monday with an accompanying blog post.

Terms and Conditions

  • All entries which meet the criteria outlined below will be considered for the prize of 3x Tulip Bouquet Collections.
  • All entries using photographs must be original images, taken/produced by the entrant.
  • Entrants agree that their names may or may not be published with their entry.
  • One winner will receive 3x Tulip Bouquet Collections sold by J Parker’s. There is no substitution for this prize and it cannot be exchanged for cash.
  • All varieties of flowers will be considered, but only those purchased from J. Parker’s will qualify for the competition prizes.
  • Send your entries by email to [email protected] (email under 5mb) or you can share it with us on our social media pages.
  • All entries will be considered, and you can enter as many times as you wish. Competition closes September 17th 2021. Winner will be notified by email on 20th September 2021.

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How To Plant Calla Lilies


Zantedeschia, often known as Calla lilies, are popular exotic-looking plants that are native to South Africa. If you’re new to gardening, or would like to learn how to plant Zantedeschia, you’ve come to the right place! This handy guide includes everything you need to know about planting and caring for Zantedeschia (Calla Lilies).

How to Plant Zantedeschia

Learning how to plant Zantedeschia is as easy as pie! They like moist, well-drained soil and prefer to be planted closer to the surface. Where possible, plant them in a sunnier location. As a native to Africa, they will appreciate it!

Plant the tubers shallow, so the top of the tubers are slightly exposed. Water freely and apply a balanced fertiliser every two weeks until the flowers have faded. Keep slightly moist in winter.

Each tuber will produce several stems, perfect for creating cut flowers. Brighten up any room with a delightful bouquet or surprise your friends and family with a bunch of these stunning flowers.

Getting the most from your tubers


Calla Lilies can be lifted after flowering and stored throughout winter, allowing you to plant them again in spring. Simply dig them up once they have died back. The best time for this is usually in autumn, around the time the first frosts are beginning to set in. Dust off the soil and place them somewhere cool and dry on some old newspaper for several days to allow them to dry off. They can then be stored in a dark, dry area and a cool spot in some peat moss over the winter.

Once spring arrives again and the temperatures turn mild, you can replant your Calla Lilies for a gorgeous show throughout the season!

Some of our Favourites

Zantedeschia Cantor (Calla Lily)

A very popular variety for contemporary flower arrangements, exotic Zantedeschia Cantor boasts deep purple blooms.

Zantedeschia Lipstick (Calla Lily)

The Calla Lipstick presents gentle cream spadices, surrounded by contrasting vivid pink spathes.

Zantedeschia aethiopica (Calla Lily)

Zantedeschia aethiopica is a wonderful Calla Lily, also known as the White Arum Lily. This premium variety looks superb grown in groups within the flower bed and border.

Shop our full range of Zantedeschia (Calla Lilies) on our website now.

Read more from J Parker’s

Where to plant fragrant flowers

Fragrant flowers are best suited to the most optimal placement for the full garden experience. All flowers are beautiful, but not all of them have a strong enough fragrance that can transform your garden from not just looking gorgeous, but smelling gorgeous too!

Fragrant walkways

Walkways are a great place to plant your fragrant flowers. Their position on the ground lining the walkway will allow the breeze to gently lift the scent from the flowers. It will fill the air as you follow the path, leaving a beautiful scent in the air . A great plant to make your walkways fragrant is Lavender. With tall stems it will not only make your walkway more defined but the foliage will add some density to your garden. When all the stems come together they will fill the air with the sweet fragrance.

Aromatic hanging baskets

Hanging baskets are a great feature for any garden. They can help turn your uneventful walls into something beautiful! As they’re positioned above the ground the fragrance from the baskets will immediately fill the surrounding area with the scent, making each breath that little bit more sweeter. A favourite for hanging baskets is Petunia Tumbelina Priscilla, a highly scented plant with long trails. Our double flowering variety, blooms in abundance throughout the summer months ensuring that your garden stays fragrant for longer.

Scented statement piece

The cherry on top of your beautifully scented garden: a statement piece. The biggest and most beautiful of the bunch, a statement piece in the garden is sure to grab all of the attention. Which is why choosing the right plant is important! Wherever this plant is positioned it will have people coming back for more of its sweet scent. The plant Dianthus Doris seems to be made for this spot. Ideal for pots and containers, Dianthus Doris produces a beautiful pink bloom which continues to flower from June right up to October. It is sure to provide colour in your garden for many months each year.

