Allium Guide: When and How to Plant Them

Alliums are plants of exquisite beauty that deserve a place in perennial gardens. Easy to grow and undemanding, these ornamental bulbs come in a diverse range of colour, height and bloom times, to give you beautiful blooms from spring all the way through till summer.

Throughout this Allium blog, we will guide you through our most popular varieties, planting partners, a full planting guide and even video planting tutorials to get you ready for your autumn bulb planting.

Top Varieties

Allium Graceful Beauty

A striking new variety. This elegant Allium will dazzle in the summer garden with their white and pink flushed flowers. Easy to grow and compact, this bloomer will dazzle at the front of the border. Also they are perfect for attracting wildlife!

Click here to view online.

Allium Drumsticks

A lovely addition to the border. Add interest and movement to the late-spring garden with these unique and vibrant egg-shaped flower heads.  As well as being long lasting and pollinator-friendly, these Alliums make beautiful cut flowers!

Click here to view online.

Allium Gladiator

An RHS Garden Merit Award-Winner. Allium Gladiator showcases dozens of small star-shaped purple blooms which are long lasting and naturalise easily for years of pleasure. Spectacular in large, sweeping drifts.

Click here to view online.

 Allium Globemaster

Boasting massive spherical violet heads, this award-winning Allium is a great tall addition to beds and borders. This showstopper naturalises easily and they are perfect for bringing butterflies fluttering to the garden.

Click here to view online.

Alliums look beautiful alongside…

Forming a succulent mat of foliage around the base, then springing into flower some time after the Alliums have faded. Click here to view our Sedum Range.

Partner the taller Allium varieties alongside delphiniums for a border filled with architectural beauty and height. Click here to view our Delphinium Range.

Create a border rich in colour and shapes. Poppies and Alliums both excel in the garden as elegant vertical accents with architectural interest. Click here to view our Poppy Range.

Planting Guide

Planting time: September – December 📆

Location: Full Sun/Partial Shade ☀

Flowering Time: Late-Spring-July 🌸

Soil Type: Fertile, well-drained soil 🏡

For ground planting:

  1. Remove any weeds before planting.
  2. Plant at 3-4 times the depth of the bulb and approx 10cm-15cm apart. Position the bulbs with the pointed end facing upwards.
  3. Fill in the holes and tread down lightly.
  4. Feed regularly in poor soils.
  5. After flowering, remove the leaves when they have withered.

For container planting:

  1. Make sure to use a deep and fairly large pot for large Allium bulbs.
  2. Use a good-quality potting compost.
  3. Plant the bulbs three times deeper than the height of the bulb and as far apart as you can.
  4. Water sufficiently after planting.
  5. For frost protection, use bubble wrap or garden fleece.

Tutorials

How to Plant Allium Superglobe: Summer Garden Guide
How to Plant Allium Superglobe: Summer Garden Guide
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Winter/Spring Bedding Plants for a Colourful Garden

Our range of winter/spring bedding plants will breathe life, colour and interest into your garden wherever you decide to plant them. Perfect for beds and borders, winter bedding plants are ideal for adding to plant pots and containers on the patio. With our amazing maxi plug plant range, you won’t find cheaper top quality winter bedding plants to fill your garden with bright blooms to chase away the cold winter weather.

Also, check out our planting guide below on tips and tricks on how to plant and grow plug plants and view our informative plug planting videos.

Primulas

Lift your spirits with the bright colours of Primulas. Hardy and easy to grow, these cheerful perennials provide a wide range of shapes and sizes in almost every colour imaginable and are perfect for any  garden, big or small.

Primula Cottage Cream

With their beautiful cream/white petals with orange centres, Cottage Cream Primula are an old-fashioned, much loved Primrose. These flowers are best planted in patio pots, containers or at the front of the garden border.

Click here to view online.

Primula Emotions Mixed

Our new Primula mix will give you an amazing rainbow of colours until the late spring. Easy to grow, they make the ideal plant for borders, patio pots and containers. Slightly scented, these amazing flowers will bloom from January all the way through to April.

Click here to view online.

Primula Husky Raspberry Punch

A new and colourful Primula. Producing pretty pink flowers with a bright yellow centre, they will give the garden a burst of joy through the gloomy winter months from January until April. Perfect for dazzling in the front of the border.

Click here to view online.

Pansies

Pansies are the colourful flowers with “faces.” A cool-weather favourite, pansies are great for both autumn and spring gardens! Pansies have heart-shaped, overlapping petals and one of the widest ranges of bright, pretty colours and patterns.

Pansy Trailing Cool Wave

The Best Trailing Pansy Ever! This amazing large-flowered series keeps flowering all winter long, and well into spring too. Endless waves of simply gorgeous flowers in shades of golden yellow, violet, mauve, berry purple and white.

Click here to view online.

Pansy Can Can

A stunning double winter flowering plant. Can Can is a fun and unusual variety with frilly, layered blooms of wavy and vibrant petals. These beautiful bedding plants will provide long-lasting colour throughout winter.

Click here to view online.

Pansy Winter/Spring Mixed

A well-loved high performer. Creating a splendid display of colour, Pansies carry on flowering right through to spring and in such a beautiful variation of colours. Also, these super hardy plants can withstand a dusting of snow in the winter.

Click here to view online.

Polyanthus

One of the most popular bedding plant varieties on the market. Blooming their hearts out for weeks and brightening the dullest days, the highly versatile Polyanthus are perfect for creating impressive floral displays from autumn and throughout spring.

Polyanthus Fire dragon

Fire Dragon is a beautiful rosette-forming flower that produces large, yellow petals which are flamed and frilled orange-red at the edges. A delightful sight at the front of the border. What is unusual about this variety is its amazing scent.

