Next weekend starts the lifting of several restrictions that have been put place since the start of the year. With outdoor social mixing once again allowed, it is high time to show off that garden you’ve put so much work into! After months of grafting, weeding and watering. Spending as much time as you could outside, let’s make the garden the centre of attention!
Tidying up your garden
Time to rummage through the back of your garden shed and find the lawn mower, it’s finally time to shine! Whether it’s a simple back and forth or you’re an expert at mowing lawn stripes, this is undoubtedly the first step to tidying up your garden. Much like your grass, now is a great time to ensure your patio or decking are up to scratch and ready to display summer essentials such as barbecue’s, furniture, or maybe even more potted plants. The patio is your oyster.
With outdoor meetings now on everybody’s agenda seating is essential. It doesn’t have to be fancy seating or bespoke furniture. There are many ways to turn your garden into a social space. Just ensure you have a space large enough to seat the six people of your choice. Furniture doesn’t always have to be an option, a picnic blanket spread on the floor. Even camping chairs can get the job done. So long as you have a space that can accommodate your chosen group all you have to do is provide the entertainment.
Clear the clutter
You did the hard part of transforming your garden. Now you’re stuck with the remains. If there is still any clutter left over its high time to get rid of it. Clean out any garages, greenhouses or sheds while you still have the free time. The best way to get rid of garden waste is your local recycling centre or tip. A great suggestion is labelling boxes to ensure they go to the right waste bin. If you run out of time or simply can’t find a place suitable, store the waste somewhere it can’t be easily accessed or seen.
Lockdown has been such an incredibly hard time for everyone. The gardening industry has seen a massive boost since the start of lockdown with more people picking up the hobby. We at J Parker’s have been so happy to provide quality bulbs to everyone – old and new customers. It doesn’t matter if you are a gardening expert or novice, you should be proud of the garden you’ve created. As Summer comes closer it is time to let your garden loose. Show off your new hanging baskets, bedding plants or potted tubers and enjoy yourself!
Need some more garden tips? Check out these blogs:
Maintaining a beautiful garden can be quite a challenge. However by selecting the right perennial plants, you can have interest in the garden all year. Perennials provide flowers year after year. To help you grow a beautiful garden, we’ve selected our favourite perennial plants that will provide interest to your garden all-year round.
Native to Eastern North America and Canada, this popular perennial is perfect for adding colour and interest to the summer garden. An added bonus of this Monarda is that their enticing fragrance attracts butterflies and bees, so they are perfect for anyone planning a wildlife garden.
Native to western North America, Lewisia are one of the most treasured rock garden plants. This gorgeous little plant produces rosette-shaped flowers that come in a range of different colours and is super durable, even in sandy or rocky soils. Perfect for rockeries or pots.
Scabiosa is a plant that every gardener should try. Also known as the pincushion flower, Scabiosa is an easy-care plant that works well nearly everywhere and their flowers are a stunning sight to behold. Perfect for planting in sunny borders or flower beds.
Looking for a more natural garden scheme? Miscanthus are a great group of ornamental grasses that can give lots of pleasure in the garden and require very little work in return. These stunning hardy perennial grasses will make a great statement in any garden bed or border. Great year-round perennials for the garden.
There are few plants more forgiving of sun and bad soil than Sedum. These plants thrive in conditions that many other plants wouldn’t thrive in. Sedums are frequently used to create beautiful ground cover or rock gardens.
Native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere, Veronica are low-care, pollinator friendly and easy-to-grow perennials. Producing long spikes of tiny clustered flowers, Veronica come in a range of beautiful and vibrant colours. These drought tolerant plants will thrive in sunny spots around the garden.
Carex commonly feature triangular stems bearing linear or strap-shaped leaves. Their vibrant leaves provide long lasting appeal and require very little care for a low maintenance garden. Perfect year-round perennials for the garden.
If you missed the Chelsea Flower Show last week, the gardens showcased everything from wildlife havens, wildflower fields to woodland wonderlands. To help you discover the top gardening trends from the 2019 gardens, we’ve compiled a guide to the best themes that you can get inspired by and recreate in your very own garden.