Great smelling flowers only add to the fun of gardening. It’s nice to have flowers that look good. But when you have flowers that also smell good it creates a whole new atmosphere in your garden. Whether you’re weeding, watering or just admiring your hard work, you’ll be able to take a deep breath and smell what you have successfully cultivated.

Check out some of our other blogs:

Our Complete Guide To Planting Dahlia Tubers

Dahlias are an ever-popular choice for many a summer garden. Their easy-to-grow tubers produce phenomenal displays of colour and texture in a range of styles throughout the season. However, if you’re new to gardening, you may be wondering how to plant these beauties.

Planting dahlia tubers is a straight forward process, perfect for those with less experience. With their beauty and effortless maintenance, it’s easy to see why they’re a horticultural favourite.

Why Choose Dahlias?

  1. Dahlias are easy to grow and suitable for gardeners of all skill levels. These blooms are fast-growing by nature and will flower in the first year and for many years to come (keep them stored and frost-free over the winter).
  2. Dahlia tubers are versatile and will tolerate most types of well-drained, fertile soil or compost. They can be grown successfully in pots, tubs, window boxes and in borders.
  3. They are a firm favourite due to the many different types, sizes, and colours available on the market.
  4. New varieties are created each year. Once you’re hooked on Dahlias, you will always be able to find something new.
  5. They flower continuously through the summer, right up until the first frost of the autumn.
  6. They look fantastic as cut flowers, making any display a memorable one.

Varieties

Before we move onto planting dahlia tubers, here are the main types of Dahlias. Each variety can be classified into several different categories, representing the main characteristics of the flower blooms themselves.

Anemone Flowering – Also known as Powder Puff Dahlias, these beauties produce unique flowers with double feathered central petals resembling a fluffy ball.

Cactus – A favourite for many years, Cactus Dahlias produce fully double pointed petals which turn backwards to create a tubular petal effect. Are sometimes referred to as Spiky Dahlias.

Dark Leaf – As the name suggests, the foliage on this variety is not the usual bright green that you see on your average Dahlia. They create an abundance of flowers through the summer, with each bloom appearing on darker (usually purple/black) foliage.

Decorative – Produces large, fully double flowers with rounded petals through the summer right up until the first frosts. A perfect choice for cut flower displays.

Dwarf – A range of smaller, more petite Dahlias which are perfect for the front of the border. They are prolific flowering varieties, look also great planted mixed in pots on the patio.

Dinner Plate – As the name suggests these are the largest flowers within the range, often up to as much as 25cm in diameter (see illustration below). Another popular choice as cut flowers.

Pompom – Love the unusual? Pompom Dahlias produce ball-shaped blooms that appear through the summer. Each petal has rounded tips and are curved upwards at the edges, and are available in plenty of colours.

Planting Dahlia Tubers

All our Dahlias are supplied as top quality dormant tubers which can be planted as soon as you receive them. The success rate from these dahlia tubers is extremely high. They are also an inexpensive way to create a large number of flowers from one plant.

Dahlia tubers should 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 the summer to help growth and they can be dead headed when necessary.

Planting Dahlia tubers in Pots & Containers

Planting Dahlias in pots and containers is a fantastic way of brightening up your patios. Their unique colours and shapes will brighten any space, a perfect choice for gardens with less space to play with.

  1. Once your tubers arrive safely in the post, they can be soaked overnight in a bucket of water to soak up as much moisture as possible.
  2. When all signs of frost have passed they are ready to pot up, leaving plenty of time to grow a well-established root before the summer.
  3. It is recommended to place some pebbles at the bottom of the pots before adding the compost to help with drainage, by ensuring the compost doesn’t block the drainage holes.
  4. Fill in some compost and then add the tuber with the growing tip facing upwards.
  5. Continue to fill in the rest of the compost to firmly hold the tuber, making sure the growing tip at the top is peeping out and is not completely covered. This is now ready to be moved to the patio or garden area, with access to as much sun as possible.
  6. Water well after potting, keeping the compost moist but not waterlogged, as the tubers will rot. Add a liquid feed weekly during the growing season and provide some protection from slugs as they have a strong love for Dahlias.
  7. If growing tall varieties, insert a cane to help with growth and to keep secure.
  8. Very little pruning is needed with Dahlias. However, you can deadhead as flowers begin to fade.

