Essential Garden Jobs for August

With the bank holiday weekend upon us and a heatwave on the horizon, it is the perfect opportunity to get out into the fresh air, enjoy the garden and finish off your summer gardening jobs in time for bulb planting season.

There’s lots to be getting on with in the garden, so here are our essential jobs for August.

Pruning

  • Prune shrubs and climbers (Wisteria, Pyracantha) to keep your garden tidy.
  • Prune and shape hedges and evergreen hedges before they stop growing in the autumn.
  • Cut long-flowering perennials to the ground, such as Hardy Geraniums.
  • Trim back lavender after it has finished flowering.

Weeding

  • Sweep your patio and trim any small weeds as they germinate.
  • Hoe the soil to keep weeds down. This should be done in warm, dry conditions to ensure that any weed seedling left on the surface will dehydrate and die.
  • Remove pond weeds with regular debris cleaning.

Watering

  • Water plants that need it regularly.
  • Water in the morning or late afternoon/evening to prevent the water evaporating in the heat.
  • During hot spells, splash water on the floor of your greenhouse to bring down the humidity.

 Lawn Care

  • Mow weekly but reduce frequency and raise blades if the weather is hot and dry.
  • Lawn weeds are usually prominent and need pulling or treating.
  • Apply a high phosphate fertiliser at the end of the month to benefit the grass roots.

 Wildlife

  • Keep bird baths topped up with fresh water.
  • When deadheading, leave some flower seedheads as food for birds and small mammals.
  • Deadhead Buddleia bushes to keep them flowering into the autumn for bees and other insects.

Bulb planting

  • Start ordering your spring-flowering bulbs now. You can start planting bulbs such as Narcissi, Crocus and Hyacinths from September onwards.
  • Order Prepared Hyacinth and Indoor Narcissi bulbs and pot them up so that they will be ready for December.

 

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

📆 Flowering time: February – March. 

In the dull days of late winter/early spring when there is little in flower, these cheerful little blooms represent a sign of the beginning of spring. Easy to grow and will multiply year after year, these small-but-mighty plants will bring a much-needed burst of colour after a long winter.

Crocus Orange Monarch

Named after the Monarch Butterfly for their enchanting orange and black colour combination, these flowers are certain to bring warmth to the garden during the colder months. Perfect for planting in large groups or pots.

Click here to view online.

Crocus crysanthus ‘blue pearl’

This award-winning Crocus displays fragrant and luminous soft blue flowers with a bronzed yellowy base. Reaching a mature height of just 6cm, this variety is versatile enough to be planted in borders, around shrubs or in rockeries.

Click here to view online.

Crocus Spring Beauty

The name truly speaks for itself. Blooming with white tips and deep purple petals, which then open to a lovely soft mauve inside throughout the season, these little beauties will make a big impact in the garden.

Click here to view online.

Large Flowering Crocus (Vernus)

📆 Flowering Time: February – March.

With similar habits to the Winter/Spring Crocus , the difference with these Crocus is the huge blooms that they boast, which spread up to 10cm.  Growing to a mature height of 15cm, Large Flowering Crocus create a truly striking effect when planted together, making them a must-have for the border.

Crocus Yellow Mammoth

The bright yellow flowers of ‘Yellow Mammoth’ will bring the first bit of warmth to the new year. They will bloom in profusion when planted as edging, where they will naturalise and produce showstopping flowers for years of enjoyment.

Click here to view online.

Crocus Grand Maitre

A gorgeous, deep purple Crocus. As one of the best early-flowering plants of spring, the rich colour of ‘Grand Maitre’ will add a blast of seasonal colour. The perfect low-maintenance bloom for naturalising in clumps through the border.

Click here to view online.

Crocus Striped Beauty

A stylish Crocus with a unique look. These vivid purple and white striped flowers will create a real talking point in the garden. An ideal partner for low borders, pots or containers and will multiply each year.

Click here to view online.

Autumn Flowering

📆 Flowering time: September – October.

As the summer blooms start to fade, nothing adds more joy to the garden than the beautiful colours of autumn flowering Crocus. Growing to a mature height of 10cm, these delightful gems will sparkle with colour in rockeries, borders, or even under shrubs and trees.

Crocus Kotschyanus

An RHS Garden Merit Award winning Crocus. The stunning lilac-pink petals surround a warm yellow centre that will add a soft touch of beauty to the autumn garden. Plant en masse or in drifts for the best impact.

Click here to view online.

Crocus Sativus (Saffron)

Celebrated for more than 2000 years, Crocus sativus has been grown for it’s expensive red ribbons since the Tudor times. Their vibrant, fragrant purple blooms are delightful and you can even grow your own Saffron at home.

Click here to view online.

Crocus Autumn Flowering Mixed

A mixture of pretty cup-shaped flowers in a myriad of stunning colours, from shades of lilac, deep purples and whites. Create a sparkling mixture of autumn joy by planting this mixture in beds, borders or containers.

Click here to view online.

 

Continue reading Plant of the Month: Crocus

How to Plant: Outdoor Hyacinths

With their heady, sweet perfume and assorted rainbow of colours, Hyacinths are an extremely popular choice for brightening up the spring garden. For outdoor planting, we have a marvelous range of Bedding and Top-Size Hyacinths. To help you decide which options are the best fit for your spring garden displays, we have created this guide with the benefits and planting recommendations for both Bedding and Top-Size Hyacinths.

