How to Grow Indoor Amaryllis

indoor amaryllis christmas gift

Loved by beginners and experts alike due to their superb flowering potential and minimal effort, it’s the well-loved Amaryllis bulb. Hippeastrum or Amaryllis bulbs are very easy to plant and will flower indoors during the winter months, producing spectacular showy flowers in a huge range of colours and shapes.

Indoor Amaryllis makes an excellent potted plant and are available in two different bulb sizes – the standard 26cm+ bulbs which will produce two stems per bulb, or our giant 34cm+ Amaryllis bulbs which are the largest on the market and will produce three stems per bulb.

We have a wide range of popular Amaryllis bulbs to choose from, which you can find here.

How to Plant Your Bulbs

To plant your indoor amaryllis, all you need are rocks for drainage, multi-purpose compost, a medium to large sized pot, and the bulb itself. Place your rocks at the bottom of your pot. All you need is a shallow layer which helps with drainage. Next, fill your pot with soil halfway and pop your bulb into your pot.

Put compost around the bulb so that it’s anchored in place, but don’t fully cover the bulb. Leave the tip poking out the top so that it grows properly.

Aftercare

Once you’ve planted your bulb, try not to over water it. This will cause the bulb to rot.
After the amaryllis has stopped flowering, it can be made to flower again.  Cut the old flowers from the stem after flowering, and when the stem starts to sag, cut it back to the top of the bulb.

Follow our simple step by step guide here or click on the link below to watch our garden expert Jeff Turner in our video tutorial on planting these winter flowering beauties!

Guide to Planting Maxi Plugs

Looking for a quick fix for those gaps in your flower beds or baskets? Our top quality maxi plug plants are a great way to grab a range of flowers to create a beautiful summer display for bargain prices.

In this blog post, we will be sharing our maxi plug planting guide, from plug sizes to our planting tips, that will fill your garden with beauty this summer.

What Size are Maxi Plugs?

Height: 6-9cm from base of plug to the top of the foliage.

Width: 2.2 cm at the top of the plug.

Quantity in tray: Available in 33,66 or 132 trays.

Where Can I Plant Them?

Available in an amazing array of varieties, maxi plugs make the perfect partners for pots, containers, borders or window displays. Our Lavender plants are perfect for growing fragrant pots for the patio or why not try planting a carpet of Verbena for a vibrant border.

How Do I Plant Maxi Plugs?

Learn how to get the best from Maxi plug plants with our step-by-step planting guide:

  1. On arrival, give them a little water (if required) and light and they will be ready to plant within 48 hours.
  2. Pot up the plugs for a number of weeks (minimum of two-three).
  3. Once the roots become established, plant out into final position ( Only plant outside when all risk of frost has passed).
  4. Water regularly and make sure soil does not become too dry.
  5. Cut back in spring when new shoots emerge from the base of the plant

Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Garden

Starting a garden is one of the most rewarding things one can do and anyone do it. From creating a cut flower garden, growing your own sustainable veg patch or planting an amazing border display, getting your hands dirty in the garden has so many benefits, but it can be difficult to know where to start.

Here are our 7 easy steps to guide you through the process of starting your own garden!

1. Make a Plan

First things first, what do you want to grow? A vegetable garden? An herb garden? A flower garden? All of the above? All are great choices but have different maintenance requirements. I’d recommend for all beginners to start small until you know what you’re getting into.

2. Pick the Perfect Spot

Your garden location, soil type, amount of sun exposure and access to water will play a big part in what plants you’ll be able to grow. Most plants, vegetables and fruit thrive in sunny spots but if you garden is shaded for most of the day, there are still plenty of plants (Hostas, Heucheras, Grasses) that can thrive in the shade. Go outside and study your outdoor space, learn about your soil type, and then research which plants would be the best fit.

3. Start the Ground Work

Get rid of the top layer covering the area you plan to plant. If you want quick results (e.g., it’s already spring and you want veggies this summer), cut it out. With a spade, cut the ground into sections to make it easier to remove, then put it on your compost pile to decompose. Now, you have your planting area ready to go!