More Dahlia Tutorials

Dinner Plate Dahlias

Dwarf Gallery Dahlias

Cactus Dahlias

Bishop Dahlias

How to make pressed flowers

Do you hate seeing your flowers fade? It always feels like a shame when you have to throw out cut flowers, but what if we told you that you don’t have to? By turning your blooms into pressed flowers, you’ll be able to keep them as an everlasting ornament. Pressed flowers also add personalised additions to greeting cards and invitations, or even jewellery if you’re feeling crafty! Here’s everything you need to know about pressing flowers.

Step 1: Choose your Flowers

Freshness is the key. Choose flowers that are either still in bud form, or that are freshly bloomed. If you’re picking them from a garden, do so in the morning right after the dew has evaporated. One thing to note is that flowers with naturally flat faces are the easiest to press.

Step 2: Prepping

Once you have chosen your flowers, it’s time to prep.

  1. Hold the stems under water immediately after cutting. Then, recut the stems at an angle.
  2. Remove foliage that will be below the waterline in the vase.
  3. Place flowers in a clean vase with water and flower food (or a teaspoon of sugar). Keep them in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight for a few hours.
  4. To press thick flowers like roses, split them down the middle with scissors or a knife.
  5. Lay the flat face of the flower on your paper and you are ready to press.

Step 3: Making Pressed Flowers

You will need:
  • books
  • newspaper

Open a book and line it with newspaper. Place your flowers (as flat as you can) on the page. Then, carefully close the book and weight it down (additional heavy books work well as weights). Store this pile in a warm, dry place and check on your flower specimens daily (this can take a couple of days to a few weeks for your specimen to dry completely). Finally, once your flowers are dry, carefully remove them and enjoy your pressed blooms!

Here are some of our favourite flowers for pressing:

Check out some of our other blogs:

5 Gardening tips from the Chelsea Flower Show 2020

Usually held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has gone digital this year! From virtual garden tours from RHS judges and top garden designers to gardening experts sharing planting tips and tricks, there has been plenty to enjoy from this year’s show.

We’ve rounded up our favourite Chelsea-approved gardening tips, so that you can create your own prize-winning garden at home.

1. Working with Small Spaces

With many of us stuck at home at the moment and with many people living in urban spaces, you can still enjoy a bounty of plants, no matter the size. Create new levels with hanging plants, experiment with mobile potted plants and elevate plants with shelving or ladders.

We recommend:

Bacopa Scopia Mixed
Lady Fern

2. Create a Chelsea Inspired Bouquet

Nikki Tibbles, founder of British florists Wild at Heart, gave us a crafty tutorial on how to create our very own Chelsea-inspired bouquets with flowers from our garden. Combine the delicately coloured flowers of pale Peonies, pastel Delphiniums and Clematis flowers to create your own award -winning vase displays and bouquets.

Our recommendations:

Delphinium Summer Skies
Clematis Aromatica

3. Healing Gardens

Garden designer Robert Myers shared his top tips for designing a healing garden. Now more than ever, our gardens are a haven to bring calm to our lives and help with our mental/physical well being. Restore calm with plenty of textured, multi-layered natural greenery, and add a sensory experience with scented plants around seating areas.

Our recommendations:

Leylandii Hedging
Lavender Munstead

4. Create a Mini Allotment

The Skinny Jean Gardener, Lee Connelly, shared his top tips for getting you and the kids growing your own edible produce. Lee says “grow something that you love to eat” and to keep it simple and easy with low maintenance fruit and veg. With space often being an issue for gardeners, Lee shares that you can create a mini allotment with just a window sill or washing up bowl!

Our recommendations:

Blueberry Spartan
Goji Berry

5. Think about Wildlife

Designer Tom Massey shared with us how to encourage wildlife by growing a mini-meadow. To create a meadow planting scheme, mix ornamental grasses with perennials to add both colour and movement to your displays.

Our recommendations:

Pennisetum ‘Hameln’
Allium ‘Drumsticks’

Check out our customers #mychelseagarden photos!

Summer Garden Essentials

With Spring upon us and summer on the way, plan a spectacular garden with our list of essential summer garden plants. From colourful, pollinator-friendly blooms to gorgeous leafy foliage plants, discover our top choices for transforming any space into a nature haven in the summertime.

Essential Container Plants

Container plants are so versatile, add a flash of colour to patios, create a focal point in the garden and they’re perfect for smaller spaces; the possibilities are endless. Here are our favourite compact plants for summer pots:

Geraniums

Noted for their fragrant, bright flowers, Geraniums have become increasingly popular in the summer garden. Versatile and long-flowering, our Patio Geraniums are perfect for summer pots.