Here are some of the popular garden themes to inspire you…
Wildflowers made a huge appearance at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. Sprinkled with lovely blue Camassias, lupins and grasses, Mark Gregory’s Welcome to Yorkshire garden showcased the beauty and freshness of a perennial spring meadow in a garden setting. Here are some of our recommendations for adding some natural beauty to the garden.
The bright blue spiky flowers of this Esculenta make this beautiful hardy plant a perfect choice to naturalise in your gardens. Blooming in summer, these beautiful vibrant flowers will form clumps of bright blue linear leaves and leave you with a spectacular wild garden look.
With their mass of pea-like flowers, these Lupins are very easy to grow for beautiful flowers year after year. This variety showcases elegant violet-blue blooms above a base of star-shaped green foliage that is a true showstopper in the summer border.
This RHS Garden Merit Award winner is a true delight for a cottage garden look. This Foxglove’s stunning creamy yellow bell-shaped flowers are great for attracting butterflies and bees to the garden to liven up the summer garden.
Even in a small town garden, Finnish designer Tiana Suonio shows how to create a wildlife haven retreat. The theme of planting fragrant and diverse perennials was a recurring theme this year, with flowers to attract pollinators. Suonio creates a multi-layered meadow of plants from Lily of the Valley (Finnish National Flower) and strong Willows that can handle the demanding Finnish growing conditions.
The lovely tumbling branches of this Salix caprea will provide your garden will year round interest. Their silver, fuzzy catkins open up in the spring to become soft silky flowers with yellow anthers before lush, hanging foliage appears.
Within Suonio’s Finish landscape, the informal garden’s style featured meadow planting with daisies. Loved by butterflies and bees, the giant white daisy-like flowers of the ‘Snow Lady’ will create a sight to behold in the summer time.
Peonies were a delightful addition to the show gardens this year, providing a pop of summer colour. Our fragrant Peony Sarah Bernhardt will add a beautiful flush of candy-pink colour in their frilly, delicate blooms that is hard to miss.
The predominant colour for almost all gardens this year is green. From lush foliage to green flowers and tall grasses. Andy Sturgeon’s M&G Garden focused on nature’s regenerative power in a woodland landscape and used predominately green plants to get his message across and provide an ancient quality.
This stunning Euphorbia produces bright, upright stems smothered in bright green and yellow flowers. They create a fabulous and unique summer display when added to a herbaceous border or patio containers.
This bright and beautiful grass will create a gorgeous lush green garden look. This dwarf mound-forming variety produces masses of thin, spiky golden yellow leaves for a vibrant yet natural dash of colour in the summer garden.
These perfect naturalisers produce creamy-white blooms, densely set on very long stems. Whether planted in beds or borders, this Camassia variety are an amazing addition en-masse in any wild garden.
Unlikely materials, industrial features and rubble provided inspiration for a whole planting scheme this year with Graham Bodle’s garden. Pines, textured foliage and natural accents against the industrial landscape were added to provide a relaxing garden space. The M&G Garden features a delicate planting selection of fiery Geums, Primulas and Digitalis.
Bodle’s garden featured a myriad of fiery coloured Geums, so get the look with this beautiful orange Geum variety. The rich, vibrant blooms of Geum Queen of Orange are the perfect hardy perennials for attracting pollinators and will flower all summer long.
The Quarry Garden featured a flurry of foliage and grasses to give an effect of an industrial space being reclaimed by nature. This spectacular variegated grass has an unusual cascading effect with stunning bi-coloured leaves to add a touch of the wild to the garden.
Bodle paired the beautiful silvery-leaved Digitalis purpurea alongside the lovely Primula Candelabra as an arresting combination. Digitalis purpurea, a classic cottage garden favourite, will add a beautiful mixture of colour in the summer time for a display of natural beauty.
With wild trees and shrubs and a cool calm colour palette of green and blue, the woodland garden designed by the Duchess of Cambridge was designed to build a relaxing and calming space. With beautiful foliage and wildlife-attracting plants as a focal point of the Back to Nature garden, here are our woodland inspired planting recommendations.
The calming blue shades of the Vinca Minor‘s flowers makes a fantastic ground cover feature for creating a calm and collective atmosphere and add a touch of the wild nature of a woodland floor to the garden.
