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

Our Best Dahlias for Cut Flowers

Big, bold and beautiful, Dahlias are one of the most popular summer flowers due to their breathtaking flowers. Available in a wide assortment of colours, shapes and sizes, these eye-catching blooms not only shine in the garden but they make the most amazing cut flowers!

With Spring officially here, now is the perfect time to kick off your cutting garden and order some delightful Dahlia bulbs for planting in April. All Dahlia make exceptional cut flowers but we’ve done all the hard work and narrowed down a list of the most desirable varieties to add to your shopping list.

Dahlia ‘Edge of Joy’

The name says it all, these raspberry streaked white Decorative Dahlias will bring joy to the garden all summer long. A beautiful cut flower to pair with other pink Dahlias.

Dahlia ‘Painted Lady’

A stylish variety with the most unique colouring. ‘Painted Lady’ showcases fantastic pale pink blooms with flashes of crimson markings.

Dahlia ‘Toto’

These Dahlias shine like a ray of light inside the home. Their bright, daisy-like white flowers with yellow centres are hard not to fall in love with.

Dahlia ‘Ice Crystal’

These pure white blooms will bring a breath of fresh air to the home in the summer time. A gorgeous Cactus variety – reliable and sturdy.

Dahlia ‘Honka Red’

A prestigious RHS Garden Merit Award Winner. This cartwheel shaped Dahlia boats vibrant red blooms and will certainly add a unique touch to your summer flower vases.

Dahlia ‘Thomas Edison’

A big and brilliant Dinner Plate Dahlia. These dramatic deep purple blooms grow to an amazing 25cm in size. A real cut flower showstopper.

Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’

A delicate Dinner Plate Dahlia. Add a touch of elegance to your vases this summer with these rich creamy peach flowers.

Dahlia ‘Purple Puff’

These Anemone-flowering Dahlias (commonly known as Powder Puffs) are a glorious sight in the summer. Their purple-crimson flowers look perfect paired with other purple Dahlias.

Need some cut flower tips?

  • The more you cut the more they bloom!
  • Give you Dahlias a longer life by immersing the stems in boiling water for a few seconds – this will help to keep them fresh!
  • Cut your Dahlias just above a set of leaf nodes and side buds – new shoots with grow from the nodes.
  • Change your vase water every 2-3 days for maximum Dahlia lifespan.

Garden Gifts for Mother’s Day

With March 22nd just around the corner, instead of purchasing the usual prearranged bouquet from your florist, why not try these thoughtful alternatives? From symbolic flowers to crafty creations, check out our gift guide to find the ideal Mother’s Day gifts for the mum who loves to get out in the garden.

Symbolic Gifts

For centuries, flowers have been gifted as symbols of specific feelings, thoughts and memories. So instead of your standard floral bunch, why not gift something that your mother can grow, love and enjoy for years?

Peonies

A popular choice for summer gardens. The pretty Peony is often seen as a symbol of beauty in all forms, so what better flower is there to tell your mum just how beautiful she is?

We recommend…

Day Lilies (Hemerocallis)

Big, bold and bright. The Day Lily is a flower that symbolises motherhood. These beautiful, vibrant blooms are the perfect treat for your mum to enjoy in the summer garden.

We recommend…

Roses

Show your mum how much you love her this Mother’s Day by sending her a stunning Rose bush to grow at home. Pink roses are often given as a symbol of gratitude and appreciation and yellow shades of Roses are gifted to express joy.

We recommend…

Gladioli

A classic summer perennial. These wonderful flowers are easy to grow and make stunning cut flowers for your mum to showcase around her home. Symbolising strength, these striking flowers send a strong message of support and love to the person you are gifting this flower to.

We recommend…

Get Crafty

The time and love that goes into creating a homemade present shows nothing but care and admiration. Whether your 2 or 42, here are some crafty Mother’s Day creations to brighten her day!

Fresh picked Spring flowers

With Spring underway, Daffodils, Crocus and Snowdrops are now coming into bloom. So to add a personal touch this Mother’s Day, why not head into the garden and pick a spring bouquet?

Bookmarks with a natural twist

Pressing leaves and flowers to create art is a fun and easy craft for adults as well as children. If you’re feeling crafty, why not use fresh flowers and foliage to diy a personalised bookmark? The perfect present for all the bookworms in your life.

DIY Bird Feeders

A wonderful wildlife-friendly project is the perfect creative gift for any wildlife-lover. This teacup feeder is a great elegant choice that simply requires a tea set, superglue and some rope – simple!

Beautiful Summer Flower Companions

Are you in search of long-flowering, easy to grow flowers to add a burst of energy to your summer gardens? With Spring just a few weeks away, it’s time to get your summer bulb lists together in time for the spring planting season. With just a little planning, you can assemble a collection of summer flowers to bring joy and colour to your beds and borders.