Dahlias

With a rich assortment of flower colours, shapes and sizes, along with their amazing bloom time, are what makes Dahlias a staple of the summer garden. Our Dwarf Dahlia range are ideal for patio pots or the front of the border.

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas in pots and containers bring a burst of elegant beauty to any corner of the garden. Their compact floral clusters make an impressive display in containers.

Essential Border Plants

Planning a border is one of the most exciting aspects of gardening, where you can truly let your creativity flow. We’ve selected our favourites plants that are guaranteed to add colour, texture and character to the summer border.

Hostas

Create a border full of natural beauty with Hostas. These amazing perennials are easy to grow and are perfect for shaded borders.

Petunias

One of the most popular and easy to grow summer bedding plants. These prolific bloomers are superb way of introducing fun and bright colours to your beds and borders.

Carex

These evergreen grasses bring height and texture to the border. These easy to care for plants are great for softening harsh landscapes and adding a contrast against summer blooms.

Essential Basket Plants

Hanging baskets, with their colourful flowers and lush plants, add an extra dimension to houses, patios and garden walls. From bringing bees and butterflies flocking to the garden, to adding a burst of colour for small spaces, here are our top hanging basket varieties.

Fuchsias

Blooming non-stop from early summer to autumn, Fuchsias are great for attracting pollinators and look amazing in baskets. With a colourful assortment of shades and sizes to choose from, the options are endless.

Begonias

A traditional garden favourite. Trailing Begonias will give endless months of bright colour and look especially eye-catching in hanging baskets. Easy to grow and long-flowering bloomers.

Million Bells

Fill your summer garden with the cascading blooms of beautiful Million Bells. With a rainbow of colours to choose from, add a dose of vibrancy to the summer garden with these prolific-flowering plants.

Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Garden

Starting a garden is one of the most rewarding things one can do and anyone do it. From creating a cut flower garden, growing your own sustainable veg patch or planting an amazing border display, getting your hands dirty in the garden has so many benefits, but it can be difficult to know where to start.

Here are our 7 easy steps to guide you through the process of starting your own garden!

1. Make a Plan

First things first, what do you want to grow? A vegetable garden? An herb garden? A flower garden? All of the above? All are great choices but have different maintenance requirements. I’d recommend for all beginners to start small until you know what you’re getting into.

2. Pick the Perfect Spot

Your garden location, soil type, amount of sun exposure and access to water will play a big part in what plants you’ll be able to grow. Most plants, vegetables and fruit thrive in sunny spots but if you garden is shaded for most of the day, there are still plenty of plants (Hostas, Heucheras, Grasses) that can thrive in the shade. Go outside and study your outdoor space, learn about your soil type, and then research which plants would be the best fit.

3. Start the Ground Work

Get rid of the top layer covering the area you plan to plant. If you want quick results (e.g., it’s already spring and you want veggies this summer), cut it out. With a spade, cut the ground into sections to make it easier to remove, then put it on your compost pile to decompose. Now, you have your planting area ready to go!

4. Choose Your Plants

Choose your shopping style. Some gardeners like studying plant catalogues to create their shopping list, others head to the garden centre to select their plants, or you can simply shop online. The key planting seasons are Spring and Autumn, so choose your plants according to their planting times. Summer-flowering bulbs/plants should be planted in the Spring (Dahlias, Begonias, Roses) and Spring-flowering bulbs/plants should be planted in the Autumn (Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus).

5. Hydration is Key

Close care and attention is essential for young plants. Once plants establish a strong root system in the ground (usually a few weeks after planting), they tend to be less needy. After that, how often you need to water depends on your soil, humidity, and rainfall; although once a week is a good place to start.

6. Mulch for Protection

Mulching is life-saving for gardeners. Mulching your plants helps them retain moisture and keep weeds at bay. Cover the soil with a couple of inches of mulch after planting and you won’t have to water as often. Also, by preventing sunlight from hitting the soil, you’ll prevent weeds from forming in your soil.

  • For annuals: Choose a mulch that decomposes in a few months.
  • For perennials: Use a longer-lasting mulch such as bark chips.

7. Care, Grow and Enjoy!

Now that all the planting is done, now is the time to care for your garden and watch it grow.

Don’t forget to keep up with common garden jobs such as:

  • Watering plants regularly. 
  • Pull out any weeds.
  • Prune dead blooms, or leggy growth on plants/shrubs.
  • Remove garden pests (e.g. Aphids) by picking them off the plant, hosing them off with water, or spraying on an insecticidal soap.
  • Support tall plants (e.g., tomatoes) with a trellis, stake or pergola.