Kate’s garden featured a selection of ferns to enhance the feel of a woodland’s conditions. The architectural form and fresh green fronds of the ‘Lady Fern’ gives some height with their feathery shaped form. Also, this fern was awarded the RHS Garden Merit Award.
As a Winner of the RHS Award of Garden Merit and voted plant of the Centenary during the Chelsea Flower Show 2013, it’s easy to say this Geranium is a guaranteed gardener favourite. This Geranium variety blooms gorgeous purple flowers and makes ideal ground cover.
To make a garden– a beautiful garden! You must choose garden colour schemes smartly. On a deeper level, colours can evoke certain emotions in us. Bright colours can make us feel more energetic and vibrant. Cool colours can make us feel calm, content, tired or melancholy and pastel colours can make us feel relaxed, refreshed and peaceful. In a garden space intended for peace, quiet and relaxation, pastels are the perfect garden colour scheme this summer.
Using pastels in the garden can create a space where we can unwind after a hard day and feel refreshed. A pastel garden can be placed almost anywhere in the yard. Pastel colored flowers look beautiful in bright sunlight, but also stand out in shade gardens and can brighten up especially dark areas.
This award winning Hibiscus Syriacus has cool pale blue flowers, arranged like layers of ruffled chiffon. The centres are subtly marked with flashes of star-like burgundy-purple veins. A fabulous deciduous shrub which holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit, its quality’s guaranteed. A fine stand- alone specimen, or reliable addition to the shrub border, it will also make a great informal hedge or screen. It is a great choice for attracting butterflies to your garden.
This beautiful clump forming Jacob’s ladder that produces clusters of small lavender blue flowers on shorter stems with fern like foliage. This compact perennial is perfect for patio pots or rockeries for creating a burst of cool colour.
This pale, baby pink Asiatic Lily is an excellent choice for bedding with very sturdy stems and upright flowers that will add plenty of elegant, pastel colour to your garden in the summer. For a lovely soft pastel display plant alongside creamy pink roses such as Joie de Vivre or our pink and white Dahlia Mix. These can be cut for a delicate and romantic bouquet.
Gladioli Adrenaline are a stunning blend of pale pink and white, they are sure to add glamour to your summer garden. We recommend planting Gladioli in groups at monthly intervals, starting early spring, to extend the flowering season for a showcase that lasts all summer long.
A twist on the traditional lilac evergreen Lavender varieties, Rosea produces beautiful pale pink flower heads as well as the instantly recognizable Lavender fragrance. They are ideal for planting in rows as illustrated or in pots around the patio and garden.
Hollyhocks, otherwise known as Alcea, are a stable of many gardeners and synonymous with cottage garden displays. This beautiful Double Yellow variety produces stunning flowers in a sunny yellow shade. The flowers are perfect for attracting bees, butterflies and other nectar loving insects into your garden.
Unique pale yellow blooms that look amazing in the summer border. These Pompom Dahlias produce fabulous double spherical blooms which are sure to add a new dimension of shape and texture to any garden. Each flower head is made up of layers of silky, inwardly curved petals creating a perfectly formed sphere. Tall sturdy stems not only provide excellent support; but also provide the Dahlia with its iconic bobbing habit in the breeze – an uplifting and calming sight, especially in a hot sunny garden.
In 1976, Rose Peace was voted the first ever ‘world’s favourite rose’ by the Rose Hall of Fame, and it isn’t difficult to see why. This exquisite variety of Hybrid Tea Rose produces elaborate, slightly frilled double blooms of creamy yellow, flushed at the edges with delicate pale pink. The Peace Tea Rose also emits a mild but delightfully sweet fragrance, as with other Hybrid Tea varieties.
An upright deciduous shrub which produces dense clusters of sweetly fragrant, light pink and white panicles over attractive heart shaped foliage from late spring into early summer. When in bloom, the gorgeous flowers will bring butterflies to your garden.
A stunning new bi-colour addition to the Agapanthus range, with purple buds that open to reveal white flowers with a lilac purple stripe through each petal. Known as the African lily, these are drought tolerant and like well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. They flower throughout August and September, boast masses of strappy foliage and tall 1m stems making these the ideal addition to the back of the border.