Hyacinth Benefits:

  • Easy to Grow
  • Strong, sweet fragrance
  • Hardy & Perennial
  • EXCELLENT CUT FLOWERS

Bedding Hyacinths 14/15cm

Hyacinth Fragrant Sea Mixed 14/15cm

Our bedding Hyacinths are a magnificent compact option for the spring garden. They are ideal for planting in groups in flowers beds and borders for a cluster of bold and beautiful colour. Growing to a mature height of approx. 25cm, their shorter growing habit is that they are less likely to become battered by the wind, and the planting options are endless. Beds, borders, containers or window boxes, the wonderful fragrance and vibrant colours of our Bedding Hyacinths are guaranteed to brighten up your spring garden.

Planting Guide

Planting time: Autumn (September to December)

Position: Full/Partial Sun

Flowering time: March-April

Instructions

  • Plant bulbs pointed end up at approx. 10cm deep and 10-12 cm apart.
  • Plant in well-drained soil (mix in some compost for peak performance).
  • Ideal for spring borders and containers.
  • Once planted, cover with soil and firm down lightly.
  • Protect from frosts in Winter.
  • Leave undisturbed after flowering for years of spring colour.

Click the video below for a full planting tutorial.

Our top choices:

 Hyacinth Autumn Colours Mixed

Add the beautiful warm tones of autumn to your garden with this beautiful mixture of orange, yellow and purple Hyacinth blooms. These fantastic hardy spring flowers are great for filling your spring beds and borders with stylish colour and sweet fragrance.

 

Hyacinth Double Mixed

The same beautiful colours and fragrance as a normal Hyacinth but double the blooms! The fluffy whorls of colourful double-flowers are the perfect eye-catching Hyacinth plants for creating sweet-smelling, vibrant summer bedding.

 

Top-Size Hyacinths 17/18cm

Hyacinth Jan Bos 17/18cm

Is there anything better than being greeted at your front door by beautiful tall, sweet-smelling pots of Hyacinths? Top-Size Hyacinths are supplied as giant 17/18cm bulbs. Their enormous flower heads are perfect for planting outdoors in patio pots and containers to create a dramatic showcase of colour. They are ideal spring garden flowers as they produce amazing large blooms that are not too heavy to need support.

Planting Guide

Planting time: Autumn (September to December)

Position: Full/Partial Sun

Flowering time: March-April

Instructions

  • Plant bulb with the pointed end facing upwards.
  • Plant at least 10cm deep and approx. 10-12cm apart.
  • For garden planting (beds, borders), plant in well-drained soil.
  • For container planting, use a soil-based compost (e.g. John Innes No.2).
  • Once planted, cover with soil and firm down lightly.

Click the video below for a full planting tutorial.

Our top choices:

Hyacinth Miss Saigon

With deep, rich purple flowers, Hyacinth ‘Miss Saigon’ bring a cheerful sight to the spring garden. This RHS award-winning Hyacinth produces dense floral spikes with starry, violet florets. Plant near a doorway, path or on the patio, where you can enjoy its beautiful perfume daily.

 

Hyacinth Delft Blue

The extremely fragrant, award-winning ‘Delft Blue’ features soft blue, densely spiked florets that will add some stunning colour to the spring garden. For best visual impact, plant in groups in patio pots, window boxes, or even in the garden border.

 

Continue reading How to Plant: Outdoor Hyacinths

12 Designs for Spectacular Spring Borders

Since we are now going into the last month of Summer, now is the perfect time to start planning your spring displays in time for bulb planting season. From delightful Daffodils and Narcissi to deep, dark Tulips, we have a fun and colourful planting idea to suit any spring garden border.

Here are our 12 spectacular spring planting ideas…

1. Fantastically Fragrant

Recreate this boldly colourful spring theme with vibrant yellow Narcissi and blue Muscari for a fragrant, clustered, show-stopping display.

Products:

Narcissi Jetfire

A real British favourite. This sweet-scented clump-forming Daffodil produces bright yellow petals with a deep orange trumpet. Surrounded by purple flowers, such as Muscari and Crocus, for an extraordinary spring display.

 

Muscari Armeniacum

This RHS Award-winning Muscari variety blooms with electric deep violet-blue pea-like flowers and is guaranteed to make a real feature in the garden, especially when planted in groups. An additional benefit is its lovely fragrance. The more you plant, the more fragrance you get!

2. Fiery

By blending warm shades of orange, pink and peach together, you can create a beautiful fiery and fragrant display of spring colour.

Products:

Hyacinth Jan Bos

An RHS Award-Winning Hyacinth. With its distinct bold reddish/pink colour, ‘Jan Bos’s’ floral spikes are a perfect fragrant addition to mid spring beds, borders or along walkways. They will even naturalize beautifully in the right spot.

 

 

Tulip Suncatcher

A true symbol of spring. Tulip ‘Suncatcher’ produces bright golden yellow blooms that are detailed with fiery scarlet edging, that are sure to bring the warmth to your spring borders with their intense colouring.

Hyacinth Apricot Passion

This uniquely coloured Hyacinth produces star-shaped flowers in soft, warm apricot and pink tones. Enjoy these highly perfumed blooms in pots, containers or garden border and beds.

 

 

Muscari Blue Magic

With their densely packed flower spikes, Muscari Blue Magic are perfect for adding a contrasting accent to this fiery themed border. ‘Blue Magic’ blooms in mid spring with a stunning royal blue colour. Best planted in groups for an amazing visual impact.

 

3. Dramatic & Bold

Add a touch of drama to your borders with this monochromatic scheme. A simple blend of colours that provides a big impact.