Click here to view online.

Polyanthus Crescendo Spring Fever Mix

Create brilliant colour with our Polyanthus Crescendo Spring Fever Mix. Blooming with cheerful orange, yellow and white flowers throughout autumn and spring, they are ideal for brightening up containers and borders.

Click here to view online.

Polyanthus Crescendo Rainbow Mixed

Paint a rainbow with the bold splashes of colour in this mixture of Polyanthus flowers. Flowering from autumn and providing vibrant flowers right through to spring, where it will compliment your bulb display beautifully.

Click here to view online.

Violas

These little shining showstoppers are a beautiful modern flower for any garden. Free flowering and with a soft fragrance, Violas are perfect for adding something unique to the garden that provides a big impact.

Viola teardrops pink blush

Bring a touch of romance to the garden with Pink Blush. Their soft pink flowers with cheerful yellow centres are ideal for winter/spring baskets and window boxes. Flowering from January-April, enjoy this Viola’s lovely soft spring fragrance.

Click here to view online.

viola teardrops yellow jump up

Create a cascade of winter colour with these yellow and purple flowers. This free-flowering Viola is ideal for winter and spring baskets, containers and window boxes, flowering from January through to April.

Click here to view online.

Viola Teardrops Mixed

The perfect solution for brightening up the garden in the winter months. This semi-trailing bloomer showcases a range of bright and bold colours and is the perfect plant for winter and spring hanging baskets and containers.

Click here to view online.

Continue reading Winter/Spring Bedding Plants for a Colourful Garden

Tulip Trends & Inspiration

A true staple of spring. Tulips are one of the most popular bulbous perennials in the British garden. With fresh green foliage, amazing colours and shapes, Tulips will brighten up any garden and provide weeks of cheerful blooms. In honour of our fashion-forward customers, we have narrowed down the latest trend setting Tulips to help inspire you before you shop in time for bulb planting season!

Complimentary Colours

Use complimentary colours to create a spring garden scheme full of maximum contrast, resulting in dynamic and exciting displays with a more primal intensity.

Black/Pink partner collection

These excellent Triumph Tulips make the most dramatic display. Their wonderful blend of cherry-pink (Don Quichotte) and deep purple (Black Knight) are a real sight to behold in beds and borders.

Click here to view online.

Royal Wedding Collection

A perfect early Tulip pairing. This electric combination of vibrant orange (Princess Irene) and rich purple tones (Purple Prince) will kick off the spring season with a riot of colour.

Click here to view online.

Green Star/Dolls Minuet

Bring elegance to your garden with these fluted Tulips. The magenta red flowers of Dolls Minuet alongside the stunning green flushed, white blooms of Green Star create a showstopping spring display.

Click here to view online.

Fresh & Modern

Calming cool colours recede and blur the boundaries so can be used effectively to make an area feel bigger as well as fresh and modern. Get this look with these new additions to our range.

Honeymoon

Beauty and class all in one Tulip. These pure white blooms with delicately fringed edges will brighten up any spring garden when planted in pots or the border. Why not even plant them in groups for a sea of gleaming white flowers?

Click here to view online.

Shiun

A stylish Triumph Tulip. Producing showy cream and violet edged blooms, this variety will bring a touch of rich colour to the garden. Perfect for borders or containers, or you can even cut the blooms as part of a beautiful indoor display.

Click here to view online.

Harbour Lights

Producing unusual, feather-like blooms, this outstanding double Tulip is a great feature for an eye-catching display. These bright white flowers will shine in the spring garden, whether they are planted in the border or in pots.

Click here to view online.

Colour Schemes

We’ve scoured the internet to find you the latest trends for your spring-flowering displays. Here are our favourite floral inspirations to liven up and shape your tulip displays this spring.

Tropical

Bring vibrant orange, sunny yellow and fresh green shades to the garden to create a tantalizing tropical look bursting with exciting colours.

Spring Sunshine

Yellow is a colour which shines like the sun and makes days that little bit brighter. Yellow flowers are a great way to express joy and positivity, so here are our favourite yellow bloomers to enjoy this spring.

Pretty Pastels

In a garden space intended for peace, quiet and relaxation, pastels are the perfect garden colour scheme this spring. Pastel flowers look beautiful in bright sunlight, but also stand out in shade gardens and can brighten up especially dark areas.

Planting Partners 🌷

Although Tulips look spectacular when planted alone in drifts, they can also look amazing when combined with other spring-flowering bulbs. Here are some beautiful combination ideas that you can replicate in your own garden!

Muscari

Top picks:
Muscari Armeniacum

This award-winning Muscari is a great companion for Tulips for creating a layered display of textured blooms. These electric blue perennials not only look beautiful, but they’re fragrant too!

Click here to view online.

 Muscari Cupido

A pretty pastel blue and white Muscari. Their colour looks lovely when planted in beds and borders around any colour of Tulip. Also, the more Muscari you plant, the more fragrance you get!

Click here to view online.

Narcissi

Top picks:
 Narcissi katie heath

Bring sweet fragrance to your Tulip displays with this gorgeous Triandus Narcissi. Producing up to two flowerheads per stem, enjoy double the amount of their creamy white petals surrounding frilled apricot cups.

Click here to view online.

Tulip Verandi/Narcissus Falconet

We’re making gardening this autumn easier for you with this brilliant pairing. The bold red Tulips alongside the vibrant yellow Narcissi create a glowing display.

Click here to view online.

Pansies

Top Picks:
Pansy ocean breeze

Pansies are the perfect plant for filling in gaps in the border to create a stunning sea of colour. This mix of soft blue and violet Pansies make a striking combo when planted with warm orange and yellow Tulips.