Tumbelina Petunia produce large unique double blooms in abundance during the summer months. The numerous flowers and its long trailing habit (up to 60-80cm) make it perfect for hanging baskets. Flowering from June through to October the fragrant flowers can create a wonderful display whether planted on their own or with other trailing varieties or colours. Priscilla is a lilac- purple variety with heavily veined petals.
Do you have a compact garden and are looking to create an amazing summer display but don’t know how? In this guide, we will be sharing all our small garden tips and tricks to turn your miniature garden/tiny terrace and petite patios in to a show stopping display of shapes and colours.
Vertical Planting: Create a Living Wall
With a little bit of creativity, a few plants and a vertical corner just waiting to be brought to life, there’s no reason for anyone to give up having a garden due to lack of space. If you don’t think your gardening skills are up to a whole host of plants, try growing a climbing plant up one wall for an easy display of stunning foliage and flowers.
Honeysuckle is a fantastic climber with the added bonus of attracting wildlife with their sweetly scented flowers. Our American Beauty variety is a beautiful, eye-catching plant for their mulit-coloured rich tones of blooms, making them a popular choice for the summer garden.
This gorgeous variety of Clematis is a strong grower producing a dazzling array of white flowers with creamy yellow stamens. This climber makes the perfect addition to the summer garden for coverage on trellises and archways.
Think Big (Impact)
Ample pathways can make a real statement in a small garden. Planting scented plants, flowers and herbs will create an impact on the senses with a variety of bold colours and fragrant scents, as well as attracting wildlife to the garden.
This twist on the traditional lilac evergreen Lavender varieties, Rosea is ideal for planting in rows along pathways, around the patio and in the garden for a display of beautiful pale pink blooms and their staple lavender fragrance.
Bring a bright mixture of colours to your pathways this summer with there pretty foxgloves. Penstemon Mixed have a neat compact habit making them a versatile option for the summer garden as they are suitable for beds, borders and containers. Also, as an added bonus, they are loved by bees and butterflies!
Create Secluded Areas
Divide the garden and make your own secluded areas of the garden to break up the space to make your garden feel larger by adding areas of interest. By using tall narrow plants or climbers you can create spaces for different functions like a place for contemplation or an edible garden.
Noted for it’s fascinating yellow colour, this variety of yellow bamboo can create a striking structure in the garden when planted together for a captivating and contrasting effect. A fantastic strong plant for designing a beautiful summer garden structure.
This ornamental grass produces strong green stems topped with pink cloud like flowers making this the perfect variety for creating an area of relaxation in the garden with their dense foliage and feathery flowers.
Don’t bombard your garden with plants. For smaller spaces, keeping clutter at bay is the best way of creating the feeling of more space. Choosing the right plants for your space can be detrimental to creating a beautiful garden design and hanging basket, potted and patio plants are perfect for small spaces as they do not take up too much room and can be placed on the ground or up on shelves for an explosion of blooms and colour.
The fabulous bright colours of our Begonia Superba are the perfect eyecatching potted plants for your garden spaces. Suitable for planting in pots on the patio, place these flowers in clusters around your front porch, corners of decking or on low walls for a burst of summer colour.
The beautiful shades of pink blooms in our Calibrachoa Chameleon Pink Passion make a stunning addition to summer pots and hanging baskets. Pot up in clusters around corners or along walls for a pretty display or plant in baskets for wall hangings.
Types of Small Gardens
With more and more people being drawn to urban living and if you’re lucky enough to have your own inner city garden or outdoor space, creating your own private green oasis is possible. Small city spaces can be challenging but it’s an opportunity to get creative. You could pot up a mini orchard on your balcony and grow your own produce, create a small herb garden for a delight on the senses, or pot up a selection of plants along narrow spaces to give an illusion of a larger space. Transform your small spaces with these compact design hacks for beautiful summer displays.
Container planting to keep clutter to a minimum.
Try portable planters to allow for adjusting your garden plants.
Vegetables, fruits and herbs are the best easy growing options for urban spaces.
Fancy growing your own fruit produce on your own patio? Our Miniature Patio Fruit Trees collection is ideal for producing a reliable source of delicious fruit and bringing colour and variety to your spaces. Their compact proportions make them perfect for placing in small, compact spaces.