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Tulip Queen of Night

Extremely popular and considered as one of the top ten prettiest deep purple cultivars, the RHS Award-winning Tulip ‘Queen of Night’. Known as the blackest Tulip ever bred, their impressive, velvety dark maroon blooms are the perfect show-stoppers in any spring border.

 

Tulip Alabaster

Blooming with the purest white flowers, and alongside ‘Queen of Night’, Tulip ‘Alabaster’ creates the most striking spring display. Paired together, these Tulips will blend together for a fantastic checkerboard-like-effect.

4. Pastel

Pastel flowers look beautiful in the bright spring sunshine, but also stand out in shade gardens and can brighten up especially dark areas. For a peaceful and relaxing space, try this sweet shop themed Tulip and Muscari mixture.

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Muscari Peppermint

Scented blooms of this Muscari bloom in shades of cool, pale blues which fade to white towards the tip. This pretty variety is robust with a delightful sweet fragrance that is perfect for naturalizing in a woodland garden at the front of the border or in containers.

 

Tulip Huis Ten Bosch

With a huge cream base and candy pink edging, the delicate edges of Tulip Huis Ten Bosch look as though they are made from spun sugar – and it’s no surprise why this Tulip is known as the ‘Candy Floss Tulip’.

5. Wonderful White

A timeless and sophisticated colour scheme. Brighten up your borders with crisp, clean white Tulips.

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Tulip Clearwater

With neatly formed, cup-shaped blooms in the purest white, Tulip ‘Clearwater’ will create a sophisticated and modern look when planted en-masse in the spring border. They tend to look best at dawn and dusk, when they practically glow in the half-light.

6. Bright & Cheerful

Let your creativity flow and inject some life into the spring garden with bright, bold colours.  If you’re looking for something that packs a punch, this combination is for you.

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Tulip Saxatilis

An RHS Award-Winning Tulip. Blooming with soft lilac petals surrounding a bright sunny yellow center, this colourful compact variety makes a wonderful addition to spring beds and borders, or even for naturalizing in groups in grassy areas for maximum impact.

 

Narcissi Tete-a-Tete

This early spring bloomer is quite possible the most renowned scented dwarf Daffodil on the market. These RHS Award-Winning perennials boast perfectly formed, fragrant flowers with pale yellow petals and bright yellow trumpets. Plant en masse or with other flowers for visual impact.

 

Muscari Blue Magic

Along with the vibrant shades of the yellow Narcissi and pink Tulips, the bold tones of Muscari ‘Blue Magic’ are perfect for adding compact accents of rich blue to the spring border.

7. Glowing

Light up your garden with warm tones of yellow, orange and red.

Products:

Tulip Verandi & Narcissus Falconet

‘Verandi’ offers glowing deep red blooms with brilliant thin edge of yellow. Whilst Narcissus ‘Falconet’ is a cheerful bright yellow flower with deep orange cups in the center. A stunning display that will shine in the spring time when planted together.

8. Cool and Tranquil

 For a fresh, clean combination, try this simple yet eye-catching colour scheme.

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Tulip Hakuun

Also known as ‘White Cloud’, this Darwin Hybrid Tulip boasts large snowy blooms that will gleam in the spring garden, and are guaranteed to bring borders to life. This long lasting mid-season variety will create a soothing effect when planted against blue spring flowers for a cool, calming border.

 

Muscari Blue Magic

Featuring eye-catching grape-like clusters of sky blue flowers, this Grape Hyacinth looks truly magical planted alongside white spring-flowering bulbs. They’re hardy, easy to grow and go with so many planting schemes – no garden should be without them.

 

9. Early Season Sunshine

The most striking combinations are complimentary colours, e.g. purple and yellow. Bring the sunshine to your garden with this cheerful plant combo.

Products:

Crocus Flower Record

These deep violet flowers with contrasting orange stems are a pure delight in early spring. Bearing large, cup-like flowers, this vigorous variety is perfect for naturalizing against Daffodils for a stunning and vibrant border display. Spectacular when planted in large, sweeping drifts.

 

Narcissi Lemon Sailboat

The perfect match for planting alongside purple Crocus blooms are the lemony-yellow flowers of Narcissi ‘Lemon Sailboat’. The petals on these delicate blooms are swept back like sail on a boat, hence their name. Their sweetly scented blooms are ideal for naturalizing in the spring garden.

 

10. Colour Block

Make a real statement with texture and shape with this simple colour blocking display style.

Products:

Tulip Red Blend Mixed

Plant this sultry mixture of red Tulips, from light crimson to deep dusky reds, to create a terrific, multi-textured spring display. Perfect flowers for planting en masse for maximum effect, or in pots and containers. Mixtures are also available in other shades, including orange, pink and purple.

11. Dreamy

Add some romance to your garden using charming shades of pink, purple and white with this fresh and classic cottage garden style.

Products:

Tulip Tom Pouce

Named for the lusciously sweet Dutch pastry (kind of like a pink Napoleon), ‘Tom Pouce’ is especially enchanting in the spring sunshine. This lovely Tulip is a sweet combination of bright pink that fades into a soft, creamy yellow towards the base. An ideal choice for mid-spring borders.

 

Tulip Purple Bouquet

Also known as ‘Bouquet Tulip’, ‘Purple Bouquet’ produces pretty purple flowers that have multiple blooms per stem. Paired alongside pink spring flowers, these are the perfect companions for designing a magical cottage garden-like border display.

 

Tulip Clearwater

These pure white blooms are perfect for creating the most attractive mid to late spring flowering combinations. Along with pink and purple varieties, this graceful yet striking Tulip is perfect for planting en masse in a border to add a flash of crystal clear white colour.