Click here to view online.

Pansy Raspberry Sundae Mix

An exceptionally colourful mixture of strawberry pink, red, purple and white Pansies. Add a flush of romance to your spring displays by pairing these charming flowers alongside pink, white or red tulips.

Click here to view online.

 

Looking for help on how to plant Tulip bulbs?

check out our youtube tulip tutorials here.
How to Plant Viridiflora Tulips: Spring Garden Guide
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Best Plants for Gravel Gardens

A gravel garden is a great option for a low maintenance garden. It also lends itself to Mediterranean-style drought-tolerant planting so plants like Lavender and Euphorbia are ideal and provide plenty of nectar and pollen for visiting insects.

Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden

One great example is the Beth Chatto Gravel Garden. What was once an old car park is now a famous garden, due to the fact that is has never been watered! Despite being situated in one of the driest parts of the country and with poor, free-draining soil, it has become renowned for its spectacular display of drought-tolerant plants.

Here are our top plant picks for gravel gardens…

Euphorbia

Euphorbia Bonfire

A popular spring perennial. The foliage turns from green/purple to burgundy in summer, then again to a bright fiery red in late summer. In late spring it will produce large vivid yellow flowers. Excellent for edging in rock gardens or in mixed containers.

Click here to view online.

Euphorbia polychroma

Long lived and incredibly showy, ‘Polychroma’ produces bright yellow flowers against a backdrop of contrasting dark green foliage. This award-winning shrub’s green leafy foliage turns to a red, purple or orange in the autumn providing a long, seasonal interest.

Click here to view online.

Nepeta

Nepeta Faasenii

With slender spikes of lavender-blue summer flowers and aromatic, sage-green leaves, this dwarf catmint releases an intoxicating aroma when trodden underfoot. Ideal for attracting wildlife and creating a low growing border when planted in rows.

Agapanthus

Agapanthus Midnight Cascade

A bold, hardy herbaceous plant. Known as the African lily, this unique, drought tolerant plant produces beautiful pendulous flowers in shades of rich purple throughout summer. An excellent addition to Mediterranean beds and borders. Can also be featured in containers.

Agapanthus Melbourne

A stunning bi-colour addition with purple buds that open to reveal white flowers with a lilac purple stripe through each petal. Their vibrant, colourful flowers and shiny green leaves can really spruce up a deck by planting in borders and improve the look of fence lines or garden beds as edging.

Lavender

Lavender Hidcote

A reliable and popular English Lavender. Their natural bushy habit makes it superb for mass planting within a border or flower bed. Producing an array of sweetly-scented lilac-blue flowers in summer, coupled with evergreen silvery-grey foliage that adds interest throughout the year.

Dwarf Lavender Munstead

A beautiful compact and extremely fragrant variety. Producing rosy-purple flowers during the summer months, they can be planted en-masse to produce ground cover/low screening or in lines to create a great border effect. Excellent for rock gardens and herb gardens.

Gaura

Gaura Rosy Jane

A wonderful, free-flowering perennial that will produce bi-coloured blooms in a very pretty-pink and white throughout the summer. It makes the ideal border or pot plant, being clump forming with a neat habit. It is nectar and pollen rich and ideal for attracting bees to the garden.

Gaura Whirling Butterflies

Delicate and incredibly pretty, but tough none the less. This amazing perennial produces beautiful white star-shaped flowers (which resemble the wings of a butterfly) that stand against green foliage. Drought and heat tolerant, this Gaura is perfect for sunny borders and rock gardens.

Do you have any gardening questions or need any planting and care tips/advice? We have created a new Facebook group where you can write your burning plant queries and we’ll help solve them.

Click here to join and check it out!

 

 

Plant of the Month: Crocus

With bulb planting season on the horizon, it’s perfect time to start planning your spring displays, and what better than beautiful, bold blooming Crocus flowers? As one of the well-loved staples of spring, Crocus are one of the first flowers to appear in spring. From bold and rich purples, lilacs, cheerful yellows, to striking blends and patterns, Crocus have every colour you need to create an eye-catching garden display.

Scroll down to view our favourite bestsellers, a run down of the different varieties on offer and for planting tips and tricks for bulb planting season.

Winter/Spring Flowering

📆 Flowering time: February – March. 

In the dull days of late winter/early spring when there is little in flower, these cheerful little blooms represent a sign of the beginning of spring. Easy to grow and will multiply year after year, these small-but-mighty plants will bring a much-needed burst of colour after a long winter.

Crocus Orange Monarch

Named after the Monarch Butterfly for their enchanting orange and black colour combination, these flowers are certain to bring warmth to the garden during the colder months. Perfect for planting in large groups or pots.

Click here to view online.

Crocus crysanthus ‘blue pearl’

This award-winning Crocus displays fragrant and luminous soft blue flowers with a bronzed yellowy base. Reaching a mature height of just 6cm, this variety is versatile enough to be planted in borders, around shrubs or in rockeries.

Click here to view online.

Crocus Spring Beauty

The name truly speaks for itself. Blooming with white tips and deep purple petals, which then open to a lovely soft mauve inside throughout the season, these little beauties will make a big impact in the garden.

Click here to view online.

Large Flowering Crocus (Vernus)

📆 Flowering Time: February – March.

With similar habits to the Winter/Spring Crocus , the difference with these Crocus is the huge blooms that they boast, which spread up to 10cm.  Growing to a mature height of 15cm, Large Flowering Crocus create a truly striking effect when planted together, making them a must-have for the border.

