How and When to Plant Summer Bulbs

As spring approaches, it’s time to head outdoors and prepare your garden for summer blooms. Flowers categorised as ‘summer bulbs’ are flowering bulbs which grow and bloom during the summer, and so they are planted at the start of spring. Summer bulbs need warm weather and warm soil; a rule of thumb to remember is if it’s time for your tomatoes to go outdoors, it is also time to plant your summer bulb.

J.Parker’s Spring 2020 Collection is available to browse and purchase online NOW! So why not take a look our selection below of some beautiful summer bulbs, and kick-start the inspiration for your summer garden.

Begonias

How to plant: Begonias planted in beds which are enriched with well rotted or leaf mould will make a fine show. They should be started in shallow boxes in light soil; the saucer like tubers should be planted very shallow with the hollow side up. As soon as any danger of frost is passed then they can be transferred to their position in the garden at least 30cm apart.

Helene Harms

These cheerful sunshine blooms will add colour all summer from June to October. A perfect addition to patio pots or containers.

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Odorata Pink Delight

Well-known for its highly fragrant flowers, the Begonia Pink Delight produces an abundance of vivid pink blooms. Flowers throughout summer until first frosts.

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 Non-Stop White

These stunning white flowers bloom continuously throughout the summer months, contrasting against their glossy dark leaves.

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Dahlias

How to plant: Dahlia tubers can be planted 10cm deep in fertile well drained soil, outdoors in spring when the frost has disappeared. They prefer to be in a sunny location and spaced at approximately 45cm apart. In areas where there is extreme cold, dig up dahlias and store in a cool peat over the winter. Apply a high potash fertiliser every few weeks in summer and dead head when necessary.

Bilbao

Bilbao is a large, zesty yellow Dinner Plate Dahlia with flowers that really shine during the summer months. Flowers June to September.

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Bishop of Leicester

Bishop of Leicester produces beautiful pink petals and a golden yellow centre. The unusual dark foliage contrasts brilliantly with the bright flower.

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Cabana Banana

Cactus Dahlias produce pointed petals which turn backwards to create this stunning tubular effect. The Cabana Banana has a gorgeous creamy yellow flower with a subtle blend of pink.

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Lilies

How to plant: each lily bulb should be surrounded with a little sharp sand both under and above the bulb to keep slugs away and to ward off excessive wetness. As most liliums are stem rooting we strongly recommend you plant at 15cm deep. They give a much better display when planted in clumps of 3, 6 or 12 bulbs (45cm apart). Planting time is October through to April.

Foxtrot

This delicate pale pink Dwarf Asiatic Lily is compact, but produces masses of flowers on very sturdy stems. Flowering from June to August, they make a great summer border flower.

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Yellow County

Our Yellow County Asiatic Lily produces lovely lively yellow flowers, with a beautiful scent. Asiatic hybrid lilies are the easiest to grow and amongst the first to bloom.

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White Heaven

The pure white trumpet shape of this Longiflorum Lily is a delicate addition to any summer garden, and make for wonderful cut flower displays. Bloom from July to September.

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Gladioli

How to plant: plant gladioli corms about 10-15cm deep and about 10-15cm apart, in fertile/well drained soil. When planting in a heavy soil, place some sand underneath each corm to help with drainage. At Parkers we recommend planting Gladioli in groups at monthly intervals, starting early spring, to extend the flowering season for a display which lasts all summer long.

Adrenaline

Our Gladioli Adrenaline are a dazzling blend of pale pink, white, and purple stamens. They make a lovely fresh feature in any summer garden.

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Fergie

Fergie is a Butterfly Gladioli that produces tangy lime green flowers with a dramatic contrasting red in its throat. Like all Gladioli they are great for attracting bees and butterflies.

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Nanus Impressive

These Gladioli are true to their name, with amazing dark pink markings upon pale pink petals. The unique pattern certainly attracts the eye and flower from May until July.

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Our new Spring 2020 range is now available online. Get ahead and begin shopping for your Summer Garden now!

Alternatively, you can request a copy of our Spring 2020 Catalogue here.

Must-Have Flowers for 2020

Get Ahead: Plan your Summer Bulb Displays Now

With the new year approaching we can look forward to warmer weather and new growth appearing in our gardens, and now is the perfect time to be thinking of your summer display. Summer-flowering bulbs add an injection of colour to any garden and make for eye-catching borders and displays. Whilst often planted out in spring, many bulbs are suited to being planted as early as February. Be one step ahead and take inspiration from our selection below of Must-Have Flowers for 2020!