12. Complementary Colours

Intensify your spring garden with an excitingly bold and beautiful colour palette.

Products:

Tulip Golden Apeldoorn

Known for their colossal and reliable blooms, this popular Tulip will bring the sunshine in spring with their deep, golden yellow blooms. This bold and beautiful Darwin Tulip is fantastic for the border to brighten up the spring garden. Pair alongside purple flowers for a show-stopping display.

Pansy Ocean Breeze Mixed

The best, large flowered pansy on the market. This gorgeous mix of cool, soft blues and violet pansies are the perfect long-lasting flowers to accent a contrasting yellow Tulip in spring borders. Plant en masse with spring flowering bulbs for an impressive display of colour.

Planting Tips 🏡📆

Here’s a simple guide to when you should plant your spring flowering bulbs this autumn for the perfect displays.

Crocus: September – November

Daffodils: September – November

Hyacinths: September

Tulips: October – November

Muscari – Before first frosts

Trends from the Tatton Park Flower Show 2019

The Tatton Park Flower Show took place last week, and we sent a few members of the J Parkers team to scope out the top trends, flowers and planting companions at the 2019 show.

So let’s have a look at some of the gardening styles at this year’s show that you can try out in your own garden.

Popular Flowers

Here are 3 of the most popular and showcased flowers on display around the show and the show gardens.

Verbena Bonariensis

Verbena Bonariensis featured in ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar Garden’ by Simon Tetlow

Verbena Bonariensis were dotted around almost every show garden on display this year. Whether as a background plant for a wild border or used as a centerpiece plant with their long stems, these beautiful purple flowers were definitely in the spotlight this year.  A fantastic summer border plant with good pest resistance.

Echinacea

Echinacea featured in ‘The Mindful Garden’ by Ki Tong.

One of our favourite summer flowering perennials were heavily featured this year, the Echinacea. Also known as Coneflowers, they will flower from summer through late autumn, often still in flower as late as October. They make a bright and bold addition to the modern garden, look larger than life at the back of the border, and are a great way to attract butterflies and bees to the UK garden.

Alliums

Allium Drumsticks featured in ‘The Phytosanctuary Garden’.

The beautiful giant blooms of Alliums took a center stage this year. Large varieties were spread all around the show, whilst smaller flowering varieties such as Allium Drumsticks and the half-spherical blooms of Allium Miami were featured in this year’s show gardens. An easy to grow and versatile range of plants that can work in any garden.

Garden Trends

 1. Pollinator Pals (Alliums,Achillea, Agapanthus)

Alliums, Achillea and Agapanthus were strongly featured in the show gardens at this year’s show. The show had a strong theme of pollinator-friendly planting and when it comes to looking after wildlife in the garden, these varieties are well-loved by bees and other pollinators.

Agapanthus are great showy plants with exotic looking flowers, Alliums are easy to grow, stylish plants with tall stems and large pom pom heads of flowers and Achillea are a stunning flowering herbaceous perennial with each flower head containing of hundreds of long lasting, tiny flowers. So, it’s easy to see how these beautiful summer contenders have been a popular choice this year.

Click here to view Alliums

Click here to view Achillea

Click here to view Agapanthus

2. Multi-layered Borders

Another big trend seen around the show gardens is creating layers of a variety of border plants. Ass seen with the brightly colours florals in the ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite Garden’, the subtle contrasting tones in ‘The Perfumer’s Garden’ and the wild themed grassy border in the ‘Baroque Garden’.

Creating a layered garden soothes the eye while enhancing other aspects of the garden. Planting a garden in layers considers both vertical and horizontal eye appeal but also the aspect in which we view the area and seasonal interest. Planting a garden in layers will ensure that the highest plants are at the farthest eye point of the garden with medium sized in the middle and the lowest growing at the front.

Repeated patterns, colours, forms and textures throughout a border can create unique patterns in the landscape.

 

3. Harmonising Hostas

A key trend that was prominent in almost every show garden at this year event was Hostas.

Originating from China and Japan, Hostas are one of the best perennials for shade in the garden, grown in either pots, containers or borders. Renowned for the amazing foliage they produce and have become a common addition for the modern garden designer. Hosta plants are a great perennial plant which is often chosen for their attractive shaped leaves and summer flowers.

Hostas are ideal to add texture and colour to a garden planting scheme. They can be used to complement other plants by adding a contrasting look and style that enhances the overall interest and aesthetic of the scheme. There is a huge choice of varieties available to buy, covering all shapes, colours, and sizes for all tastes.

Click here to view our Hosta range online

4. Glorious Grasses

Ornamental grasses made their presence known in many show gardens this year. A range of herbaceous perennials and grasses were featured in ‘The Mindful Garden’,  such as Festuca. The silvery needles of Festuca glauca were featured in the monochrome palette of the ‘Every Cloud has a Silver Lining Garden’, and long and varied grasses were displayed in the ‘Trail of Thoughts Garden’ to represent the fading of memory with colourful flowers giving way to a grassier and more muted landscape.

Grasses have long since proved their value in the landscape, moving from what was once considered a craze to one that is a solid cultural shift. As gardens have shifted toward lower maintenance and nature friendly, ornamental grasses have fit every bill that today’s gardener demands — while providing the contrast, texture and form that designers crave.

Click here to view our Grasses and Bamboo

5. Heavenly Hydrangeas

Who can forget the ever-changing blooms of hydrangeas. The use of beautiful fragrant shrubs were used for structure in a variety of the show gardens this year. The once overlooked hydrangeas of the past are now the trend setting plants of today.