Crocus Yellow Mammoth

The bright yellow flowers of ‘Yellow Mammoth’ will bring the first bit of warmth to the new year. They will bloom in profusion when planted as edging, where they will naturalise and produce showstopping flowers for years of enjoyment.

Click here to view online.

Crocus Grand Maitre

A gorgeous, deep purple Crocus. As one of the best early-flowering plants of spring, the rich colour of ‘Grand Maitre’ will add a blast of seasonal colour. The perfect low-maintenance bloom for naturalising in clumps through the border.

Click here to view online.

Crocus Striped Beauty

A stylish Crocus with a unique look. These vivid purple and white striped flowers will create a real talking point in the garden. An ideal partner for low borders, pots or containers and will multiply each year.

Click here to view online.

Autumn Flowering

📆 Flowering time: September – October.

As the summer blooms start to fade, nothing adds more joy to the garden than the beautiful colours of autumn flowering Crocus. Growing to a mature height of 10cm, these delightful gems will sparkle with colour in rockeries, borders, or even under shrubs and trees.

Crocus Kotschyanus

An RHS Garden Merit Award winning Crocus. The stunning lilac-pink petals surround a warm yellow centre that will add a soft touch of beauty to the autumn garden. Plant en masse or in drifts for the best impact.

Click here to view online.

Crocus Sativus (Saffron)

Celebrated for more than 2000 years, Crocus sativus has been grown for it’s expensive red ribbons since the Tudor times. Their vibrant, fragrant purple blooms are delightful and you can even grow your own Saffron at home.

Click here to view online.

Crocus Autumn Flowering Mixed

A mixture of pretty cup-shaped flowers in a myriad of stunning colours, from shades of lilac, deep purples and whites. Create a sparkling mixture of autumn joy by planting this mixture in beds, borders or containers.

Click here to view online.

 

Continue reading Plant of the Month: Crocus

How to Plant: Indoor Hyacinths

Why not fill your home this winter with the sweet smell of beautiful Hyacinth flowers? As one of the most popular indoor flowering bulbs on the market, these beautiful star-shaped blooms are well-loved by gardeners for adding a burst of colour and fragrance to the home, even as early as Christmas. Through this guide, we will provide an easy step-by-step instructions (including video tutorial) on how to grow these specially prepared indoor-flowering Hyacinths.

What are Prepared Hyacinths?

16/17cm Hyacinth Bulbs

Our Prepared Hyacinths are treated in a special way through a cooling process to trick them to believe that winter has been and gone and it is time to grow. Through this process, this makes these Hyacinths perfect for early forcing and indoor flowering. They can add beautiful blooms to the home as early as late November/Early December.

Planting Guide

Planting time: September-October

Bulb Size: 16/17cm

Flowering time: Late November to March

Instructions
  • Add crocks to the bottom of a pot or container.
  • Plant in fibre.
  • Plant the bulbs (pointed end up) at approx. 10cm deep.
  • Add more fibre, up to the neck of the bulbs.
  • Press the soil down firmly.
  • Place your pot in a cool, dark cupboard for 6-8 weeks.
  • Water when required, do not allow them to dry out.
  • Once shoots have established, bring the pot into warm daylight.

Click here to view our video tutorial on Indoor Hyacinth planting.

Our favourites:

Prepared Hyacinth Delft Blue

Our Prepared ‘Delft Blue’ will fill your home with beautiful blooms and an intoxicating fragrance. Showcasing tightly packed, porcelain blue, star-shaped blooms, these sweetly-scented floral spikes bring joy on any dull winter day.

 

Prepared Hyacinth Aiolos

The glistening, pure white blooms of Hyacinth ‘Aiolos’ will brighten the home this winter. With densely packed clusters of highly fragrant flowers, this variety is perfect for creating an elegant and scented table centre for special occasions, or can be used to create a beautiful cut flower bouquet.

 

Hyacinth Prepared Collection

Bring an abundance of fragrant and colourful blooms into the home this winter with this fantastic collection of Hyacinths.  This vibrant selection includes five each of Delft Blue, Aiolos (white), City of Haarlem (yellow), Woodstock (purple), Jan Bos (red), and Fondant (pink).

How to Plant: Outdoor Hyacinths

With their heady, sweet perfume and assorted rainbow of colours, Hyacinths are an extremely popular choice for brightening up the spring garden. For outdoor planting, we have a marvelous range of Bedding and Top-Size Hyacinths. To help you decide which options are the best fit for your spring garden displays, we have created this guide with the benefits and planting recommendations for both Bedding and Top-Size Hyacinths.

Hyacinth Benefits:

  • Easy to Grow
  • Strong, sweet fragrance
  • Hardy & Perennial
  • EXCELLENT CUT FLOWERS

Bedding Hyacinths 14/15cm

Hyacinth Fragrant Sea Mixed 14/15cm

Our bedding Hyacinths are a magnificent compact option for the spring garden. They are ideal for planting in groups in flowers beds and borders for a cluster of bold and beautiful colour. Growing to a mature height of approx. 25cm, their shorter growing habit is that they are less likely to become battered by the wind, and the planting options are endless. Beds, borders, containers or window boxes, the wonderful fragrance and vibrant colours of our Bedding Hyacinths are guaranteed to brighten up your spring garden.

Planting Guide

Planting time: Autumn (September to December)

Position: Full/Partial Sun

Flowering time: March-April

Instructions

  • Plant bulbs pointed end up at approx. 10cm deep and 10-12 cm apart.
  • Plant in well-drained soil (mix in some compost for peak performance).
  • Ideal for spring borders and containers.
  • Once planted, cover with soil and firm down lightly.
  • Protect from frosts in Winter.
  • Leave undisturbed after flowering for years of spring colour.

