Lockdown Garden Giveaway!

With so many of us stuck at home during lockdown and our holidays cancelled, our gardens have been a haven for stress relief, relaxation, and enjoyment. That is why this July, we are hosting a Lockdown Garden Giveaway!

Whether you have a garden, balcony, or just a window box, we want to know how your outdoor space has brought you joy during lockdown for the chance to WIN an amazing Autumn bulb bundle (worth £100)!

Here’s how to enter:

  • Send us a photo of your garden
  • Along with the photo, sum up in 1 sentence how your garden has helped you during lockdown

(Entrants can only send in one entry each)

What can I win?

One lucky winner will receive a selection of mixed spring-flowering bulbs worth £100!

Where do I enter?

For a chance to win, simply send in your lockdown garden entry via these channels:

FACEBOOK – Post your entries on our page for a chance to win!

TWITTER – Tag us in your photos with the hashtag #lockdowngiveaway

INSTAGRAM– Tag us in your photos with the hashtag #lockdowngiveaway

Or EMAIL us at competition@jparkers.co.uk (Entry must be under 5mb – please include your name and postcode)

COMPETITION CLOSES ON JULY 31st

Terms and Conditions:

  • Send your entries by email to competition@jparkers.co.uk (email under 5mb) or you can share it with us on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.
  • All entries must be sent in before midnight on July 31st 2020.
  • All entries using photographs must be original images, taken/produced by the entrant. You must own all rights to the image and in entering the competition you agree to allow us to use your image in further promotions, on social media or in print.
  • Entrants agree that their names may or may not be published with their entry. No other details will be shared with any third parties.
  • The winning entry will be judged on both the quality of the image and their written text. The Judge’s decision is final.

Drought Resistant Plants for Your Garden

Agapanthus flowers

Do you find watering the summer garden time consuming? With British summers getting hotter and drier, drought tolerant plants are the answer to growing a beautiful garden that can withstand the summer heat.

Check out our favourite drought tolerant plants that will best adapt to the prolonged dry season.

Agapanthus Melbourne

Agapanthus

Native to South Africa, these hardy perennials are perfect for tackling the summer heat. Incredibly drought tolerant and loved by bees and butterflies, Agapanthus plants are a summer garden must-have.

Our recommendations:

Agapanthus 'Silver Baby'
Agapanthus ‘Silver Baby’
Agapanthus ‘Midnight Cascade’

Panicle Hydrangeas

Panicle Hydrangeas, or Hydrangea Paniculatas, are one of the hardiest shrubs around and they’re surprisingly drought tolerant! Beautiful big blooms for summer garden borders.

Our recommendations:

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’
Hydrangea ‘Vanilla Fraise’
Echinacea 'After Midnight'

Echinacea (Coneflowers)

Drought, heat, humidity and poor soil tolerant! These tough, easy to grow plants are perfect for filling your garden with vibrant colour all summer long.

Our recommendations:

Echinacea ‘Hot Summer’
Echinacea ‘Pink Double Delight’

Sedums

Add never ending interest to your garden with hardy Sedums. These easy to grow, drought tolerant perennials are perfect for creeping borders or gravel gardens.

Our recommendations:

Sedum ‘Kamtschaticum’
Sedum ‘Summer Glory’

Salvia

Loved by bees and butterflies, these hardy Perennials are the perfect low maintenance summer plants. Wonderfully drought tolerant and flowers profusely all summer.

Our recommendations:

Salvia Nemerosa ‘Rose Queen’
Salvia Nemerosa ‘White’

Euphorbia

Why grow Euphorbia? These drought tolerant and low maintenance perennials add structure and colour to garden borders. Perfect for spring and summer gardens.

Our recommendations:

Euphorbia Ascot ‘Rainbow’
Euphorbia ‘Bonfire’

Check out these other blogs:

How to Grow a Sensory Garden

Growing a sensory garden is simple way to create a space that’s not only amazing to look at, but great for mental well being. In our blog post, we’ll share what a sensory garden is and which plants we recommend to start off your very own sensory garden.

What is a sensory garden?

Sensory gardens should be filled with plants that activate all our senses; touch, smell, sound, sight and taste. To create a sensory space, focus on:

Our Sensory Garden Starter Pack:

We’ve selected our special sensory favourites from our online range to start off your sensory garden journey.

Muscari ‘Cupido’

Easy to grow and versatile spring plants. Enjoy the lovely fragrance of these pale blue, pea-like flowers in patio pots or around trees and shrubs.

Hyacinth ‘Miss Saigon’

A vibrant, showstopping Hyacinth. These bold purple blooms are perfect for adding fragrance along borders or pathways.

Allium ‘Summer Drummer’

A popular plant at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. These tall, highly fragrant Alliums are perfect for the back of the border.

Eremurus ‘White Beauty’

A dazzling white bloomer that adds height and texture to the garden. These award-winning, long-flowering beauties are perfect for the summer garden.

Allium ‘Ursinum’

Otherwise known as Wild Garlic, this amazing naturalising plant bursts with beautiful white flowers and aromatic leaves that can be used in cooking.