4. Choose Your Plants

Choose your shopping style. Some gardeners like studying plant catalogues to create their shopping list, others head to the garden centre to select their plants, or you can simply shop online. The key planting seasons are Spring and Autumn, so choose your plants according to their planting times. Summer-flowering bulbs/plants should be planted in the Spring (Dahlias, Begonias, Roses) and Spring-flowering bulbs/plants should be planted in the Autumn (Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus).

5. Hydration is Key

Close care and attention is essential for young plants. Once plants establish a strong root system in the ground (usually a few weeks after planting), they tend to be less needy. After that, how often you need to water depends on your soil, humidity, and rainfall; although once a week is a good place to start.

6. Mulch for Protection

Mulching is life-saving for gardeners. Mulching your plants helps them retain moisture and keep weeds at bay. Cover the soil with a couple of inches of mulch after planting and you won’t have to water as often. Also, by preventing sunlight from hitting the soil, you’ll prevent weeds from forming in your soil.

  • For annuals: Choose a mulch that decomposes in a few months.
  • For perennials: Use a longer-lasting mulch such as bark chips.

7. Care, Grow and Enjoy!

Now that all the planting is done, now is the time to care for your garden and watch it grow.

Don’t forget to keep up with common garden jobs such as:

  • Watering plants regularly. 
  • Pull out any weeds.
  • Prune dead blooms, or leggy growth on plants/shrubs.
  • Remove garden pests (e.g. Aphids) by picking them off the plant, hosing them off with water, or spraying on an insecticidal soap.
  • Support tall plants (e.g., tomatoes) with a trellis, stake or pergola.

5 Simple Steps for Growing Clematis

Available in an assortment of stunning shapes, colours and sizes, it’s no wonder why Clematis plants are so popular! Whether you prefer wall trailers or pretty potted plants, there’s a perfect Clematis out there for every garden and they even flower almost all year round.

With spring planting season upon us, it’s the perfect time to get your Clematis plants in the ground. If you’re in need of some gardening tips, follow our essential Clematis planting steps below:

1. Choose the Perfect Spot

Whether you prefer pots on the patio or planting in the border, Clematis plants can do both. Ideal for planting in the springtime, don’t forget that Clematis plants need plenty of space for adequate air flow as well as a rich, well-draining planting area. Dig the hole large enough to accommodate the plant – at least a two foot depth of soil amended with compost prior to planting.

2. Provide Proper Support

As with other climbing plants, the growing end of the vine is on a mission, always searching for something new to grab onto. When a vine can’t find anything to grab, the end stops growing and will die back. Providing the right type of support from the start helps the plant look good and grow well.

Clematis vines can break very easily. Older stems look woody but will crack if they’re bent. Young stems appear to be supple but are actually brittle. So to avoid the heartbreak of your plant flopping, make time in late spring and early summer to correct wandering stems and tie-in top-heavy growth.

3. Pruning is Key

It is tempting to plant your lovely, leggy Clematis and let it get on with it. In fact, all newly planted clematis benefit from being cut back to just above a leaf node no more than 12″ off the ground. 6″ is even better.

This first prune encourages the plant to sprout from the base and gives you a much bushier healthier plant. If you really must, let it flower, but sometime between planting and the following November, cut all clematis back hard.

4. Water well

Until they establish, Clematis are thirsty plants. They should be watered about an inch or so weekly, and more deeply during dry spells.

5. Keep an Eye on Pests

Be on the lookout for common problems that affect Clematis plant health. Clematis wilt can cause vines to suddenly collapse and die after their foliage and stems have blackened. Powdery mildew often affects plants with poor air circulation. Aphids and spider mites can be a problem as well.

Why Gardening is Great for Your Wellbeing

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”

Luther Burbank

According to the World Health Organisation, good health means more than just the absence of bad health symptoms. It means the presence of positive emotions, quality of life, sense of community and happiness. Research has shown many times that gardening is good for our mental and physical health. With GPs now even prescribing gardening to patients with depression and anxiety, here’s how our gardens are special spaces with many restorative qualities and benefits.

Gardening Connects Us with Nature

“Embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein

Nature has long been recognised for its relaxing qualities as a place for humans to find tranquillity and healing. Recreating nature around our home is a savvy way to develop that special bond with our environment. Surround yourself and your family with cheer everyday by planting an array of pollinator-friendly trees, bushes, and flowers to attract of bees, butterflies and everything in between to your garden.

Gardening Brings Responsibility

“Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

A person who can grow things is a person a little more in tune with the earth. Gardening is also a great way of caring for something; sometimes just the satisfaction of keeping a plant alive, and the responsibility that comes with it, is enough to give us a sense of purpose and pride. They are places where our efforts result in a real sense of achievement, boosting confidence and self-esteem.

Gardening is Great Exercise

“The key to happy living is that Mind should be at rest and body must be exercised and active.” – Hiyamedia

The health benefits of gardening are impressive. Gardening uses all the major muscle groups – the legs, shoulders, stomach, arms, neck, and back all get a workout. Gardening also increases flexibility and strengthens joints. Recent research indicates that 30 minutes daily of moderate exercise such as gardening lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, helps prevent diabetes and heart disease, and prevents or slows osteoporosis. You may even live longer. It’s all good news for gardeners!

Gardening is Therapeutic

“I like gardening — it’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.” – Alice Sebold

Even the simplest things can brighten our mood, as soil has been found to have similar effects on the brain as antidepressants to lift mood. A study by the University of Bristol and colleagues at University College London found that the ‘friendly’ bacteria normally found in soil, altered their behaviour in a similar way to that produced by an antidepressant. Simply planting up some potted Dahlias or a watering a hanging basket can have a huge impact on your stress levels, helping to stave off anxiety, slash depression risk, boost productivity and ease insomnia.

Happy gardening this spring planting season!

beautiful, flowers, and gif image

Beautiful Summer Flower Companions

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

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

Crocosmia and Agapanthus

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

Crocosmia ‘Sunglow’
Agapanthus ‘Back in Black’

Echinacea and Rudbeckia

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

Echinacea ‘Hot Papaya’
Rudbeckia ‘Little Goldstar’

Salvia and Verbena

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

Salvia ‘Gigantimo Bluestripe’
Verbena ‘Pink Spires’

Dahlias and Hemerocallis

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

Dahlia ‘Great Silence’
Hemerocallis ‘Double Dream’

Monarda and Geraniums

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

Monarda ‘Blaustrumpf’
Geranium ‘Rozanne’

6 Ways to Create a Wildlife Garden

Who doesn’t enjoy seeing butterflies and bees in the garden? There has been a decline in the UK’S wildlife populations in recent decades, with studies stating a decrease of up to 60%, but there are ways to combat this issue in our very own gardens.

With these simple steps, it couldn’t be easier making your outdoor space attractive to pollinators, birds and mammals. Here are our easy tips for creating a wildlife haven in your garden.

1. Choose the Right Flowers

Flowers provide an excellent source of pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies, moths, and other insects.  Here’s just a small selection of our favourite nectar-rich summer blooms to attract an array of pollinators.

Centranthus ruber coccineus

A cluster-forming perennial. This easy to grow plant blooms with stunning tiny pink flowers that are adored by butterflies and bees. Great for borders.

Echinacea ‘Golden Skipper

A cheery sight for summer. These golden yellow flowers are a beacon of joy for pollinators. They also make perfect cut flowers for the home!

Lavender ‘Munstead’

A versatile, dwarf shrub. These fragrant Lavender bushes can be enjoyed en-masse as ground cover or as container centrepieces. A well-loved plant by pollinators.

Echinacea ‘Milkshake

Otherwise known as Coneflowers, Echinacea are fantastic perennials. This creamy white variety blooms with amazing pom pom-like double flowers. Irresistible to butterflies.

Rudbeckia ‘Goldstrum’

An award-winning summer favourite. These cheery daisy-like flowers are a must-have for any wildlife garden. Great for borders and pots.

2. Plant Bird-Friendly Shrubs

Some shrubs can provide a diversity of food and shelter that will certainly attract a range of birds, such as greenfinches. Plant these wildlife-friendly shrubs and watch as the number of feathered visitors in your garden will grow each year.

Pyracantha ‘Golden Charmer’

A mesmerising shrub. With nectar-rich flowers in the spring and golden berries in the autumn, ‘Golden Charmer’ is a haven for a myriad of wildlife.

Chokeberry

A versatile fruiting shrub. With clusters of fragrant Spring blooms followed by blackberry clusters in the Autumn, this shrub provides fantastic multi-seasonal interest.

Beautyberry

Otherwise known as Callicarpa, this eye-catching shrub provides endless interest with their lilac summer flowers followed by vibrant metallic-like berries in the autumn. A valuable food source for birds.

Partridge Berry

Also known as Checkerberry, this dwarf, evergreen shrub is perfect for borders or containers. Their bright pink-red berries are perfect for attracting birds to the garden.

3. Create a Space for Shelter

A pristine lawn may look pretty but they do nothing for nature. Add a pile of old rocks, bricks, and tiles in a quiet corner of your garden to provide a sanctuary for many species of insects and small mammals and encourage biodiversity.

4. Set up Bird Feeders

No matter what season we’re in, a bird seed feeder is such a quick and easy way to help your local feathered friends. If you’re feeling crafty, you can build your own from scratch. Try upcycling food tins or plastic bottles (a great activity for kids!), then pile on a variety of food (peanuts, seeds or fat balls) to give your gardens a boost of life.

5. Add a Water Feature

Liven up any dull space in the garden with a pond. A small, ornamental pond is easy to build yourself and is a great way to attract a variety of wildlife creatures to the garden. If you don’t have the space to build a pond, large pots or upturned bins work too!

6. Start Composting

Not only is composting a great way to lower your household waste, it is also an excellent source of food for wildlife! The community of minibeasts who live among the waste help the decaying process, and in turn, these beasts are a delicious food source for hedgehogs and other animals.

What can i compost?

  • Grass cuttings and dead leaves

Winners Announced: Community Garden Competition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southborough SOS Community Garden WIN £50 worth of bulbs!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Community Garden Competition – WIN £100 WORTH OF BULBS

Are you a part of a local community garden? If so, we want to donate!

Whether it’s a tiny wildlife garden, fruit and vegetable plot on a housing estate, or a school garden, tell us how your community garden benefits your local area and we’ll choose three gardens to donate a selection of bulbs/plants to. The prizes will consist of a specially selected range of J.Parker’s plants and bulbs that we will hand pick to compliment your community garden’s theme.

WHAT CAN I WIN?

There will be 3 prizes for our top 3 favourite community gardens.

1st Prize – £100 worth of bulbs

2nd Prize – £50 worth of bulbs

3rd Prize – £30 worth of bulbs

COMPETITION DETAILS:

Simply answer this question (in 250 words or less):

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

HOW TO ENTER:

Send us in your entries by MARCH 2ND 2020

Enter via email at:

competition@jparkers.co.uk (please keep your entries under 5mb to ensure we receive them)

or enter via social media:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

RULES OF ENTRY:

  • We will view all entries and any which meet the criteria outlined below will be considered for the prize of a donation of J. Parker’s products to go towards the local projects.
  • Three winning entries will receive a donation of bulbs or plants from J. Parker’s for use in their community project.
  • Entries should be under 250 words. Images can be used so long as your entry email is less than 5mb in size.
  • Send your entries by email to competition@jparkers.co.uk (please keep your entries under 5mb to ensure we receive them) or entry via social media.
  • Entrants agree that their names and stories may be published publicly with their entry. No other details will be shared with any third parties.
  • Entrants agree that, should they be successful, their story and their project may be used in future for coverage on our blog and social channels.
  • All entries using photographs or drawings must be original images, taken/produced by the entrant. You must own all rights to the image and in entering the competition you agree to allow us to use your image in further promotions, on our blog, on social media or in print.
  • The following criteria will be used to judge entries;
  • How the idea will benefit local communities and environments.
  • The originality of the idea and anything that sets it apart from other entrants.
  • The winners will receive a donation of J. Parker’s products with a value of up to £100 subject to available stock. This will be made up of products of our choosing based on the project described in the entry, cannot be exchanged for cash and there is no substitution for this prize. This donation of products can only be used for the purpose outlined in your entry.
  • All entries will be considered. Competition closes 2nd March 2020.
  • Winners will be notified by email before the 11th March 2020.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

Planting Bulbs in the Green

A wonderful addition to the front of a border or lawn, bulbs in the green are great naturalising bulbs and in spring will provide your garden with a carpet of colour. Our selection of spectacular bulbs in the green are a lovely way to introduce some traditional charm and elegance to your garden.

The main advantage of planting bulbs in the green is that you can be sure that the plants are alive and healthy when you plant them. Planting in the green helps them absorb moisture quickly after they have been planted, as dry, rootless bulbs do not re-establish as well.

Probably one of the easiest bulbs to grow, at J. Parker’s we lift bulbs in the green with their foliage intact , so all you will need to do is replant them on arrival. All our bulbs in the green are supplied from nursery raised stock, and not from the wild.

BLUEBELLS

The original much-loved English Bluebell naturalises bountifully, particularly in the shade of trees where other plants would struggle. These flowers are extremely distinctive in their lilac-blue colour and bell shaped blooms, and due to their fragrance are wonderful for attracting bees, moths and butterflies. Reaching a height of 20-25cm they can also be grown in containers, and so are suitable for gardens of all sizes.

SNOWDROPS

The arrival of snowdrops poking up through the ground is one of the first signs that spring is around the corner. This beautifully traditional plant produces delicate bell-shaped, pure white flowers. Plant in drifts beneath a deciduous tree to give your garden a whimsically woodland feel. Snowdrops reach an approximate height of 10cm and bloom from January through to March.

ERANTHIS

Eranthis, also known as Winter Aconites, are a relative of the buttercup and add a lovely burst of vibrant yellow to the garden in early spring. Their attractive green flower-shaped foliage grows around the yellow petals, and covers the ground long after the flowers have disappeared. These flowers are easy plants to grow: flowering reliably and often the earliest to bloom in spring.

HOW TO PLANT

For the best chance of success, small spring-flowering bulbs should be planted whilst they have leaves in early spring immediately after they have flowered with their foliage intact. Small bulbs can dry out easily while in storage, so are better lifted while in growth then replanted immediately, rather than as dormant bulbs.

Bluebells, Snowdrops and Eranthis need soil that doesn’t dry out. Therefore, they prefer a location which is sunny in winter but shaded in summer. An ideal place to plant them is under a deciduous tree.

Preparation:

  • Prepare your chosen planting site before delivery of your plants so that you can plant them as quickly as possible upon arrival.
  • The ground where they are to be planted should be enriched with compost or well-rotted organic matter.

Planting:

  • When your plants arrive in a bundle, gently tease them apart taking care not to damage the roots. Plant within 3 days of delivery.
  • Plant the bulbs at the same depth they were growing before they were lifted; you can see where this was form the level at which the leaves change from white to green. Everything that was below soil level before lifting is white, but if you’re unsure approximately 8-10cm will be okay.
  • Back fill the hole and around the bulbs, compacting lightly. Water the plants immediately.

Our Spring 2020 range is out NOW! To shop our lovely collection of Spring plants and bulbs, click here.

Alternatively, you can request our Spring 2020 catalogue here.