Click the video below for a full planting tutorial.

Our top choices:

 Hyacinth Autumn Colours Mixed

Add the beautiful warm tones of autumn to your garden with this beautiful mixture of orange, yellow and purple Hyacinth blooms. These fantastic hardy spring flowers are great for filling your spring beds and borders with stylish colour and sweet fragrance.

 

Hyacinth Double Mixed

The same beautiful colours and fragrance as a normal Hyacinth but double the blooms! The fluffy whorls of colourful double-flowers are the perfect eye-catching Hyacinth plants for creating sweet-smelling, vibrant summer bedding.

 

Top-Size Hyacinths 17/18cm

Hyacinth Jan Bos 17/18cm

Is there anything better than being greeted at your front door by beautiful tall, sweet-smelling pots of Hyacinths? Top-Size Hyacinths are supplied as giant 17/18cm bulbs. Their enormous flower heads are perfect for planting outdoors in patio pots and containers to create a dramatic showcase of colour. They are ideal spring garden flowers as they produce amazing large blooms that are not too heavy to need support.

Planting Guide

Planting time: Autumn (September to December)

Position: Full/Partial Sun

Flowering time: March-April

Instructions

  • Plant bulb with the pointed end facing upwards.
  • Plant at least 10cm deep and approx. 10-12cm apart.
  • For garden planting (beds, borders), plant in well-drained soil.
  • For container planting, use a soil-based compost (e.g. John Innes No.2).
  • Once planted, cover with soil and firm down lightly.

Click the video below for a full planting tutorial.

Our top choices:

Hyacinth Miss Saigon

With deep, rich purple flowers, Hyacinth ‘Miss Saigon’ bring a cheerful sight to the spring garden. This RHS award-winning Hyacinth produces dense floral spikes with starry, violet florets. Plant near a doorway, path or on the patio, where you can enjoy its beautiful perfume daily.

 

Hyacinth Delft Blue

The extremely fragrant, award-winning ‘Delft Blue’ features soft blue, densely spiked florets that will add some stunning colour to the spring garden. For best visual impact, plant in groups in patio pots, window boxes, or even in the garden border.

 

Continue reading How to Plant: Outdoor Hyacinths

Plants for Different Soil Types

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing your soil type can be crucial to planning out the planting in your garden. The soil provides your plants with nutrients, water and air that they need for healthy growth and development, but depending on the plot of ground, that can determine what plants, shrubs or trees can grow their successfully.

3 Step System to Test Your Soil

  1. Dig a hole 6 to 10 inches deep in the soil.
  2. Separate an intact section about the size of a soup can and break it apart with your fingers.
  3. Determine whether the soil is cloddy, powdery or granular (ideally your soil should be made up of different sized crumbs that hold their shape under slight pressure).

 

  • Known as heavy soil (sticky when wet, rock hard when dry).
  • Feels smooth (not gritty) between the fingers.
  • Drains slowly after rain.
  • Takes a long time to warm up in spring.
  • Heavy to dig and cultivate.
  • Usually rich in plant nutrients.The following plants are well-adapted to clay soils:
Viburnum
Viburnum burkwoodii Mohawk

This shrub is an underrated evergreen shrub for clay soil. The opening of its flowers announce the end of winter and its white flowers (pink in bud) provide a pretty backdrop for a border in early spring. Dense, compact growth make this a useful plant for screening off a view and creating a feeling of enclosure in the garden.

Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle Serotina

A sweetly scented honeysuckle is a true summer treat and this species of honeysuckle will grow well on clay soil. A scented climber is always a memorable plant, the perfume easy to access, especially if you grow it by your front door. The variety Serontina’ has flowers that display a vivid deep red colouring.

 

Bergenia
Bergenia cordifolia Purpurea

This evergreen perennial produces spires of pink or red flowers in spring. The leaves (the ‘elephant’s ears’) are tinged with red in winter. A good plant for ground cover, it looks at its best planted in a block because the flowers have more impact in big numbers. A very tough plant for clay soil and tolerant of partial shade too.

 

 

Tips 

  1.  Add Organic Matter (compost, aged manure) – this helps improve drainage, lighten heavy soil and adds nutrients. Before planting in spring add the organic matter to the soil with a 2-3 inch layer.
  2. Build Raised Beds – As clay soil holds water, raised beds can improve drainage by encouraging water to run off.
  3. Mulch Beds over Winter – Mulch with organic matter during the growing season and winter to help protect the soil from compaction and minimize weed growth.

Sandy soil is the largest particle in soil and does not hold nutrients well.

  • High proportion of sand and little clay.
  • Drains quickly after rain or watering.
  • Easy to work and cultivate.
  • Warm up quicker in spring than clay soils.
  • Low in nutrients – very acidic.

The following plants are well-adapted to sandy soils:

Sedum
Sedum Hot Stuff

There are an incredible diversity of Sedums available. They are succulents, so by nature they are adapted to dry, sandy soil. Most are ground covers that make great rock garden plants. There is also a taller variety called Autumn Joy that is a good choice for its extremely late bloom.

Allium
Allium Powder Puff

Giant Alliums will perform well year after year in sandy soil with little care, making them a great choice for a semi-naturalized meadow planting. Alliums are an easy to grow, very distinctive late spring and early summer flowering bulb, being very showy when planted in beds, borders or rock gardens.

Buddleia
Buddleia Empire Blue

One of Britain’s most beautiful and popular summer flowering shrubs. Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) is an excellent choice for sandy soils, since they can adapt to most soil types. These upright deciduous shrubs are a wildlife haven. Their tubular, fragrant flowers are a superb way of attracting butterflies and bees into the garden.