To help you in your summer bulb quest, we’ve done all the hard work for you and put together a useful list of summer bulb companions to inspire you and your gardens:

Crocosmia and Agapanthus

A beautifully bold pairing. These glowing perennials combine vibrant shades and shapes of flowerheads to create a spectacular effect in borders. As an added bonus, most of these two wonderful varieties are drought tolerant too!

Crocosmia ‘Sunglow’
Agapanthus ‘Back in Black’

Echinacea and Rudbeckia

A colourful and easy to grow pairing. These wildlife-loving partners are perfect for livening up any garden with bees and butterflies in the peak of summer. These low maintenance flowers are perfect for beds and borders.

Echinacea ‘Hot Papaya’
Rudbeckia ‘Little Goldstar’

Salvia and Verbena

Plant a mix of these perennials and welcome to your very own wildlife haven. Both varieties are easy to grow, low maintenance and drought tolerant, what more could you want in the summer garden?

Salvia ‘Gigantimo Bluestripe’
Verbena ‘Pink Spires’

Dahlias and Hemerocallis

Inject a dose of colourful drama into the summer garden with these bold bloomers. Even though both varieties are eye-catching on their own, together they are a real burst of joy in the border.

Dahlia ‘Great Silence’
Hemerocallis ‘Double Dream’

Monarda and Geraniums

A fantastic plant combination for a long lasting display. These plants grow harmoniously together in soft pink and purple shades to add a fresh colour palette to borders and containers. Most of these perennials are top performers and some are award winners too!

Monarda ‘Blaustrumpf’
Geranium ‘Rozanne’

Spring Photo Competition 2020: Enter to WIN £100

Back by popular demand!

Our annual Spring Photography Competition is back for 2020 with another chance to win up to £100 worth of J Parker’s vouchers.

The competition is simple. All you have to do is take photos of your #JParkersBulbs spring-flowering bulbs in your garden this spring, and send them in online to be in for a chance to win.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about our latest competition:

This year, we have 10 amazing prizes up for grabs. Here is the prize list for our 2020 winners:

Winners Announced: Community Garden Competition

We would like to thank all of the entrants for joining in and helping make this year’s Community Garden Competition a success. We’ve had just over 100 entries, who have shared the story of their community garden via email or social, and we have been moved by how many of you are involved in such amazing and caring communities!

Our 3 lucky winners have been randomly selected and each entry had to answer this question:

How does your garden benefit the local community and how would a donation help it thrive?

Each community garden donation winner has been informed via email about their big win. So, without further adieu… here are this year’s winners!

Catterall Village ‘Chatty Bench’ WIN £30 worth of bulbs!

A little village situated north of Preston in Lancashire are trying to put the heart back into the community with gardening!

They have recently made a community garden. At its centre is a beautiful stone bench, west facing, where we hope people will sit and socialise with others. We are going to call it the ‘Chatty Bench’ and surround it with flowering shrubs and plants so people can sit and be joined by others who fancy a chat. This Chatty Bench is intended for young or old and may be the start of other Chatty Benches in the village. It will enable the lonely, vulnerable, or isolated amongst us to feel connected to the world around us and there is no better way than by being in a garden.

The Chatty Bench team would like to win a bulb donation to organise a community Bulb Planting afternoon and involve families especially children, to help decorate the village with flower bulbs.

Southborough SOS Community Garden WIN £50 worth of bulbs!

Southborough SOS’s mission statement is “Help tackle problem areas within Southborough Community, i.e. weeding, cleaning, vandalism etc. General goings on and events. Let’s help each other”.  

Since April 2019, members of Southborough SOS as well as beavers and cubs from the 19th Royal Tunbridge Wells St Matthews Scout Group have started transforming two areas of land in Southborough into two community gardens. Sadly the area has a mixture of community problems but the gardens have made a vast difference and given the community a huge lift. The local beaver and cub groups now can’t wait to get out and help again this year.  They would like to win a bulb donation to continue the good work started last year!

Leicester’s Hospital Secret Garden WIN £100 worth of bulbs!

This garden based at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester is centred on promoting health and wellbeing.

They have a project underway to restore a neglected Victorian walled garden, to provide not only a haven of tranquillity for the users, staff and visitors of Leicester’s Hospitals, but also an environment and facilities to benefit the local and wider community. Plans for the garden include sensory areas, space for quiet reflection, an organic growing area and open spaces for people to gather.

With a focus on the therapeutic and social benefits of gardening, they would like a donation of bulbs and plants to help provide a valuable and much-appreciated boost to the hospital’s garden.

Our Annual Spring Photo Competition is coming soon so stay tuned!

Rose Guide: 8 Simple Steps to Pruning Roses

Wondering when to prune your Roses? The moment you choose to prune your Roses can be the difference between a beautiful, healthy plant that produces an abundance of blooms, to one that might not make it through the winter. Late winter is the ideal time to prune Rose bushes, and the right care can ensure healthy growth in the spring time.

Pruning Tips

Here are our 8 simple steps for pruning Roses:

1. Remove the foliage