Miscanthus ‘Indian Summer’

A stylish, ornamental grass that adds a calming effect in the garden as their tall, vibrant stems sway in the wind. Perfect for borders, containers or as a natural screen.

Daphne ‘Eternal Fragrance’

A creamy white Daphne. Their sweet scent is not to be missed when being carried in the breeze on a warm summers day.  Perfect for patio pots.

Wisteria ‘Prolific’

A show-stopping climber. If you want to add, texture, scent and movement to the garden, this vibrant purple Wisteria does it all.

Our New Spring-Flowering Bulbs

Our 2020 Spring-flowering bulb range has arrived! Since the garden is now sorted for summer, it’s never too early to start planning for autumn-planting season.

With many new varieties added to this year’s range, we’ve selected our favourite new spring-flowering bulbs to inspire you to plan your upcoming spring displays.

Our Autumn bulbs are all available to pre-order now for delivery in September.

New Hyacinths

Our favourite new Hyacinths for 2020.

Hyacinth ‘Spring Beauty’

A truly romantic Hyacinth. These baby pink, star-shaped blooms add fragrance and colourful beauty to the spring garden.

Hyacinth 'Spring Beauty'
Hyacinth 'Red Diamond'

Hyacinth ‘Red Diamond’

A vibrant crimson showstopper. These eye-catching Hyacinths will add a pop of colour to spring pots and borders.

Hyacinth ‘Dark Dimension’

Add drama to the spring garden with these luxurious, deep blue Hyacinths. Perfect for pairing with light flowers for a stunning contrast.

Hyacinth 'Dark Dimension'

New Narcissi

Our favourite new Narcissi varieties for 2020.

Narcissi ‘Peach Cobbler’

A delicious combination of creamy white flowers with a rich, apricot centre. Bring the sunshine to your borders with this amazing Narcissi.

Narcissi 'Peach Cobbler'
Narcissi 'Blushing Lady'

Narcissi ‘Blushing Lady’

These pale yellow blooms surround a gorgeous, blushing pink centre. The perfect pastel flowers for the spring garden.

Narcissi ‘Heamoor’

Sunshine in a flower. These vibrant, double Narcissi blooms will add cheer to any spring display.

Narcissi 'Heamoor'

New Tulips

Our favourite new Tulip varieties for 2020.

Tulip ‘Anfield’

A ravishing red Tulip. These brilliant double blooms are the perfect compact Tulips for patio pots.

Tulip 'Anfield'
Tulip 'Mascotte'

Tulip ‘Mascotte’

These fuchsia pink, fringed Tulips will sparkle in the spring garden. These easy to grow flowers will add the wow factor to spring borders.

Tulip ‘Apricot Impression’

Blooming in salmon and apricot shades, these flowers will create a sea of romantic colour to spring borders and containers.

Tulip 'Apricot Impression'

White Garden: Best Plants for White Flowers

There is a timeless elegance in white flowers that will never fade. They brighten up dull spots, add contrast to colourful plants and add a subtle glow to the garden in the evenings.

Here are our favourite white bloomers to fill your garden with ethereal beauty all year round.

For hanging baskets:

These stunning flowers create a real eye-catching effect in summer hanging baskets. 

Scaevola Albanico ‘White’
Fuchsia ‘Hawkshead’
Surfinia ‘White’
Million Bells ‘White’

For flower pots:

Our perfect pot partners bloom with masses of white flowers to cheer up any patio pot, porch or garden space.

Dahlia ‘Toto’
Heuchera ‘White Cloud’
Hydrangea ‘Confetti’
Echinacea ‘Milkshake’

For beds & borders:

For a carpet of snowy blooms or large and in charge feature plants, these are our top picks for white-flowering beds and borders.

Lily ‘Pretty Woman’
Dianthus ‘Confetti White’
Gypsophila ‘White’
Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’

For shrubs:

Add beauty year-round with these amazing pure white blooming shrubs.

Pearl Bush
Buddleia ‘White Swan’
Snowball Bush
Euonymus ‘Paloma Blanca’

5 Great Summer Plants for Shade

Finding plants that can thrive in shade can be tricky, but there are plenty of beautiful options available. Instead of you searching the internet for shaded plants, we’ve done the hard work for you and compiled a selection of our favourite shade-loving plants.

From colourful bloomers to fresh foliage, discover our top five plants to brighten up those difficult shaded corners of the summer garden.

1. Viburnum

Many Viburnums are perfect for shady spots. They’re great for wildlife, produce gorgeous flowers and fruit and make a fantastic focal point in beds and borders.

We recommend:

Snowball Tree
Viburnum Kilimanjaro

2. Hardy Fuchsias

Hardy Fuchsias are a hanging basket staple in the summertime. Their elegant drooping blooms brighten up baskets and window boxes, and thankfully, they can be planted in shade! Since they don’t like too much heat, these tender perennials can be placed in partial/full shade.