 

Tips 

  1. Prepare planting sites with moisture-retentive, well-rotted organic matter (farm manure, compost or leaf mould).
  2. When planting in spring, incorporate a slow-release fertilizer.
  3. Water thoroughly and regularly during dry periods.
  • Ideal soil for gardening.
  • Mainly organic matter.
  • Feels spongy.
  • Very fertile and hold moisture well.
  • Easily compacts.

The following plants are well-adapted to peaty soils:

Heather
Heather Summer Mixed

A fragrant and effective and colourful mixture of summer flowering Heathers offer an increasing superb display every year. This beautiful and colourful ground cover not only adds beauty to the garden but can help cut down on the weeding too.

Azaleas
Azalea Tunis

Nothing is more beautiful than an Azalea shrub in spring bloom and can be grown in nearly any garden. Azalea Tunis is a highly fragrant deciduous variety which has gigantic red flowers boasting long, decorative stamens. The blazing red, showy flowers are truly a sight to behold on a sunny spring day.

Witch Hazel
Hamamelis Witch Hazel Collection

Shrubs such as Witch Hazel do particularly well when planted in peaty soils. Our exotic collection of three Chinese Witch Hazel is the perfect way to breathe some life and colour back into the winter garden. These deciduous, winter flowering shrubs produce clusters of sweetly scented, crinkled flowers in a range of fiery shades.

 

Tips 

  1. Blend peat soil with rich organic matter, compost and lime to reduce the acidity.

  • Even mix of sand, silt and clay.
  • Feels fine-textured and slightly damp.
  • Adequate drainage, great structure and moisture retaining.
  • Easily cultivated and full of nutrients.
  • Ideal soil all year round.

The following plants are well-adapted to loamy soils:

Wisteria
Wisteria Multijuga

A vigorous climbing plant. Wisteria looks particularly effective when trained over a bare wall or pergola, making it a superb feature plant, and its exquisite aroma make it particularly attractive to bees and butterflies. Our ‘Multijuga’ variety produces delicate trailing clusters of highly fragrant lilac flowers from May through to September.

Rhododendrons
Rhododendron Praecox

One of the earliest flowering varieties, this lovely shrub will produce an abundance of rose-purple blooms as early as February and throughout March. For a truly stunning effect plant above a carpet of dainty white Snowdrops, which will flower around the same time.

Anemone
Anemone blanda White Splendour

These daisy-like flowers are one of the most familiar and renowned of all the Anemones White Splendour is excellent for naturalising in areas with full sun or partial shade. They bear large, pure white flowers with a pink flushed reverse in spring and will produce a superb carpet of white if left to multiply over the years to come.

 

 

Tips 

  1.  Maintain its fertility with regular dressings of manure or compost.

  • Feels soft and soapy.
  • Fertile and drain fairly well.
  • Rich in nutrients.
  • Hold more moisture than sandy soils.
  • Easily compacted.

The following plants are well-adapted to silty soils:

Snowdrops
Galanthus Woronowii

These spring-flowering bulbs are well-suited for silty soil. There is nothing to match the breath-taking sight of a sweeping carpet of snowdrops, a marvellous herald of spring.  Galanthus Woronowii is a giant white snowdrop with green markings. It’s beautiful nodding honey scented flower heads appear as early as January.

Hellebore
Helleborus Orientalis Mixed

Hellebore is a group of flowering perennials that are well-suited to the moist, well-draining conditions of silty soil. These fine Hellebore Orientalis Mixed produce pretty bowl shaped flowers in February to March in an array of hues, some will be spotted within. When left undisturbed, they can produce expanding clumps of evergreen foliage.

Dogwood
Cornus Midwinter Fire

Moisture-loving trees such as Dogwood perform well in silty soils. Cornus Midwinter Fire stays true to its namesake, slowly revealing brilliant flame-coloured stems as the leaves fall away. Shoots begin a yellow-orange, with the tips turning a brilliant red as the season goes on, giving the shrub a flaming look.

 

 

Tips 

  1. Add an inch of organic matter (compost, decaying sawdust, or wood shavings) yearly, then add organic fertilizers and then cover with a further 2-3 inches of mulch.
  2. Avoid compaction – minimize walking on garden beds or consider planting on raised beds.
  3. Silty soil has a tendency to become waterlogged – avoid overwatering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Lumps of white chalk or flint stones are visible in the soil.
  • Either ‘heavy’ or ‘light’ depending if the soil mixed with the chalk is clay or sand.
  • Very alkaline.
  • Largely made up of calcium carbonate.

The following plants are well-adapted to chalky soils:

Mock ORANGE
Philadelphus ‘Belle Etiole’

Trees and shrubs such as Mock Orange perform beautifully in chalky soils. The heady fragrance of the beautiful ‘Belle Etoile’ is a fantastic addition to the summer border. This Mock Orange, prized for its citrusy scent presents an abundance of single, pure white flowers through late spring and early summer.

Lilac
Syringa meyeri Palibin

Lilacs are perfect shrubs that will thrive even in chalky soils. The delicious fragrant flowers of lilac are not to be missed in the garden in spring and they are one of the season’s best cut flowers. Lilacs can become very big plants so the best place to plant them is at the back of a border or at the perimeter of the garden.

Lavender
Lavender Hidcote

Lavender thrives in soils that are sandy, chalky or alkaline. A beautiful option for the summer garden is a traditional evergreen fragrant Lavender, Lavender Hidcote. Producing an abundance of purple-lilac coloured flowers in July through to September, they enjoy the free-draining soil provided by chalky soils. Grow them in full sun to get the best from them.