With immense flower heads, Hydrangeas flaunt an old-fashioned charm that is hard to resist. Unrivaled in the shrub world for beautiful flowers, they are easy to cultivate, tolerate almost any soil, and produce abundant blooms. Hydrangeas are excellent for a range of garden sites from group plantings to shrub borders to containers.

Click here to view our Hydrangea range

 

Plant of the Month: Azaleas and Rhododendrons

Azaleas and Rhododendrons are the jewels of the late spring garden. Rhododendrons and evergreen azaleas provide interest all year round, while deciduous azaleas produce excellent autumn leaf colours. There are literally thousands of species and varieties and a huge range of flower colours. Their exquisite blooms bring notes of exotic colour to pots and containers, beds and borders and lightly shaded areas under trees.  Some are compact enough for the smallest gardens, others require the space of a woodland where they can reach massive proportions.

What’s the difference between Azaleas and Rhododendrons?

Our Top Picks

Azalea Homebush

• RHS Garden Merit Award winner

• Huge pompom-like trusses of double pink star-shaped flowers

• Easy to grow, highly fragrant and pollinator friendly

• Yellow-green deciduous foliage

• Perfect for borders, flowering hedges and containers

Rhododendron Sappho

• Purple buds open to wavy-edged white flowers with deep purple markings

• 9 flower trusses

• Easy to grow and evergreen

• Dark green, glossy ovate leaves

• Perfect for borders, hedging, screening and containers

Azalea Anneke

• Highly fragrant, large, lemon yellow flowers with gold spotting and yellow stamens

• 9 flower trusses with each flower spanning 8-10 in diameter

• Easy to grow

• Perfect for pots, containers and the border

Rhododendron Norfolk Candy

• Large, apricot-orange flushed maroon flowers

• Broad glossy forest green foliage

• Low maintenance and pollinator-friendly

• Perfect for borders or containers

Azalea japonica Pink Spider

• Large pink flowers with a white edge

 Dark, narrow foliage

• Compact, bushy shrub

• Hardy and evergreen

• Perfect for growing in the border, pots on the patio or balcony

Rhododendron Collection

• Includes one each of Sappho, Nova Zembla, Norfolk Candy and Marcel Menard

• Perfect for spring borders, pots or containers

Azalea Dwarf diamond japanese collection

 • Includes one each of Lilac, Red, Pink, White and Orange.

• Compact, small leaf Japanese Azaleas

• Masses of brightly coloured blooms

• Small, dark green foliage

• Perfect for patio pots or borders.

Planting

Planting time: October – March/April 📆

Location: Full sun/Partial shade 🏡

Flowering Time: April – July 🌸

Rhododendrons and Azaleas prefer well drained and light/acidic soil. Before planting, dig-in plenty of neutral or acidic organic matter (composted tree bark, leafmould, decomposing pine or spruce needles), and mix in well with the soil. Do not plant too deeply; all rhododendrons are surface-rooting and the roots should be just covered. Apply at least an 8cm (3 inch) mulch of chipped conifer bark or another acidic material. The mulch should be well-aerated, not firmed down.

Video Tutorial

Aftercare

Here are some handy aftercare tips to get the best performance out of your Rhododendron and Azaleas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT OUR NEW RHS AWARD WINNING RANGE

The Best Plants for Rock Gardens

 Transforming a dull slope into a beautiful rock garden is easy when you choose the right plants, and it’s simple to make. From sun-thriving plants to shade-loving plants, this guide, we will share the 10 best plants to fill in your rock garden.

1. Anemone De Caen Mixed 

Anemone coronaria De Caen mixed

This mixture of Anemone DeCaen has the perfect mix of colours to give you a natural and carefree-looking display. An ideal partner for creating a bold and bright rockery display. This Anemone variety will flower each year and is an excellent naturalizing plant.

2. Phlox Subulata Snowflake

Phlox Snowflake is the perfect vigorous, creeping perennial to cover walls or rockeries. This variety produces a mass of pure white flowers on top of a dark evergreen foliage that is certain to brighten up any rocky areas or paving crevices in the garden.

 

3. Sedum cauticolum Robustum

This deep crimson flowering ground cover plant will bring amazing colours to the garden. This Sedum variety is highly attractive to butterflies and insects and is the perfect perennial to create a long-lasting rockery garden display.

4. Saxifraga Kabschia

A superb apline plant. Saxifraga Kabschia makes a perfect addition to a rockery due to its creeping nature. They can be planted between paving slabs, or gaps in dry stone walls and is a prolific bloomer in the summer when the plant produces pretty pink flowers.

 

5. Crocus Large Flowering Mixed

Our mixture of large flowering Crocus will produce a carpet of colour throughout spring. They naturalise profusely, so they will create an increasingly beautiful display each year. This fantastic, low maintenance flower will create a stunning rockery display full of colour.

6. Dianthus Deltoides

This evergreen perennial forms a mat of silver tinged green foliage with clusters of showy cerise flowers with deep crimson markings. Reaching a height of 10cm, this Dianthus variety is perfect for a sunny rockery and even provides effected weed-suppressing ground cover.

7. Iris reticulata Painted Lady

Iris reticulata Painted Lady

Native to Turkey, this new addition to our range is perfect for rockery displays, containers or for the front of the border. Their ivory white blooms contain flecks and streaks of pale dusky blue and yellow markings. They are frost hardy so not only are they a beautiful Iris variety, they are a tough garden addition too.

8. Allium Small Flowering Collection

This superb collection of dwarf-growing Alliums look fantastic grown on a rockery display. Each beautiful variety produces an array of attractive and vibrant flowers, which are ideal for filling in gaps with exciting eye-catching colours.