With small gardens, any surface can be an opportunity for planting. For an easy herb garden, our Herbs Mixed provides a range of herb varieties in a lucky dip style to allow you to harvest your own herbs for cooking or just as a focal piece on your balcony, patio or garden.
Courtyard gardens may be small but they can be beautiful spaces with strategic planning, they can become alive with colour and textures without looking cluttered. Why not draw the eye by using repetition of container plants along paths or paving? or since courtyards are often shady, why not plant up big, glossy green plants to create your own tropical jungle feel?
Plant in Containers to establish usable space.
Evergreens are great year round choices for creating structure.
Go vertical and plant climbers along walls or fencing for a large garden feel.
This beautiful patterned variety of Hostaceae is perfect for container growing or in the border for adding a tropical feel to your small spaces with their waxy bottle green and lime yellow striped leaves. As an added bonus, this variety produces light lavender flowers in late summer.
This compact evergreen perennial produces an array of silver-grey foliage and small white flowers throughout summer, making this plant the perfect versatile option for borders, patio pots and containers. They can even be used as a filler for hanging baskets for a pop of delicate blooms.
Small Space Hacks
Wooden pallets are a great DIY idea for creating unique vertical planters to help save space in the garden. Turn an old pallet lying around your home in to a fun herb garden, vegetable patch or a unique floral display.
Verticle Vegetable Gardening
For a modern twist on the ordinary vegetable garden, using different variations of planters can help spruce up a cluttered garden to bring a touch of individuality and organisation to your green spaces.
If you live in a city, space for gardening can be sparse, so why not try growing plants indoors? Succulents have become popular indoor plants but try growing some unique options like a windowsill herb collection and bring the green indoors.
The stunning flowers of the Rhododendron have earned them a legion of fans, and quite right too! Some varieties of full size Rhododendrons will simply keep growing until they grow into giant trees, although you can prune them down, these larger varieties may not be an option in your garden.
This month we’re taking a look at some stunning dwarf varieties. The compact growth habit of these shrubs give them an outstanding formal appearance, making them ideal for small city gardens or courtyards where space is at a premium. They’re even small enough to slot nicely beneath taller shrubs in the border, or grow nicely in a rock garden.
Prepare the ground by digging in plenty of compost, neutral or acidic organic matter, or leafmold etc. Plant so the roots are covered, not too deep and apply a good layer of mulch lightly over the surface, don’t pack it down. Re-mulch and feed with an ericaceous fertiliser each spring.
Ericaceous fertiliser? This is for plants that are not as happy in limey soils. It’s a lime-free acidic compost that was habitually made with peat – however as awareness that adding peat to soils is bad for the environment you can now easily find peat free varieties to buy.
Dwarf varieties can cope with positioning in full sun but need evenly moist, well drained soils so keep on top of watering them in the hottest part of summer. Rhododendrons like lots of water and use rain-water if you can – you should particularly avoid tap-water if you live in a hard water area. As with larger Rhododendrons they won’t do at all well subjected to frost so take care to protect them and avoid areas you know are prone to it in your garden.
In truth not very much! Azaleas are a group within the Rhododendron family and they have some small differences. Rhododendrons will have ten or more stamens, while an Azalea will usually have five stamens. Rhododendrons have larger leaves and they will be paddle-shaped, Azalea have smaller, elliptical leaves. Also Rhododendrons are evergreen, whereas Azaleas can be evergreen or deciduous.
The many shapes and shades of the Tulip have helped to make it one of the most popular spring flowers. A familiar sight in British gardens, Tulip bulbs are so versatile that they can be planted with any other spring bulb, as well as having multiple uses in borders, patio pots and flowerbeds.
Equally useful in the garden or the vase, planting tulips in the autumn will give you a guaranteed display of vibrant colour throughout the spring.
Bedding and borders
Pots and Containers
Naturalising (some varieties – see below)
How to Plant Tulips
How to Plant Tulip Companions
How to Plant Darwin Hybrid Tulips
There are a lot of different types of Tulip to choose from, each boasting their own unique qualities.