Why Gardening is Great for Your Wellbeing

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”

Luther Burbank

According to the World Health Organisation, good health means more than just the absence of bad health symptoms. It means the presence of positive emotions, quality of life, sense of community and happiness. Research has shown many times that gardening is good for our mental and physical health. With GPs now even prescribing gardening to patients with depression and anxiety, here’s how our gardens are special spaces with many restorative qualities and benefits.

Gardening Connects Us with Nature

“Embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein

Nature has long been recognised for its relaxing qualities as a place for humans to find tranquillity and healing. Recreating nature around our home is a savvy way to develop that special bond with our environment. Surround yourself and your family with cheer everyday by planting an array of pollinator-friendly trees, bushes, and flowers to attract of bees, butterflies and everything in between to your garden.

Gardening Brings Responsibility

“Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

A person who can grow things is a person a little more in tune with the earth. Gardening is also a great way of caring for something; sometimes just the satisfaction of keeping a plant alive, and the responsibility that comes with it, is enough to give us a sense of purpose and pride. They are places where our efforts result in a real sense of achievement, boosting confidence and self-esteem.

Gardening is Great Exercise

“The key to happy living is that Mind should be at rest and body must be exercised and active.” – Hiyamedia

The health benefits of gardening are impressive. Gardening uses all the major muscle groups – the legs, shoulders, stomach, arms, neck, and back all get a workout. Gardening also increases flexibility and strengthens joints. Recent research indicates that 30 minutes daily of moderate exercise such as gardening lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, helps prevent diabetes and heart disease, and prevents or slows osteoporosis. You may even live longer. It’s all good news for gardeners!

Gardening is Therapeutic

“I like gardening — it’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.” – Alice Sebold

Even the simplest things can brighten our mood, as soil has been found to have similar effects on the brain as antidepressants to lift mood. A study by the University of Bristol and colleagues at University College London found that the ‘friendly’ bacteria normally found in soil, altered their behaviour in a similar way to that produced by an antidepressant. Simply planting up some potted Dahlias or a watering a hanging basket can have a huge impact on your stress levels, helping to stave off anxiety, slash depression risk, boost productivity and ease insomnia.

Happy gardening this spring planting season!

beautiful, flowers, and gif image

Pretty Pink Flowers to Inspire Your Garden

Looking for something pretty in pink? For decades, pink flowers have been a popular choice for gardeners, and add a sweet, delicate and playful touch to our flower borders and pots. From scorching hot pinks to soft pale pastels, discover the perfect pink blooms to create a dazzling summer garden.

Dreamy Dahlias

Dahlia ‘Painted Lady’

Plant a border filled with masses of these romantic, bi-coloured Dahlias. Blooming with crimson streaked, pale pink petals, these unique flowers are nothing short of breathtaking.

Dahlia ‘Wizard of Oz’

Bright and cheerful, this Pom Pom Dahlia’s soft pink blooms are made up of layers of silky, curved petals that create their perfectly formed spherical shape.

Dahlia ‘Pink Blend Mix’

From lovely lavenders to magenta pinks, this assortment of pretty pink Dahlias will fill all your summer garden needs. An easy to grow mixture of Pompom and Decorative varieties.

Blushing Begonias

Begonia ‘Sweet Spice Appleblossom’

Fill your baskets and window boxes with these cascading Begonias. Their fragrant, double blooms will radiate beauty in the summer garden for months of pleasure.

Begonia Superba ‘Pink’

These giant deep pink blooms are the perfect choice for a smaller garden. Compact and versatile, enjoy these vibrant flowers in the border, in pots or as cut flowers for the home.

Begonia Sweet Spice ‘Bounty’

Become the envy of your neighbours with hanging baskets that practically glow with beauty. These soft pink, double blooms will brighten up the summer garden and bring a gorgeous scent.

Lavish Lilies

Lily ‘Perfect Joy’

Short and sweet. This compact Lily boasts with the most beautiful strawberry petals that fade into a cream colour in the centre. Perfect for summer pots.

Lily ‘Curly Sue’

Add a touch of style to your summer garden with these delicate and exotic blooms. These light pink, star-shaped flowers make stunning cut flowers for the home.

Calla ‘Lipstick’

Why not try a classic Calla Lily? These outstanding fuchsia flowers will shine in the summer garden and will bloom all season long. They also make stunning cut flowers.