9. Thymus Serpyllum

Native to Europe and North Africa, this creeping, low-growing Thyme variety produces highly fragrant pinky-mauve flowers that are loved by butterflies and bees. Thymus Serpyllum is great for planting in rockeries or paving crevices, where they will release their beautiful fragrance when strodden on.

10. Campanula Carpatica

This fantastic clump-forming perennial forms masses of sparkling star-shaped blue flowers with violet hues on a bed of long stalked rounded leaves. Their spreading foliage will create a mass of weed suppressing ground cover and will dazzle in a sunny rock garden.

 

 

Aftercare

10 Drought Tolerant Plants to Beat the Summer Heat

With our increasingly hotter summers, climate change presents us with the challenge of gardening with less water. However, there is a considerable range of plants that can tolerate dry conditions. These drought-tolerant plants are the perfect choice for sunny spots in your garden.

1. Nepeta

Nepeta are a reliable perennial, very hardy and tolerant of all conditions and it returns reliably each year. They are very effective even in dry and drought areas, so they are useful for even the most difficult spots in the garden.

Nepeta Six Hills Giant

This vigorous perennial produces clusters of aromatic, small lavender blue flowers. This variety is a perfect addition to borders and edging beds, as well as attracting bees and butterflies to the summer garden. With a grey-green foliage and masses of flowers, this Nepeta adds a lovely, soft, gentle touch to cottage gardens.

2. Mimosa

The very hardy and heat-loving Mimosa is ideal wherever a full, dense canopy is desired during the summer months. Native to Southeastern Australia and then widely introduced to the Mediterranean , these plants are no stranger to higher, tropical temperatures.

Mimosa Acacia

The beautiful feathered foliage of the Mimosa Acacia will delight in the spring time, with their masses of fragrant yellow flowers. Create a statement display in your garden by planting this variety in patio container, but equally they are suited at the back of a border.

 

3. Sedum

Sedums are superb drought-resistant succulents that produce domes of star-shaped flowers in the summer and autumn seasons. Sedums have evolved to live in exposed conditions, where soil is very well-drained and sun and wind dry everything out quickly, so over the centuries, they have developed some inbuilt coping mechanisms such as fleshy, water-storing leaves and stems.

Sedum Hot Stuff

This striking Sedum produces large bursts of vibrant pink flowers that are wildly-loved by butterflies and bees. This strong, compact forming plant makes a great border addition or make a bigger impact by planting in groups so they will really stand out in the late summer garden.

4. Lavender

A native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, it’s no wonder that Lavender makes a great drought-tolerant addition to the garden. It can be used as a low hedge, specimen plant, or even a cut flower, and will add a beautiful fragrance to the garden.

Dwarf Lavender Munstead

This compact evergreen shrub blooms with spikes of small, highly fragrant, blue-purple flowers in mid to late summer. Plant en masse to produce ground cover, low screening, or in lines to create a great border effect.

5. Campsis Radicans

Also known as Trumpet Vines, these hardy plants are fast climbers that grow well even in poor soil and full sunlight, and the blossoms attract hummingbirds too. Campsis Radicans can live for decades and although they die back in the winter, they’re quick to spring back to life in the spring.

Campsis radicans

Blooming with clusters of showy, exotic warm red trumpet-shaped blooms, this self-clinging climber is ideal for a sunny wall or fence. These beautiful tropical flowers are marked with deep red insides appear above long, coarsely toothed, glossy dark green leaves with pointed tips and distinctive veining.

6. Ceanothus

Ceanothus, commonly known as California Lilac, are very drought tolerant shrubs and offer almost everything that a gardener could wish for in a shrub. They are free-flowering, drought tolerant, easy to cultivate and grow in most soils.

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var repens

Beautiful in its simplicity, this fantastic award-winning shrub delights in the summer garden. Its rich glossy leaves nestle amongst sky blue florescence comprising of densely compact panicles that burst into bloom like tiny fireworks in spring and early summer. This evergreen variety looks beautiful in patio pots, or against a wall.

 

7. Jasmine

Jasmine provide more than delicate tendrils and sweet perfume, they create substance, structure and colourful blooms to the garden. This genus of shrubs and vines contains around 200 species, native to tropical and warm temperate regions and a number of species have become naturalised in Mediterranean Europe.

Trachelospermum jasminoides (Jasmine)

This highly fragrant, vigorous climber produces clusters of beautiful star-shaped white flowers, which bloom from June throughout the summer months. This is a perfect climber for growing against a warm, sunny wall. Jasmine flowers are ideal for perfuming the air with their sweet fragrance in the summer garden.

8. Verbena

Native to the American Tropics, Verbena plants are beautiful examples of drought-tolerant plants. These popular perennials produce rich nectar, so butterflies and bees also love them.

Verbena bonariensis

Elegant and long lasting. This bestselling Verbena variety produces masses of small purple flowers in clusters. With a good pest resistance, this fantastic border plant will delight in the summer garden, flowering from June to October. They also will make a great addition to cut flower displays.

9. Russian Sage

One of the toughest plants that needs little care. Russian Sage loves direct sun, tolerates almost any soil and is extremely drought tolerant. Its fine texture makes Russian Sage a good choice if you’re seeking contrast with plants exhibiting a coarser texture.

Perovskia atriplicifolia Blue Spire

Native to central Asia, Russian Sage’s natural habitat is on dry plains. This variety produces highly scented silver leaves that are topped with spikes of gorgeous, tiny violet purple bell-shaped flowers in late summer. The impressive flowers and foliage look amazing planted in a border or patio pot in the summer garden.