Summer Flower Top-Picks:

Lilies

Lilies add a touch of the exotic to the garden, and their large, brightly coloured heads are bound to attract the eye. These flowers are a striking addition to pots and borders and provide a beautiful scent. Planting time is December to April.

Lily Mona Lisa

This Dwarf Oriental Lily is a must for fronts of garden borders, or perfect in a patio pot or container. With a wonderful fragrance, these lilies would also make a lovely cut flower arrangement.

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Lily Red Twin

Our Double Flowering Asiatic Lily produces an abundance of vibrant deep red-orange flowers, and is sure to liven up any display or border.

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Lily Butter Pixie

The bright zesty petals of this Dwarf Asiatic Lily contrast splendidly with its glossy dark leaves, and is a refreshing addition to front of border displays.

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Begonia

Begonias are extremely popular for their versatility and reliability. From hanging baskets and window boxes to borders and pots, these colourful favourites are a  centerpiece in the garden. Planting time is from February onwards.

Begonia Richard GaLLE

Begonia Multiflora Richard Galle produces clusters of apricot-orange flowers with hints of yellow. They have a fantastic flowering period from June right through to October.

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Begonia Double Pink

Our Begonia Double Pink has spectacularly large bright pink blooms which can reach a diameter of 15cm. The tubers can be lifted, stored, and replanted the following year making them great value.

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Begonia Fancy Frills Yellow 

Begonia Fancy Frills is a sunshine yellow Fimbriata Begonia with bright ruffled petals. This flower is sure to bring sun to any garden.

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Gladioli

Gladioli are a classic flower which have added excitement to summer displays for generations. Available in an array of bright and bold colours, they are often referred to as the ‘sword lily’ for their blade-shaped foliage. Planting time is early March to May.

Gladioli Video

The Gladioli Video yields elegant lavender-pink petals from tall flower spikes, reaching a mature height of 90cm. Perfect for adding height to borders.

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Gladioli Cha Cha

Our Gladioli Cha Cha has beautiful butter yellow flowers which are sure to brighten up any border or summer display.

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Gladioli Espresso

The Gladioli Espresso produces striking velvety-red flowers with contrasting white stamens. This large, vibrant flower will bring excitement to any garden this summer.

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Eucomis

Eucomis descend from South Africa and have an unusual pineapple shape. Their long-lasting flowers and attractive foliage are an exotic feature point of borders, pots and flowerbeds. Planting time is from February, if into pots and containers.

Eucomis Sparkling Rosy

The Eucomis Sparkling Rosy gives deep maroon flowers in summer and follows with delicate pale pink star-shaped flowers, nestled between glossy green foliage.

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Eucomis Bicolour

This Eucomis Bicolour most lives up to the name of ‘pineapple lily, as it’s flowers bear a striking resemblance to the fruit. It’s petals are pale green an edged with maroon.

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Eucomis Autmnalis Alba

Our Eucomis Autumnalis Alba produces white flower spikes with a bright green tuft, atop broad, wavy edged leaves.

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Bulb Planting: A Guide

The general rule for planting bulbs is to dig deeper than the obvious. The usual guide is two to three times the depth of the bulb itself, however you will do less harm by planting too deep than too shallow. The other general rule is that bulbs need good drainage. The best way to achieve this is to mix grit into the general area or container of planting.

Many summer bulbs are ideal for growing in patio containers, especially tender species. These can then be lifted in winter and stored.

Step by Step:

Planting in borders:

  • Dig a hole wide and deep enough for your bulbs. Most bulbs require planting in a hole two to three times their depth.
  • Place the bulbs in the hole with their shoot facing upwards. Space them at least twice the bulb’s own width apart.
  • Replace the soil and gently firm. Avoid treading on the soil as this can damage the bulbs.

Planting in containers:

  • Dig a hole three times the bub depth, and plant the bulbs one width apart.
  • Water bulbs once after planting then regularly when in active growth. Reduce watering once the leaves die down through the dormant season.
  • If you bring pots of hardy bulbs indoors for flowering, put them in a sheltered spot outside as soon as flowering is over.

Looking for more information on planting our bulbs? Below you can find a selection of videos from our resident plant expert Jeff Turner explaining how best to plant your Summer Bulbs.