These are dwarf growing varieties that flower prolifically in April through to early May each year. They produce massive peony-like flowers with delicate and brilliant colours which are very effective in flower beds and borders, and make a lovely cut bouquet. Double Early Tulip bulbs are supplied as top quality bulbs ready to plant in autumn and flower in spring.
Double Late Tulips flower later than most Tulip varieties, usually from late April into May. They produce giant peony shaped flowers on very sturdy stems of around 40-60cm and look spectacular when used as cut flowers. Double Late Tulips bulbs can be planted in autumn and will flower in spring. A really beautiful and unusual Tulip!
Fosteriana Tulips, also commonly known as the (Emperor Tulip) are chosen for their brilliant oriental colours and large flowers, creating a startling effect wherever planted. Sensational flowers on very stocky stems, perfect for a sunny border. Flowering in April/May every spring.
Fringed Tulips (also known as Crispa Tulips) have a very compact habit with extremely sturdy stems that produce colourful and vibrant flowers which have unusual fringed edges that give a ruffled effect. Flowering a little later than some Tulip varieties, they add colour and charm in late April into May. Height 50-70cm.
Greigii and Kaufmanniana Tulips are colourful and exciting dwarf growing botanical Tulips which grow to only 20-25cm tall, producing unusual glossy green or mottled foliage that look stunning grown in any area within the garden. Greigii and Kaufmanniana Tulips flower earlier than many other short stemmed Tulips, from as early as March onwards into April. Try planting in rows along a path, driveway or in a flower bed, where the sturdy stems and bright colours will easily catch the eye.
Lily Flowering Tulips produce spectacular Flute shaped flowers that produce gracefully reflexing flowers, all on tall and very strong stems. They are particularly useful for cut flower arrangements and look amazing as part of a flower bouquet. Also known as Fluted Tulips.
Multi-Flowered Tulips are one of the most popular and effective Tulips for flower bouquets where their amazing variations in colours, coupled with strong stems allow them to really make a statement. They produce three to six flower heads per stem offering great value for money. Praestans Tulips are a popular botanical Tulip producing 25-30cm flowers which are a great naturalising bulb that multiply profusely.
Quite possibly one of the most unique but equally splendid Tulip varieties has to be the Parrot Tulip, producing giant irregular shaped flowers with petals that resemble the feathers of a tropical Parrot. Flowering from April into May, Parrot Tulips really do produce some of the most beautiful colour shades and are excellent for bedding purposes, where they can create an exotic look and feel.
Originating back to the time of Rembrandt, when Tulips were first introduced to Holland, Rembrandt Tulips are a combination of colours used to create a flamed effect that will delight almost like a flicker of a rainbow. Modern Rembrandt Tulips bulbs are 100% virus free and produce streaky bi-coloured blooms from May onwards. Height 50cm.
Single Early Tulip bulbs are a traditional dwarf growing Tulip with a smaller habit than many varieties, but just as effective when grown in groups in a border or rockery. They are excellent for bedding and are one of the earliest of all Tulip types to flower outdoors in spring. Height 30-40cm.
There is probably no Tulip more versatile as the Single Late Tulip, commonly referred to as a Cottage Type of Tulip. Single Late Tulip bulbs produce very bright coloured large blooms on long, graceful stems. A wonderful variety grown for their beauty and attractiveness, with no cottage garden in spring being complete with some of these.
Tulip Species bulbs, also known as Dwarf Botanical Tulips, with their fascinating colours are natives of Asia Minor. These beautiful varieties are highly recommended for rockeries and borders, while also being suitable for patio containers and pots.
The Triumph Tulip is a result of a crossing between two premium varieties, Single Early and Darwin varieties. One of the largest range of Tulip varieties, Triumph or mid-season Tulips as they are known produce outstanding outstanding colours, with a very strong neat habit. A superb Tulip for planting in large groups in the border, flowerbed or also in patio container pots.
Viridiflora Tulips are one of the most elegant and stylish bi-colour Tulips on the market. Viridiflroa comes from the Latin words ‘viridis’ meaning green and ‘flos’ meaning flower. Combined together they represent the wonderful blend of colours we have come to love from this popular Tulip. Each Viridiflora Tulip bulb has a certain degree of green blended into each flower and is colourful enough to brighten even the darkest day in spring.