10. Agapanthus

Agapanthus are some of the most beautiful and reliable summer plants you can grow. Once established, Agapanthus are tough enough to withstand dry spells without stressing. Originating from the cliffs of South Africa, they naturally enjoy lots of sunshine and are naturally resistant to wind.

Agapanthus Melbourne

This stunning bi-colour variety blooms in the summer with purple buds that open to reveal white flowers with a lilac purple stripe through each petal. Also known as the African Lily, these plants are drought tolerant and enjoy plenty of sunlight.

 

 

 

Summer Plant Care Tips

 

Spring Photo Competition Winners 2019

We asked you to send in your #JParkersBulbs spring photos and you did not disappoint! We had an amazing turn out this year with people sending in their entries by email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We would like to give a massive thank you to everyone who entered this year; we received so many amazing photos that narrowing them down to the final 10 was a real struggle.

So without further adieu, here are this year’s results…

1st Place Prize Winner

The top prize of a £100 J. Parker’s voucher went to this beautiful Crocus image from Isabelle C. sent to us via email.

Isabelle C – Crocus

2nd Place Prize Winners

We awarded 2 £50 J. Parker’s vouchers for our second place prize winners.

Nataliya H – Allium

One voucher went to this beautiful bee-friendly Allium photo from Nataliya H. sent to us via email.

Peter G – Daffodil

The second £50 voucher goes to this delightful daffodil shot sent in by Peter G. via email.

3rd Place Prize Winners

 Our seven third prize winners each won a £25 J. Parker’s voucher and here are their beautiful entry images.

Our Favourite Entries From Previous Years…

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Get started on your 2020 displays and Pre-order your Spring Flowering Bulbs here!

Plants for Different Soil Types

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing your soil type can be crucial to planning out the planting in your garden. The soil provides your plants with nutrients, water and air that they need for healthy growth and development, but depending on the plot of ground, that can determine what plants, shrubs or trees can grow their successfully.

3 Step System to Test Your Soil

  1. Dig a hole 6 to 10 inches deep in the soil.
  2. Separate an intact section about the size of a soup can and break it apart with your fingers.
  3. Determine whether the soil is cloddy, powdery or granular (ideally your soil should be made up of different sized crumbs that hold their shape under slight pressure).

 

  • Known as heavy soil (sticky when wet, rock hard when dry).
  • Feels smooth (not gritty) between the fingers.
  • Drains slowly after rain.
  • Takes a long time to warm up in spring.
  • Heavy to dig and cultivate.
  • Usually rich in plant nutrients.The following plants are well-adapted to clay soils:
Viburnum
Viburnum burkwoodii Mohawk

This shrub is an underrated evergreen shrub for clay soil. The opening of its flowers announce the end of winter and its white flowers (pink in bud) provide a pretty backdrop for a border in early spring. Dense, compact growth make this a useful plant for screening off a view and creating a feeling of enclosure in the garden.

Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle Serotina

A sweetly scented honeysuckle is a true summer treat and this species of honeysuckle will grow well on clay soil. A scented climber is always a memorable plant, the perfume easy to access, especially if you grow it by your front door. The variety Serontina’ has flowers that display a vivid deep red colouring.

 

Bergenia
Bergenia cordifolia Purpurea

This evergreen perennial produces spires of pink or red flowers in spring. The leaves (the ‘elephant’s ears’) are tinged with red in winter. A good plant for ground cover, it looks at its best planted in a block because the flowers have more impact in big numbers. A very tough plant for clay soil and tolerant of partial shade too.

 

 

Tips 

  1.  Add Organic Matter (compost, aged manure) – this helps improve drainage, lighten heavy soil and adds nutrients. Before planting in spring add the organic matter to the soil with a 2-3 inch layer.
  2. Build Raised Beds – As clay soil holds water, raised beds can improve drainage by encouraging water to run off.
  3. Mulch Beds over Winter – Mulch with organic matter during the growing season and winter to help protect the soil from compaction and minimize weed growth.

Sandy soil is the largest particle in soil and does not hold nutrients well.

  • High proportion of sand and little clay.
  • Drains quickly after rain or watering.
  • Easy to work and cultivate.
  • Warm up quicker in spring than clay soils.
  • Low in nutrients – very acidic.

The following plants are well-adapted to sandy soils:

Sedum
Sedum Hot Stuff

There are an incredible diversity of Sedums available. They are succulents, so by nature they are adapted to dry, sandy soil. Most are ground covers that make great rock garden plants. There is also a taller variety called Autumn Joy that is a good choice for its extremely late bloom.

Allium
Allium Powder Puff

Giant Alliums will perform well year after year in sandy soil with little care, making them a great choice for a semi-naturalized meadow planting. Alliums are an easy to grow, very distinctive late spring and early summer flowering bulb, being very showy when planted in beds, borders or rock gardens.

Buddleia
Buddleia Empire Blue

One of Britain’s most beautiful and popular summer flowering shrubs. Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) is an excellent choice for sandy soils, since they can adapt to most soil types. These upright deciduous shrubs are a wildlife haven. Their tubular, fragrant flowers are a superb way of attracting butterflies and bees into the garden.

 

Tips 

  1. Prepare planting sites with moisture-retentive, well-rotted organic matter (farm manure, compost or leaf mould).
  2. When planting in spring, incorporate a slow-release fertilizer.
  3. Water thoroughly and regularly during dry periods.
  • Ideal soil for gardening.
  • Mainly organic matter.
  • Feels spongy.
  • Very fertile and hold moisture well.
  • Easily compacts.