How to Plant Eucomis (Pineapple Lily): Summer Garden Guide
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Pretty Pastels for the Garden

To make a garden– a beautiful garden! You must choose garden colour schemes smartly. On a deeper level, colours can evoke certain emotions in us. Bright colours can make us feel more energetic and vibrant. Cool colours can make us feel calm, content, tired or melancholy and pastel colours can make us feel relaxed, refreshed and peaceful. In a garden space intended for peace, quiet and relaxation, pastels are the perfect garden colour scheme this summer.

Using pastels in the garden can create a space where we can unwind after a hard day and feel refreshed. A pastel garden can be placed almost anywhere in the yard. Pastel colored flowers look beautiful in bright sunlight, but also stand out in shade gardens and can brighten up especially dark areas.

Blues

Hibiscus Blue Chiffon

This award winning Hibiscus Syriacus has cool pale blue flowers, arranged like layers of ruffled chiffon. The centres are subtly marked with flashes of star-like burgundy-purple veins. A fabulous deciduous shrub which holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit, its quality’s guaranteed. A fine stand- alone specimen, or reliable addition to the shrub border, it will also make a great informal hedge or screen. It is a great choice for attracting butterflies to your garden.

Polemonium viscosum Blue Whirl

This beautiful clump forming Jacob’s ladder that produces clusters of small lavender blue flowers on shorter stems with fern like foliage. This compact perennial is perfect for patio pots or rockeries for creating a burst of cool colour.

Iris Sibirica Dear Delight

The Siberian Iris is a hardy perennial Iris which produces graceful flowers from May to July in an unusual tone of powder blue with white shading.

Pinks

Lily Elodie

This pale, baby pink Asiatic Lily is an excellent choice for bedding with very sturdy stems and upright flowers that will add plenty of elegant, pastel colour to your garden in the summer. For a lovely soft pastel display plant alongside creamy pink roses such as Joie de Vivre or our pink and white Dahlia Mix. These can be cut for a delicate and romantic bouquet.

Gladioli Adrenaline

Gladioli Adrenaline are a stunning blend of pale pink and white, they are sure to add glamour to your summer garden. We recommend planting Gladioli in groups at monthly intervals, starting early spring, to extend the flowering season for a showcase that lasts all summer long.

Lavender Rosea

A twist on the traditional lilac evergreen Lavender varieties, Rosea produces beautiful pale pink flower heads as well as the instantly recognizable Lavender fragrance.  They are ideal for planting in rows as illustrated or in pots around the patio and garden.

Yellows

Double Hollyhocks Yellow

Hollyhocks, otherwise known as Alcea, are a stable of many gardeners and synonymous with cottage garden displays. This beautiful Double Yellow variety produces stunning flowers in a sunny yellow shade. The flowers are perfect for attracting bees, butterflies and other nectar loving insects into your garden.

Dahlia Boom Boom Yellow

Unique pale yellow blooms that look amazing in the summer border. These Pompom Dahlias produce fabulous double spherical blooms which are sure to add a new dimension of shape and texture to any garden. Each flower head is made up of layers of silky, inwardly curved petals creating a perfectly formed sphere. Tall sturdy stems not only provide excellent support; but also provide the Dahlia with its iconic bobbing habit in the breeze – an uplifting and calming sight, especially in a hot sunny garden.

Rose Peace

In 1976, Rose Peace was voted the first ever ‘world’s favourite rose’ by the Rose Hall of Fame, and it isn’t difficult to see why. This exquisite variety of Hybrid Tea Rose produces elaborate, slightly frilled double blooms of creamy yellow, flushed at the edges with delicate pale pink. The Peace Tea Rose also emits a mild but delightfully sweet fragrance, as with other Hybrid Tea varieties.

Purples

Syringa meyeri Palibin

An upright deciduous shrub which produces dense clusters of sweetly fragrant, light pink and white panicles over attractive heart shaped foliage from late spring into early summer. When in bloom, the gorgeous flowers will bring butterflies to your garden.

Agapanthus Melbourne

A stunning new bi-colour addition to the Agapanthus range, with purple buds that open to reveal white flowers with a lilac purple stripe through each petal. Known as the African lily, these are drought tolerant and like well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. They flower throughout August and September, boast masses of strappy foliage and tall 1m stems making these the ideal addition to the back of the border.

Petunia Tumbelina Priscilla

Tumbelina Petunia produce large unique double blooms in abundance during the summer months. The numerous flowers and its long trailing habit (up to 60-80cm) make it perfect for hanging baskets. Flowering from June through to October the fragrant flowers can create a wonderful display whether planted on their own or with other trailing varieties or colours. Priscilla is a lilac- purple variety with heavily veined petals.

ENJOY GARDENING THIS SPRING!