Calla Lilies, also known as Zantedeschia, are beautiful flowers which offer an attractive colour range, are easy to cultivate and are suitable to be grown outdoors or as houseplants inside. These irresistible flowers produce blooms from May all the way through to October, and make excellent cut flowers as they have a long vase life of up to 2 weeks.
Zantedeschia grow best in full sun or partial shade and in organically rich, moist, well-drained soil. They are well suited for bog or marsh gardens, for planting near ponds and streams, or as border plants or for containers. When to plant: any time between Feb and June, but only after any danger of frost has passed.
IN THE GROUND
Choose a sheltered position and add some well-rotted organic matter before planting.
Plant the Zantedeschia tubers 10cm deep and about 30cm apart.
Set the tubers with the growing tips facing up. Cover them with soil and water as needed. Mulch to keep down weeds and conserve soil moisture.
Provide consistent moisture during the growing season and do not allow the soil to dry out.
Calla Lilies can grow as tall as 2 to 4 feet, so a tall, narrow pot is better container than a wide, shallow one.
Place the tuber so it is lying horizontally, with the eyes facing upwards.
Cover the bulb loosely and give it enough water just to dampen the soil.
Set your tall pots in a sunny spot where they will get a bit of shade in the afternoon and fill the saucer under the pot with water.
Feed with a balanced liquid fertiliser once a month until the flowers have faded.
Mulch annually in autumn with well rotted garden compost or manure.
Snip off blossoms as they start to fade, using clean and sterilised gardening shears.
With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, there are flowers in every shop and supermarket. Why not grow your own for next year? Anyone can grow cut flowers! It’s a personal, economical and rewarding way to show love to your family and friends.
Roses are the flower most associated with love and romance. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet says to her lover “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” to express that love has no boundaries. The rose has also been England’s national flower since The War of the Roses in the fifteenth century.
The name Dianthus comes from the Greek words ‘dios’ (god’) and ‘anthos’ (‘flower’). The common name ‘Carnation’ was derived from the Latin word ‘incarnation’, meaning the incarnation of God. It symbolises admiration, passion, affection, love and gratitude. One of the world’s oldest cultivated flowers, the popularity of Dianthus has remained throughout many centuries.
The Iris’s history dates back to Ancient Greek times when the Greek Goddess Iris, the messenger of the gods and the personification of the rainbow, acted as the link between heaven and earth. It was said that the flowers had the power to bring bliss and favour to earth and the people living on it. They symbolise faith, hope, wisdom and royalty.
The flower symbolises love, beauty, good luck and purity. Jasmine has always been considered a symbol of eternal beauty. In parts of India many people believe that jasmine can purify an individual, specifically when they grow into different life stages, which is why it is also symbolic of hope and spirituality. This makes it an ideal gift for a loved one, especially a partner.
The Bleeding Heart plant symbolises speaking about your emotions, passionate love, compassion and unconditional love, and spiritual connection. This flower got its name from its peculiar appearance, so does its scientific name. Known as Dicentra Spectabilis which translates to two spectacular spurs. In literal translation it means two spurs worth looking at, which fits the flower beautifully as it really is eye-catching.
If space allows, dedicate a part of the garden to growing just cut flowers. The advantage of a cutting garden over picking from borders is that it avoids depleting beds and borders, as well as providing a more productive planned area for the cut flower gardener.
No room for a big garden? You can squeeze about 20 plants into a 3ft x 6ft raised bed.
Plant or sow in rows; this makes weeding, staking and picking a much easier task.
Pick your flowers often; the more you pick, the more flowers the plant will produce.
Enjoy the rewards of growing your own, personalised cut-flower displays!
Spring is usually the most popular time for planting out summer flowering bulbs. However! February is a great time to begin planting some of the hardier varieties, or for putting them out into pots and containers for a fabulous display. Generally, bulbs prefer a light, well-draining soil – so try to avoid wet and heavy soils. But don’t worry if your garden soil isn’t well-drained, as all the bulbs below are suitable for pots and containers.
Lily bulbs can be planted any time from autumn to spring in a sunny spot, in rich well-drained soil, around 15-20cm deep. If your soil is heavy, wet or badly drained then you could plant in pots or containers for a lovely patio display.
This bright and attractive mixture will produce upright flowers that will add a splash of colour to your garden in the summer. This selection is perfect for exotic-looking pots, containers and borders.
Eucomis bulbs are usually planted in spring, however February is not too early to plant them into pots and containers. If planted in well-drained soil the bulbs should be hardy to around -6 °C . Plant the bulbs 15cm deep in pots for a summer display, or out in the border once actively growing – but only after the last frosts.
Liatris are tough herbaceous perennials originating from North America, and are great for attracting wildlife such as bees and butterflies. They produce large blooms which eventually form a clump and can be later divided in spring. Plant in light, well-draining soil around 5cm deep.
Begonias are a fantastic summer plant to grow, and very rewarding. In the British climate they will flower abundantly from June right through to October. As such versatile plants they look fabulous in pots or containers on the patio, or equally as beautiful in a flower bed. At J. Parker’s we have a huge range of Begonias to add colour to your garden. Take a look below where we have compiled a few of our favourites from each variety.
The salmon-orange petals of this Superba Begonia add zing to borders and patio pots. These giant flowers look wonderful in the garden or make equally as beautiful cut flowers. Flower from June to October.
Need advice on planting Dwarf Tulip bulbs? We’ve compiled our gardening advice in this informative blog guide on planting, arrangement, and aftercare to help make your gardening job easier.
Tulips are one of the most popular Spring bulbs for a reason. Fantastic colours and attractive shapes make them a stunning choice for your garden displays. There are a wide variety of Greigii/Kaufmanniana or dwarf Tulips within our range, from First Price, Little Beauty, Humilis, and Scarlet Baby; all with stunning colourful blooms that would be perfect for any spring border, or even hanging basket, and their spectacular foliage produces year after year whilst requiring minimal care.
Tulips do not need to be planted until October in to December. Plant bulbs in well dug soil about 8-10cm deep and approx. 15cm apart. It is often beneficial to use a little bonemeal or super phosphate mixed in with the soil. Tulips delight during their growth in a sunny location.
In this video tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff talks us through how to plant Dwarf Rockery/Botanical Tulips, with great easy to follow advice on how to achieve a terrific spring rockery display.
After the tulips have bloomed and when leaves fade and turn brown, the bulbs can be lifted, dried, cleaned and stored in a cool place until planting time. This allows the bulb to store more food and produce flowers the following year. Tulips should not be grown in the same soil for several years, so replace with fresh soil every other year.
Dahlias are an essential choice for the summer garden. The easy-to-grow tubers will produce a phenomenal display of colour in a range of styles with beautiful dense foliage. Dahlia work perfectly with almost all types of plants, and complement any garden wonderfully regardless of size.
Whether you’re looking to add some vibrancy to your summer, decorate your patio with impressive pot/container displays or grow a ready supply of cut flowers – Dahlias can do it all.
Dahlias are native to Mexico, and the country’s national flower. The Aztecs grew Dahlia tubers as a food crop, and they were widely used there for their nutritional and medicinal properties long before being propagated for their beauty.
It wasn’t until 1789 when the plants were sent to Abbe Antonio José Cavanilles, Director of the Royal Gardens of Madrid, that they got the name we know them by today. Named after the famous 18th Century botanist Anders Dahl, Dahlias were then developed and cultivated to the wide selection of hybrids and varieties we have today – with 42 different species.
Why Choose Dahlias?
They are easy to grow, and suitable for gardeners of all skill levels. They are fast growing by their nature and will flower in the first year and for many years to come (just keep them stored and frost free over the winter).
They are versatile and will tolerate most types of well drained, fertile soil or compost. They can be grown successfully in pots, tubs, window boxes and in borders.
They are one of our favourite summer bulbs because of the many different types/sizes/colours available, which all look slightly different in shape, but are all equal in beauty.
Year after year sees many new exciting new varieties introduced which means once hooked on Dahlias, you will continually be able to find and try something new.
They flower continuously through the summer, right up until the first frost of the autumn.
They look fantastic as cut flowers and are great for lovers of something a little different.
The main types of Dahlias available can be classified into a number of different categories, representing the main characteristics of the flower blooms themselves.
Anemone Flowering – Also known as Powder Puff Dahlias, these beauties produce unique flowers with double feathered central petals resembling a Powder Puff.
Cactus– A favourite for many years, Cactus Dahlias produce fully double pointed petals which turn backwards to create a tubular petal effect. Sometimes referred to as Spiky Dahlias, they are perfect for the border.
Dark Leaf – These Dahlias are a little different in that their foliage is not the usual green colours of most varieties. They create an abundance of flowers through the summer as expected, however the blooms appear on darker (usually purple/black) foliage.
Decorative– The largest range of large, fully double flowers with rounded petals through the summer right up until the first frosts. They produce masses of flowers for cutting purposes.
Dwarf Gallery – A range of smaller, more petite Dahlias which are perfect for the front of the border. They are prolific flowering varieties, look also great planted mixed together in pots on the patio.
Dinner Plate – As the name suggests these are the largest flowers within the range, often up to as much as 25cm in diameter (see illustration below). Try these as cut flowers and be certain to draw attention.
Pompom– Love the unusual, then these are certainly for you. Almost spherical flowers (like balls) appear through the summer. The petals have rounded tips and are curved upwards at the edges. The flower heads are also slightly flattened towards the centre.
All our Dahlias are supplied as top quality dormant tubers which can be planted straight into the place where they are bloom (their final location). Success rate from these dahlia tubers is extremely high and they are a relatively inexpensive way to create a large number of flowers from one tuber.
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 the summer to help growth and they can be dead headed when necessary.
How to grow Dahlia plants in pots or containers
A fantastic way to brighten up your patio is to introduce some Dahlias in pots/containers. The colour range is fantastic, with many unusual bi-colour varieties which will brighten up any space. Simply beautiful to sit back and look at during a warm summer afternoon.
Once your tubers arrive safely in the post, they can be soaked overnight in a bucket of water to soak up as much moisture as possible.
When all signs of frost have passed they are ready to pot up, giving plenty of time to get well established before the summer.
It is recommended to place some pebbles at the bottom of the pots before adding the compost to help with drainage, by ensuring the compost doesn’t block the drainage holes.
Fill in some compost and then add the tuber with the growing tip facing upwards.
Continue to fill in the rest of the compost to firmly hold the tuber, making sure the growing tip at the top is peeping out and is not completely covered. This is now ready to be moved to the patio or garden area, with access to as much sun as possible.
Water well after potting and then keep compost moist but not waterlogged as tubers will rot. You can add a liquid feed weekly during the growing season and provide some protection from slugs as they really love Dahlias.
If growing tall varieties, insert a cane to help with growth and to keep secure.
Little pruning is needed on Dahlias, however you can deadhead as flowers begin to fade.
With the winter months coming to an end and spring on the horizon, you may well look to the garden and start plotting another year of beautiful borders and overflowing hanging baskets.
In recent years, Begonias have soared in popularity for their versatility and reliability. These colourful favourites will solve all your summer garden needs, from hanging baskets and window boxes to borders and pots. With such a shining reputation, its an easy choice to make but you may be wondering which variety is for you.
This week we’ll help you get a head start on that summer planning with our comprehensive guide to Begonias.
Although it has been theorised that Begonias have been around for thousands of years, the plants first got their name in 1690. The renowned botanist Charles Plumier named the plant after his colleague and friend Michael Bégon, a fellow plant collector.
Native to the slopes of the Andes, tuberous Begonia thrived naturally in the cool mountain temperatures and moist shade of the Amazon rainforest. Hundreds of years of propagation and hybridisation has given us the larger, more colourful and diverse Begonia. Nowadays we are spoilt for choice, with everything from giant, double flowering show-stoppers to unusual, fringed favourites.
Double Flowering – Ruffled, double flower heads. Clusters of brightly-coloured, delicate petals create a cheerful rainbow of colour on a bed of attractive green foliage.
Cascading and Splendide– This range includes our cascading, exhibition size cascading and Splendide, which will create a truly graceful display. Trailing double begonias with a graceful, trailing habit, perfect for hanging baskets, large pots on the patio. The Giant Cascading Begonias produce an avalanche of large double blooms which can reach up to 15cm across. Our Splendide variety boasts large, double flowered blooms and a vigorous cascading habit.
Non-Stop – As the name suggests, these beautiful Begonias will keep producing endless flowers throughout summer, making them a premium choice for your garden displays. These summer flowering plants are ideal for pots, bedding, containers and window boxes where the almost endless addition of flowers will be hard to miss.
Fragrant Odorata– A range of premium cascading begonias in elegant shades of pink, red and white with the added bonus of a very pleasant fragrance.
Multiflora– A cheerful selection of low-growing, bold, brightly-coloured flowers with lovely olive green foliage. These lovely Begonias are ideal for front of border or containers where they will flower all summer long.
Superba (Mighty Mini) – Our range of premium upright Superba Begonia, Mighty Mini Begonias are a great addition to the summer garden. This colourful upright favourite produces a dwarf and compact habit, coupled with large sixed flowers that catch the eye easily. Supplied as 4/5cm tubers, unless otherwise indicated, they really will produce a superb display, as the name suggest!
Fimbriata– Large vibrant blooms with serrated edges stand upright on a bed of spades shaped foliage. Give your patios charm throughout summer with their red, pink, yellow, white and orange frilled blooms, also known as Fringed Begonias.
Tubers can even be stored over winter and reused year after year, making the Begonia plant excellent value for money. Preferring half-sun and rich, moist soil with good drainage, we recommend that Begonias are grown indoors first and planted outdoors only when all traces of frost have disappeared.
Growing Begonias from quality tubers helps improve results. We only supply the best grade tubers possible to offer you the best results. They are simple to plant, care for and the high level of results they achieve make them an easy choice when growing Begonias.
Begonia sizes are measured by the diameter of the tuber. The tubers are counted into breathable bags and carefully packed to be delivered to you. Many of our varieties are supplied either as standard size (3/4cm) great for mass planting or exhibition size (5cm+) excellent for large flowering displays. We always state the tuber size so please check the description before ordering.
How to Grow
You can follow some top tips for success with Begonias below, or watch our video series with Jeff for his sage advice on planting cascading Begonias for hanging baskets.
You can start planting Begonia tubers from February onwards. Mix some good top-soil with one-sixth part of manure should form the basis. Once you’ve prepared the soil, add some leaf mould in a mix of 1 part leaf mould to 3 of loam and enough sand to make a fairly porous compost. Soot and bonemeal added to the compost will be appreciated.
As soon as the shoots of the tubers are about 2cm long pot them up in 15cm pots and place them into larger pots as the roots reach the sides of the pot.
Plant in full sun or partial shaded areas. The more access to sun, the more vibrant the colours will be.
You can feed once every two weeks with a high potassium up until the blooms begin to fade.
Make sure they are watered regularly during the summer and that the soil is not allowed to dry out. Begonias love moisture and will use up quite a lot during the hotter spells in the summer.
Lift tubers after flowering has finished and the leaves have begun to turn yellow. Store in a dry, cool (but frost-free) location over the winter. Store in soil that is only a little moist and keep this a little moist over the winter (with irregular watering) to keep the tubers from drying out.
For many people, wildlife is a welcome addition to the garden, bringing a cheerful breath of life and character to your very own backyard.
It is especially vital at this time of year, in the cold frosty months, to keep supporting your local wildlife with the space you have. Taking just a little time out of your day to make some easy changes in your garden can attract a flurry of wildlife and help do your bit for the environment.
Here are seven easy ways to make it happen;
Leave a snack
Food can be scarce for animals during the winter, so this time of year is the perfect time to begin attracting wildlife to your garden. Even something as simple as adding a bird feed or scattering monkey nuts on the lawn can easily attract various wildlife to your garden. A bird table is a fantastic way of enticing birds into a specific area of the garden.
Choose Shrubs for shelter and food
If you have the space grow trees and big shrubs. By devoting even the smallest part of your garden to attracting wildlife you can turn it into a paradise for beneficial birds, mammals and insects.
Birds are attracted to areas where they find both food and shelter. A good way of doing so in the autumn/winter is by planting up shrubs and trees which produce berries, such as Ilex (Holly), Pyracantha or Gaultheria. Not only will they produce valuable food but they also produce some much needed ornamental value in the Winter months.
Bees and butterflies will visit most gardens, especially if they find plants in sunny or sheltered locations. The secret here is to make available nectar rich, fragrant flowers which are colourful and from which they feed. Lavender, Buddleia, Syringa, Forsythia and Echinacea are just a few fantastic garden favourites for attracting butterflies and all look great in the garden!
Ornamental grasses are also a popular way of making the garden appealing to seed eating birds.
Just a little water left out can help out passing critters. Remember if you have a water feature or are near bodies of water, be sure to provide water and shelter for Toads. These are great for keeping unwanted pests at bay and if you have a pond or one nearby its likely you already have Frogs and Toads living nearby. If you have a dog remember Toads will release skin secretions which are toxic to dogs.
Use an old Tennis Ball
Having a space for a water feature in your garden is a fantastic way to attract wildlife, but in the colder months freezing temperatures can create lethal conditions for your pondlife. A great tip for preventing your water feature from completely freezing over is to float several old tennis balls on the surface.
Critters and bugs appreciate a little homemade shelter. A pile of old logs or bricks, some overgrown grass or turned over empty pots can all help with providing shelter for animals – Hedgehogs will happily take advantage of your hospitality and thank you by eating pesky slugs and snails – an ideal natural defender of you Hosta plants!
Wild gardens and meadows have been popular in recent years for their stylish swathes of summer colour. Composting and letting a few patches of your garden grow a little wild will help to encourage visitors (and what gardener needs to be told the virtues of compost!).
Online now you will find many varieties of plants and shrubs which will help you along the way, by both attracting and providing food/shelter for various forms of wildlife.
For most roses you can prune in late winter. Take care to remove dead/diseased wood and deadhead faded blooms which can be done with your annual pruning. Cut no more than 5mm above a bud with a clean, sloping cut away from the bud so water cannot gather there. Trace any suckers back to their roots and pull them away.
Bush Roses should be well pruned in mid-March in Southern England and as one proceeds further north this should be deferred at such a rate that in the North of Scotland it is done in the second week of April.
Floribunda Roses are a little tenderer and should be pruned one week later than the above dates.
Hybrid Tea – Newly planted Hybrid Tea Roses should always be pruned back hard in the spring, provided the roots are firmly established, leaving only three or four eyes per stem, generally leaving about 15-25cm in length. Roses are roughly pruned in the nursery to approximately 35-45cm of stem. If left un-pruned they will die back along the stem and perish or produce leggy poor specimens.
Climbing Roses – Do not prune for two years after planting and then only sparsely, removing unrequired growing tips. Weak or dead wood should be removed. Best to prune in autumn.
Standard Roses– Stake well with expandable ties, driving in the stake below the head of the tree. Plant Rose Tree to old soil mark level. Put liberal amounts of planting medium in hole. Prune back well in spring to good bud.
Miniature Roses – These are miniature versions of Hybrid Tea or Floribunda types and should be treated the same allowing for the difference of scale. Miniature Roses are ideal for borders and rockeries or as pot plants, though they should be in the dry atmosphere of the house only for limited periods. Prune hard after planting.
Echinacea are incredibly vibrant coloured cone flowers with giant heads on tall stems. Their bright colours will attract wildlife to your garden, as bees and butterflies love this plant as much as we do. The purpurea varieties are the only Echinacea grown from root stock, producing those thick stems that make them perfect for use as cut flowers. Echinacea are a tough plant, their eye catching colourful blooms that draw so much attention actually love to be ignored, a great hassle free choice for you garden.
The delightful shades of Echinacea purpurea are ideal for a summer border. The cheerful flowers look great mixed in with other plants and bulbs, or can be planted en-masse for a bold splash of colour. They will even do well in pots – plant in a deep container and position where they will get plenty of sunlight.
Echinacea are spectacular in a mixed border – as illustrated above. They partner really well with Rudbeckia varieties, as you can see above, the bright purples look particularly striking against the bright yellow of the Rudbeckia Goldsturm. We’ve highlighted a few more great companion plants in the gallery below.
Echinacea need to be grown in full sun, they won’t thrive at all in shade but will cope with a little. They are tolerant of a wide range of soils as long as it is well drained and they are drought tolerant once established. Deadhead to prolong flowering. You can propagate by division in spring and autumn but they prefer not to be disturbed and can become more bushy in habit but less floriferous.
Jeff demonstrates how to plant border perennials together in this easy to follow video. Rudbeckia and Echinacea complement each other exceptionally and both make excellent summer border plants.
Pinch off spent flowers on a regular basis — or use them as cuttings in flower arrangements — to extend the blooming period. Apply a quality flower fertilizer several times during the gardening season to promote big, beautiful blossoms. Mulch to prevent weeds, conserve moisture and improve aesthetics.
Cut plants to the ground in late winter after flowers have gone to seed.