The following plants are well-adapted to peaty soils:

Heather
Heather Summer Mixed

A fragrant and effective and colourful mixture of summer flowering Heathers offer an increasing superb display every year. This beautiful and colourful ground cover not only adds beauty to the garden but can help cut down on the weeding too.

Azaleas
Azalea Tunis

Nothing is more beautiful than an Azalea shrub in spring bloom and can be grown in nearly any garden. Azalea Tunis is a highly fragrant deciduous variety which has gigantic red flowers boasting long, decorative stamens. The blazing red, showy flowers are truly a sight to behold on a sunny spring day.

Witch Hazel
Hamamelis Witch Hazel Collection

Shrubs such as Witch Hazel do particularly well when planted in peaty soils. Our exotic collection of three Chinese Witch Hazel is the perfect way to breathe some life and colour back into the winter garden. These deciduous, winter flowering shrubs produce clusters of sweetly scented, crinkled flowers in a range of fiery shades.

 

Tips 

  1. Blend peat soil with rich organic matter, compost and lime to reduce the acidity.

  • Even mix of sand, silt and clay.
  • Feels fine-textured and slightly damp.
  • Adequate drainage, great structure and moisture retaining.
  • Easily cultivated and full of nutrients.
  • Ideal soil all year round.

The following plants are well-adapted to loamy soils:

Wisteria
Wisteria Multijuga

A vigorous climbing plant. Wisteria looks particularly effective when trained over a bare wall or pergola, making it a superb feature plant, and its exquisite aroma make it particularly attractive to bees and butterflies. Our ‘Multijuga’ variety produces delicate trailing clusters of highly fragrant lilac flowers from May through to September.

Rhododendrons
Rhododendron Praecox

One of the earliest flowering varieties, this lovely shrub will produce an abundance of rose-purple blooms as early as February and throughout March. For a truly stunning effect plant above a carpet of dainty white Snowdrops, which will flower around the same time.

Anemone
Anemone blanda White Splendour

These daisy-like flowers are one of the most familiar and renowned of all the Anemones White Splendour is excellent for naturalising in areas with full sun or partial shade. They bear large, pure white flowers with a pink flushed reverse in spring and will produce a superb carpet of white if left to multiply over the years to come.

 

 

Tips 

  1.  Maintain its fertility with regular dressings of manure or compost.

  • Feels soft and soapy.
  • Fertile and drain fairly well.
  • Rich in nutrients.
  • Hold more moisture than sandy soils.
  • Easily compacted.

The following plants are well-adapted to silty soils:

Snowdrops
Galanthus Woronowii

These spring-flowering bulbs are well-suited for silty soil. There is nothing to match the breath-taking sight of a sweeping carpet of snowdrops, a marvellous herald of spring.  Galanthus Woronowii is a giant white snowdrop with green markings. It’s beautiful nodding honey scented flower heads appear as early as January.

Hellebore
Helleborus Orientalis Mixed

Hellebore is a group of flowering perennials that are well-suited to the moist, well-draining conditions of silty soil. These fine Hellebore Orientalis Mixed produce pretty bowl shaped flowers in February to March in an array of hues, some will be spotted within. When left undisturbed, they can produce expanding clumps of evergreen foliage.

Dogwood
Cornus Midwinter Fire

Moisture-loving trees such as Dogwood perform well in silty soils. Cornus Midwinter Fire stays true to its namesake, slowly revealing brilliant flame-coloured stems as the leaves fall away. Shoots begin a yellow-orange, with the tips turning a brilliant red as the season goes on, giving the shrub a flaming look.

 

 

Tips 

  1. Add an inch of organic matter (compost, decaying sawdust, or wood shavings) yearly, then add organic fertilizers and then cover with a further 2-3 inches of mulch.
  2. Avoid compaction – minimize walking on garden beds or consider planting on raised beds.
  3. Silty soil has a tendency to become waterlogged – avoid overwatering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Lumps of white chalk or flint stones are visible in the soil.
  • Either ‘heavy’ or ‘light’ depending if the soil mixed with the chalk is clay or sand.
  • Very alkaline.
  • Largely made up of calcium carbonate.

The following plants are well-adapted to chalky soils:

Mock ORANGE
Philadelphus ‘Belle Etiole’

Trees and shrubs such as Mock Orange perform beautifully in chalky soils. The heady fragrance of the beautiful ‘Belle Etoile’ is a fantastic addition to the summer border. This Mock Orange, prized for its citrusy scent presents an abundance of single, pure white flowers through late spring and early summer.

Lilac
Syringa meyeri Palibin

Lilacs are perfect shrubs that will thrive even in chalky soils. The delicious fragrant flowers of lilac are not to be missed in the garden in spring and they are one of the season’s best cut flowers. Lilacs can become very big plants so the best place to plant them is at the back of a border or at the perimeter of the garden.

Lavender
Lavender Hidcote

Lavender thrives in soils that are sandy, chalky or alkaline. A beautiful option for the summer garden is a traditional evergreen fragrant Lavender, Lavender Hidcote. Producing an abundance of purple-lilac coloured flowers in July through to September, they enjoy the free-draining soil provided by chalky soils. Grow them in full sun to get the best from them.

 

Tips 

  1.  Break up the chalk to a depth of 30 inches so that plant roots can spread out and establish.
  2. Add plenty of well-rotted organic matter (compost, composted green waste or manure) to improve the soil.
  3.  Attention to watering will be required for a longer period than other soil types.

 

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