 

Tips 

  1.  Break up the chalk to a depth of 30 inches so that plant roots can spread out and establish.
  2. Add plenty of well-rotted organic matter (compost, composted green waste or manure) to improve the soil.
  3.  Attention to watering will be required for a longer period than other soil types.

 

Click here to Pre-Order your Spring Bulbs! 

Pollinators Month – Top 10 Wildlife Shrubs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#NationalPollinatorsMonth in June encourages the planting pollinator-friendly gardens with pollen and nectar-producing plants. When these gardens bloom, they attract bees, birds, bats, and other natural pollinators.

Woody shrubs provide food, shelter and breeding spaces for our wildlife. Nesting birds and hibernating insects make their homes in them and insects like butterflies use them as natural windbreaks. We have some great recommendations for shrubs that can make great habitats for wildlife in your garden.

Pyracantha

Pyracantha Orange Glow

Winning the RHS Garden Merit Award, Orange Glow is a sturdy evergreen shrub that produces spring blossoms and bright orange berries in the summer. This shrub provides nesting for birds and an abundant source of pollen and food for bees.

 

Viburnum

Viburnum Opulus Roseum (Snowball Tree)

This vigorous deciduous shrub is smothered with large, fragrant, pompom-like clusters of white or pale green tinted flowers every May and June. Purple foliage appears autumn when vibrant red berries, which provide an excellent food source for the birds.

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle Belgica

A true ‘wildlife hotel’. Bring a profusion of vibrant colour to the summer garden with the Honeysuckle plant. The sweet, heady scent carried on a warm summer breeze is one of the most delightful experiences of the season, and the scent is strongest at night, which attracts pollinating moths.

Buddleia

Buddleia Empire Blue

A must for wildlife lovers. Also known as the ‘Butterfly Bush’, this Buddleia’s beautiful cool violet-blue blooms produce a lovely honey fragrance that is guaranteed to attract masses of butterflies and bees.

Weigela

Weigela Pink Poppet

Awarded the RHS ‘Perfect for Pollinators’ Award, this fantastic dwarf-growing shrub is certainly a wildlife haven. Weigela Pink Poppet is a long flowering variety that will attract a range of pollinators, from bees, butterflies and other nectar loving insects.

Sarcococca

Sarcococca hookeriana humilis

This variety produces small white flowers renowned for their vanilla aroma. After flowering, this compact and hardy shrub will also yield an abundance of shiny black berries that birds love, making it the perfect plant for a winter wildlife garden.

Erysimum

Erysimum Constant Cheer

As the name ‘Constant Cheer’ suggests, this exquisite hardy perennial produces long lasting prolific orange red flowers that mature to purple. This creates an amazing multi-coloured flowering feature plant that is highly attractive to bees, butterflies and other insects.

 

Clethra

Clethra Ruby Spice

Winner of the RHS Garden Merit Award for their reliable performance, stability of colour and form and good resistance to pests and diseases. This fantastic shrub is perfect for attracting bees into the garden, through their heady fragrance.

Syringa

Syringa meyeri Palibin

This upright deciduous shrub 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.

Gaura

Gaura Whirling Butterflies

The ideal border perennial with an abundance of star shaped flowers. Gaura Whirling Butterflies pretty free-flowering white flower spikes, which resemble a fluttering butterfly, and also are handy for attracting beneficial insects to the garden, such as bees.

 

Video Tutorials

Buddleia:

  • When planting for nectar, avoid double flowers or sterile varieties that limit the feeding opportunities for insects.
  • Select suitable plants for your garden’s conditions.

Top 10 Summer Bedding Plants

May is the perfect time to think about your summer bedding plants for a stunning display of colour all summer long. They’ll lift the garden, adding vivid highlights of colour, and are particularly useful when it comes to the later days of August when the gardens often look tired.

Our bedding range features hundreds of summer bedding varieties, from the much loved, popular varieties to some unique and unusual types that are certain to add something a little different to your garden. For this summer, we’ve specially selected J Parker’s Top 10 bedding plants to create a summer garden bursting with life and vibrancy!

Top 10….

Petunia

One of the most popular flowers for summer bedding in the garden; Petunias are well known as one of the easiest annual flowers to grow and provide long-term colour to brighten up any garden beds or borders.

Facts:
  • Native to South America; genus of about 35 species of flowering plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).
  • Introduced to Europe in the 19th century, where it gained popularity.
  • There are 4 main types of Petunias: grandiflora, hedgiflora, multiflora and milliflora.

Petunia Night Sky

Check out the world’s first speckled flowering Petunia. This Petunia is guaranteed to twinkle in your beds and borders with their white speckled, deep blue petals, resembling stars in the night sky. Planted in summer beds, Petunia Night sky will provide a unique avalanche of vibrant colour.

Calibrachoa

These sun-loving annuals are ideal for the summer garden landscape. These extremely vigorous flowers grow at an amazing rate and to add a touch of class to the garden when planted along walkways.

Facts:
  • Like Petunias, they are native to South America and they are a genus of plant in the Solanaceae (nightshade) family.
  • Commonly known as Million Bells or Trailing Petunias.
  • Evergreen, short-lived perennials with small petunia-type flowers.

Calibrachoa Blueberry Scone

A new addition to our Calibrachoa range. Blueberry Scone produces blue, yellow and purple shaded blooms in an ever-changing display that will flower all summer long. Their bicolour flowers change as a response to the light, climate and weather conditions for a magical summer display.

Verbena

If you’re searching for long lasting blooms that perform even during the hottest days of summer, consider the Verbena flower. These pollinator-friendly plants will not only bring bees and butterflies to the garden, their exquisite, showy flower heads will create a real showcase of beauty in the summer garden.

