Planted in the early months of the year, cherry trees are ready to harvest throughout the summer months. These juicy berries are a perfect pick for a hot summers day, and are a popular choice among many gardeners as they’re so sought after throughout the season.
If you’re new to growing fruit trees and would like to know how to harvest cherries, then follow this easy to follow guide.
How to harvest your Cherries
Cherry trees are a wonder for the garden all year round. In spring, their blossoms will provide the most gorgeous display. In Japan, festivals are held around the country to celebrate the flowering of their cherry trees, which is called ‘hanami’.
Once summer rolls around, your cherries will be ripe and ready for picking! If you’re hoping your fruits last as long as possible, try and prune the cherries by including the stem. However, if you’re using them directly in recipes, you can leave the stem behind.
Cherries are exciting summer fruits that can be used in numerous recipes throughout the season. How about using them to create your own fruit sorbet, or for a traditional cherry pie?
When to harvest
Cherries can be harvested from June to August. The riper the cherry, the sweeter the fruit. If you’re looking for a tangy taste, harvest your cherries earlier in the season. However, if the weather is quite wet, you can pick them earlier as rain can make the fruit split.
Dahlias are an ever-popular choice for many a summer garden. Their easy-to-grow tubers produce phenomenal displays of colour and texture in a range of styles throughout the season. However, if you’re new to gardening, you may be wondering how to plant these beauties.
Planting dahlia tubers is a straight forward process, perfect for those with less experience. With their beauty and effortless maintenance, it’s easy to see why they’re a horticultural favourite.
Why Choose Dahlias?
Dahlias are easy to grow and suitable for gardeners of all skill levels. These blooms are fast-growing by nature and will flower in the first year and for many years to come (keep them stored and frost-free over the winter).
Dahlia tubers 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 a firm favourite due to the many different types, sizes, and colours available on the market.
New varieties are created each year. Once you’re hooked on Dahlias, you will always be able to find something new.
They flower continuously through the summer, right up until the first frost of the autumn.
They look fantastic as cut flowers, making any display a memorable one.
Before we move onto planting dahlia tubers, here are the main types of Dahlias. Each variety can be classified into several 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 fluffy ball.
Cactus– A favourite for many years, Cactus Dahlias produce fully double pointed petals which turn backwards to create a tubular petal effect. Are sometimes referred to as Spiky Dahlias.
Dark Leaf – As the name suggests, the foliage on this variety is not the usual bright green that you see on your average Dahlia. They create an abundance of flowers through the summer, with each bloom appearing on darker (usually purple/black) foliage.
Decorative – Produces large, fully double flowers with rounded petals through the summer right up until the first frosts. A perfect choice for cut flower displays.
Dwarf– 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 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). Another popular choice as cut flowers.
Pompom – Love the unusual? Pompom Dahlias produce ball-shaped blooms that appear through the summer. Each petal has rounded tips and are curved upwards at the edges, and are available in plenty of colours.
Planting Dahlia Tubers
All our Dahlias are supplied as top quality dormant tubers which can be planted as soon as you receive them. The success rate from these dahlia tubers is extremely high. They are also an inexpensive way to create a large number of flowers from one plant.
Dahlia tubers should 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.
Planting Dahlia tubers in Pots & Containers
Planting Dahlias in pots and containers is a fantastic way of brightening up your patios. Their unique colours and shapes will brighten any space, a perfect choice for gardens with less space to play with.
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, leaving plenty of time to grow a well-established root 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, keeping the compost moist but not waterlogged, as the tubers will rot. Add a liquid feed weekly during the growing season and provide some protection from slugs as they have a strong love for Dahlias.
If growing tall varieties, insert a cane to help with growth and to keep secure.
Very little pruning is needed with Dahlias. However, you can deadhead as flowers begin to fade.
Do you hate seeing your flowers fade? It always feels like a shame when you have to throw out cut flowers, but what if we told you that you don’t have to? By turning your blooms into pressed flowers, you’ll be able to keep them as an everlasting ornament. Pressed flowers also add personalised additions to greeting cards and invitations, or even jewellery if you’re feeling crafty! Here’s everything you need to know about pressing flowers.
Step 1: Choose your Flowers
Freshness is the key. Choose flowers that are either still in bud form, or that are freshly bloomed. If you’re picking them from a garden, do so in the morning right after the dew has evaporated. One thing to note is that flowers with naturally flat faces are the easiest to press.
Step 2: Prepping
Once you have chosen your flowers, it’s time to prep.
Hold the stems under water immediately after cutting. Then, recut the stems at an angle.
Remove foliage that will be below the waterline in the vase.
Place flowers in a clean vase with water and flower food (or a teaspoon of sugar). Keep them in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight for a few hours.
To press thick flowers like roses, split them down the middle with scissors or a knife.
Lay the flat face of the flower on your paper and you are ready to press.
Step 3: Making Pressed Flowers
You will need:
Open a book and line it with newspaper. Place your flowers (as flat as you can) on the page. Then, carefully close the book and weight it down (additional heavy books work well as weights). Store this pile in a warm, dry place and check on your flower specimens daily (this can take a couple of days to a few weeks for your specimen to dry completely). Finally, once your flowers are dry, carefully remove them and enjoy your pressed blooms!
Here are some of our favourite flowers for pressing:
Roses are a hardy plant and are often happy to grow undisturbed, so it can be difficult to tell when to prune your roses. However, light pruning at the right time of year helps to promote healthy growth and flowering as well as helping to maintain a sensible size for your rose plant. To see your beautiful roses effortlessly bloom year after year, it’s best to prune them at the start of each year. But when? and how?
Keep reading this rose pruning guide to find out how and when you should be pruning your roses.
When Should You Prune Your Roses?
Your pruning window may be slightly different depending on where you live. For example, if you live in the south, you can get away with pruning in mid-February. If you live further north, you should probably wait until March when the weather is warmer. Pruning can also depend on the type of rose plant.
Rose Shrubs should be well pruned in mid-March in Southern England, or in the second week of April when you get further north.
Climbing Roses shouldn’t be pruned for two years after planting and then only sparsely, removing unnecessary growing tips. It’s best to prune this rose type in autumn.
How to Prune Roses – Best Methods
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. Keep your secateurs sharp for a clean cut.
Pruning Tip 💡 – Use fertilizer on your roses once you’ve pruned them to encourage healthy growth throughout the year!
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.
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.