We recommend:

Fuchsia ‘Heidi Anne’
Hardy Fuchsia Mixed

3. Heucheras

These fabulous shade-tolerant beauties are some of the best-kept secrets in the garden. You can easily set a shady spot alight with colour by planting bright and beautiful Heucheras. What’s more, these foliage plants perform all year round too, making them a magnificent choice for so many spots in the garden. 

We recommend:

Heuchera sanguinea ‘Firefly’
Heuchera ‘Fire Chief’

4. Hydrangeas

Can Hydrangeas grow in shade? Absolutely. In fact, many of the most common varieties of these bright and beautiful shrubs, like mophead and lacecap, are perfect for shaded environments.

We recommend:

Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’
Hydrangea Magical ‘Revolution Blue’

5. Ferns

Ornamental foliage plants have become a big trend in modern gardens. Low maintenance and high performing, they add bring a fresh and natural look to the summer garden. Ferns thrive in the shade, so they’re the perfect plants for growing fantastic displays in pots and borders.

We recommend:

Japanese Painted Lady Fern
Hardy Fern Collection

Guide to Planting Maxi Plugs

Looking for a quick fix for those gaps in your flower beds or baskets? Our top quality maxi plug plants are a great way to grab a range of flowers to create a beautiful summer display for bargain prices.

In this blog post, we will be sharing our maxi plug planting guide, from plug sizes to our planting tips, that will fill your garden with beauty this summer.

What Size are Maxi Plugs?

Height: 6-9cm from base of plug to the top of the foliage.

Width: 2.2 cm at the top of the plug.

Quantity in tray: Available in 33,66 or 132 trays.

Where Can I Plant Them?

Available in an amazing array of varieties, maxi plugs make the perfect partners for pots, containers, borders or window displays. Our Lavender plants are perfect for growing fragrant pots for the patio or why not try planting a carpet of Verbena for a vibrant border.

How Do I Plant Maxi Plugs?

Learn how to get the best from Maxi plug plants with our step-by-step planting guide:

  1. On arrival, give them a little water (if required) and light and they will be ready to plant within 48 hours.
  2. Pot up the plugs for a number of weeks (minimum of two-three).
  3. Once the roots become established, plant out into final position ( Only plant outside when all risk of frost has passed).
  4. Water regularly and make sure soil does not become too dry.
  5. Cut back in spring when new shoots emerge from the base of the plant

7 Ways to Make the Most of Small Spaces

Struggling what to do with your small outdoor space? You don’t need to have a big, expansive garden to grow something spectacular. Update any compact area with these tips on how to make the most of any space.

1. TEXTURE TACTICS

Textured plants can create the illusion of depth and distance. Bold-leaved plants, such as Hostas, Cannas or Elephant’s Ears, draw the eye. Position finer leaves in the background and coarse ones in front, to create the impression that the space is deeper than it actually is. This trick works particularly well in shallow, sloping gardens.

We recommend:

Hosta ‘Summer Fragrance’
Canna ‘Durban’

2. GROWN YOUR OWN

Make the most of even the tiniest patch and you’ll be surprised at how many of your own fruit and vegetables you can grow. Especially in urban gardens, where there is limited outdoor space, transform a balcony, patio or garden patch into an edible haven. Patio trees, compact plants or planting in raised beds are a great way to make the most out of limited space.

We recommend:

Apple ‘Elstar’
Cherry ‘Sylvia’

3. FILL IT WITH FRAGRANCE

Scented plants are the perfect way to bring any space to life and that is only intensified in a smaller garden. Discover fragrant plants with different seasons of fragrance to provide scent all year, and grow them near the door or paths for best effect. Plant pots where you can enjoy their scent, either next to a bench or around a patio, and squeeze plants that release their scent when crushed, such as Thyme, into gaps in paths.

We recommend:

Lavender ‘Munstead’
Buddleia ‘Sugar Plum’

4. PLAY AROUND WITH POTTED PLANTS 

Pots, tubs, and barrels overflowing with flowers add appeal to any garden, big or small. Plants lend instant colour and provide a focal point in the garden. Their versatility means you can place them on the ground, on a pedestal, mount them on a windowsill, or hang them from your porch; the possibilities are endless!

We recommend:

Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’
Lily ‘Majestic Joy’

5. GET CREATIVE WITH SHELVES AND HOOKS 

Vertical gardening is a great space-saving style of gardening. Instead of cluttering a compact floor space with plants, why not build garden shelves and create colourful floral walls. Window boxes and hanging baskets offer even more ways to add instant colour and appeal.

We recommend:

Surfinia ‘Trailing Mixed’
Bacopa ‘Topia Mixed’

6. USE DIFFERENT LEVELS

Placing plants at different heights help to broaden the view of the garden and can help break it up smaller areas, giving the impression that the space is bigger than it really is.

We recommend:

Festuca Grass Collection
Helenium Collection

7. HIDE BOUNDARIES FOR MORE SPACE

To open up a small space, hide boundaries with evergreen hedges, trees or climbers. They soften unsightly features and create a super environment for wildlife.

We recommend:

Star Jasmine
Clematis ‘Mayleen’

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