Facts:
  • Native to North and South America, as well as Asia.
  • Typically found in tropical and subtropical habitats.
  • Commonly known as ‘vervain’.

Verbena Endurascape Purple

Long flowering, mildew resistant and tolerant of adverse weather conditions, this beautiful creeping Verbena makes a fantastic addition to any summer garden. This variety’s deep purple blooms make a real statement as a bedding plant.

Lobelia

Lobelia produce a beautiful abundance of flowering during the summer months that are filled with vibrant contrasting blooms in a variation of bright colours. These plants are perfect for edging around your stunning summer garden borders and pathways.

Facts:
  • Native to nearly all the temperate and warmer regions of the world.
  • Genus of the family Lobeliaceae, which is compromised of 415 species.

 

Lobelia California Dark Blue Eye

Versatile and easy to grow, Lobelia are a popular choice for long-lasting summer flowers. Producing masses of dainty bright blue flowers they will make a beautiful addition to the edges of borders, bedding and pathways if you want a summer garden bursting with life.

Osteospermum

These spectacular sun-loving, daisy-like plants are guaranteed to liven up your summer bedding for a bright and cheerful display of vibrant blooms.

Facts:
  • Native to Africa.
  • Genus of flowering plants belonging to the Calenduleae.
  • They are also known as daisybushes or African daisies.

Osteospermum 3D Lemon Ice

This amazing double African daisy produces stunning white petals that surround a prominent creamy yellow centre. This unique variety open all day and night, for beautiful 24 hour blooms. Their larger than standard pom-pom flowers create a stand out show in beds and borders.

Rudbeckia

One of our favourite summer flowering perennials has to be Rudbeckia. These beautiful pollinator-friendly plants are a great way to add life to your garden and are a beautiful, modern addition to the back of summer borders.

Facts:
  • Native to both damp woodlands and dry prairies in North America.
  • They have several common names, among which are: Black-eyed Susan, Gloriosa Daisy, and Yellow Ox Eye.
  • Rudbeckia is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and has similar daisy-like flowers.

Rudbeckia Goldstrum

This multi award winning Coneflower is a firm favourite among gardeners. Their masses of compact, yellow daisy-like flowers are guaranteed to bring the warmth of the summer sunshine to your beds and borders.

Antirrhinum (Snapdragon)

Looking for a flower that has multiple uses in the garden, smells great, attracts pollinators and comes in scads of colors? Then you should be planting snapdragons. Their typical compact nature and bright colours make the perfect candidate for beautiful summer borders.

Facts:
  • Native to the Mediterranean region and parts of the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Their genus name Antirrhinum comes from the Greek words anti meaning like and rhin meaning nose or snout, which describes the shape of the flowers.
  • There are approximately 40 different species of Snapdragons.

Antirrhinum Antirinca Rose

These stunning pastel pink flowers will add a splash of colour to your garden borders. Their highly fragrant, uniquely shaped blooms will add beauty with their sight and smell and will become a highlight of the summer garden.

Helichrysum

Commonly known as the everlasting flower, these beautiful annuals will marvel in the summer garden from June until the first frost. Their compact nature and range of bold, bright colours will provide a rainbow of beauty in the summer border.

Facts:
  • Native to Africa, Madagascar, Australasia and Eurasia.
  • Flowering plant of the daisy family Asteraceae.
  • Grows on dry, rocky ground around the Mediterranean.

Helichrysum Nevada Gold

This stunning plant produces prolific flowering blooms in a beautiful golden yellow, resembling little rays of sunshine. Otherwise known as the everlasting flower, this compact variety would make the star of any summer border.

Coleus

This bushy, evergreen perennial comes in a wide range of magnificent colour and forms, so there is something for every garden. Their unusual and vibrant foliage will make a true sight to behold in the summer border.

Facts:
  • Native to southeast Asia and Australia.
  • Genus of flowering plants in the Lamiaceae family.
  • Otherwise known as Painted Nettle or Flame Nettle.

Dwarf Coleus Wizard Mixed

This mixture of compact and bushy dwarf Coleus will produce the most spectacular carpet of rich and well defined foliage, which will add an explosion of colour during the summer months. This mix of vibrant foliage will thrive in a sunny border display.

Dianthus

Otherwise known as ‘Pinks’, Dianthus are prized plants for their delicious, spicy fragrance that will fill the summer garden with stunning sights and smells and will look amazing as part of a summer border display.

Facts:
  • Native to Europe, Asia and Africa.
  • Genus of flowering plant in the Caryophyllaceae family, the carnation family.
  • Dianthus include 300 species of perennial plants.

Dianthus deltoides Pink Carpet

This dwarf-growing perennial is perfect for adding a touch of dimension and colour to the border that is quite simply impossible to ignore. Their lilac pink flowers are ideal for creating a carpet of summer colour.

Bedding Ideas

Have fun with colour and texture. If you’re feeling a little bit wild, try a dramatic combination of purple, reds and blues. Or tone things down a little with pinks and whites. Mix things up and see what happens! If you don’t like the results, or they’re not quite what you wanted to achieve, no problem. It’s really easy to try again – or go for something completely different.

suggestions:

Don’t think you have to stick with straight lines and symmetrical patterns if it doesn’t suit your space or the style of the rest of your garden. Informal planting is a case of anything goes. Why not try a cottage garden look that’s charmingly higgledy-piggledy?

Suggestions:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carpet bedding is a technique that produces the effect of a complete carpet of a mixture or a single colour scheme. This bedding style is the perfect way of creating a minimal yet bold statement with your summer bedding.

Suggestions: