October Plant of the Month: Heather

A terrific plant that deserves a spot in any garden. They may be small, but Heather are inexpensive, evergreen plants that provide colour even in the coldest months. Originating from the Scottish Hylands, transform any garden border, patio or rockery with the vibrant floral clusters of Heather and turn any garden into a carpet of dazzling colour.

To celebrate Heather as our plant of the month, we have selected our best Heather mixtures and collections on offer, as well as ideal planting partners, a planting guide and even some traditional folklore about Scotland’s national flower.

Top Varieties

Winter Flowering Collection

These small Heathers make a big impact with their masses of tiny blooms that flower all winter long into the spring. This collection of low-growing evergreen shrubs make excellent and colourful ground cover.

Click here to view online.

Winter Mixed (Erica)

One of the hardiest of the Heathers. This wonderful mix of Erica Heather are low and quick growers, which will form eye-catching mats of pink, white, purple of red blooms. The perfect plant to compliment early spring bulbs.

Click here to view online.

Summer/Winter Collection

Fill your garden with beauty all year round with this collection. Our summer Heathers bloom from July-October, while our winter Heathers flower from December to February. Plant en masse on a slope and an impressionist’s landscape will burst into life.

Click here to view online.

Summer Mixed (Calluna)

Among the most hardiest and most varied of all Heathers. Appearing from mid-late summer, these showy flowers practically glow with their bright and beautiful shades. An easy to grow contender for adding to cottage gardens or as ground cover.

Click here to view online.

Looking for some floral inspiration? Here are some tips on companion planting with Heather…

When planted en masse, Heathers and Heaths make a swath of tones and foliage with easy appeal and graceful texture. Adding some dimension to such plantings further enhances the garden area and increases interest year around.

Rhododendrons & Azaleas

A classic Heather companion. They crave the same acidic soil and consistent moisture on which Heather thrive. You can even feed Heather with a Rhododendron fertiliser.

Click here to view online.

Pansies

When planting Heather in containers, keep it simple by accenting them with beautiful hardy Pansies. An excellent pot plant that grow well with Heather.

Click here to view online.

Lavender

Smaller flowering plants compliment Heather and bloom at different times, thereby extending the bloom show. The look of Lavender and Heather together is a real showstopper.

Click here to view online.

Planting Guide

Planting Time: Autumn-Early Spring 📆

Soil Type: Well drained, lime-free soil 🏡

Location: Full Sun/Partial Shade ☀

Flowering Time: July-October & December-February 🌸

  • Space Heathers as far apart as their mature width and at least 60cm away from other shrubs (to ensure good air circulation).
  • Dig a hole about twice as wide as the plug and half again as deep.
  • Firm the soil around the plant and water-in.
  • Water the plant once or twice a week when the soil is dry throughout the first season.
  • Mulch after planting.
  • Trim faded flower stems back to bases straight after flowering.

  • Plant them in a large, wide pot with good drainage holes in the bottom.
  • Use ericaceous potting mix (they enjoy highly acidic soil).
  • Shelter from strong winds and water when the two-inch later of soil is dry.
  • Protect from frosts by moving small pots indoors or cover the plant with polystyrene foam, then mulch the plant heavily.

Folklore 🌟

Here are some fascinating tales about these wild blooms.

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!

 

 

The Best Plants for Rock Gardens

 Transforming a dull slope into a beautiful rock garden is easy when you choose the right plants, and it’s simple to make. From sun-thriving plants to shade-loving plants, this guide, we will share the 10 best plants to fill in your rock garden.

1. Anemone De Caen Mixed 

Anemone coronaria De Caen mixed

This mixture of Anemone DeCaen has the perfect mix of colours to give you a natural and carefree-looking display. An ideal partner for creating a bold and bright rockery display. This Anemone variety will flower each year and is an excellent naturalizing plant.

2. Phlox Subulata Snowflake

Phlox Snowflake is the perfect vigorous, creeping perennial to cover walls or rockeries. This variety produces a mass of pure white flowers on top of a dark evergreen foliage that is certain to brighten up any rocky areas or paving crevices in the garden.

 

3. Sedum cauticolum Robustum

This deep crimson flowering ground cover plant will bring amazing colours to the garden. This Sedum variety is highly attractive to butterflies and insects and is the perfect perennial to create a long-lasting rockery garden display.

4. Saxifraga Kabschia

A superb apline plant. Saxifraga Kabschia makes a perfect addition to a rockery due to its creeping nature. They can be planted between paving slabs, or gaps in dry stone walls and is a prolific bloomer in the summer when the plant produces pretty pink flowers.

 

5. Crocus Large Flowering Mixed

Our mixture of large flowering Crocus will produce a carpet of colour throughout spring. They naturalise profusely, so they will create an increasingly beautiful display each year. This fantastic, low maintenance flower will create a stunning rockery display full of colour.

6. Dianthus Deltoides

This evergreen perennial forms a mat of silver tinged green foliage with clusters of showy cerise flowers with deep crimson markings. Reaching a height of 10cm, this Dianthus variety is perfect for a sunny rockery and even provides effected weed-suppressing ground cover.

7. Iris reticulata Painted Lady

Iris reticulata Painted Lady

Native to Turkey, this new addition to our range is perfect for rockery displays, containers or for the front of the border. Their ivory white blooms contain flecks and streaks of pale dusky blue and yellow markings. They are frost hardy so not only are they a beautiful Iris variety, they are a tough garden addition too.

8. Allium Small Flowering Collection

This superb collection of dwarf-growing Alliums look fantastic grown on a rockery display. Each beautiful variety produces an array of attractive and vibrant flowers, which are ideal for filling in gaps with exciting eye-catching colours.

9. Thymus Serpyllum

Native to Europe and North Africa, this creeping, low-growing Thyme variety produces highly fragrant pinky-mauve flowers that are loved by butterflies and bees. Thymus Serpyllum is great for planting in rockeries or paving crevices, where they will release their beautiful fragrance when strodden on.

10. Campanula Carpatica

This fantastic clump-forming perennial forms masses of sparkling star-shaped blue flowers with violet hues on a bed of long stalked rounded leaves. Their spreading foliage will create a mass of weed suppressing ground cover and will dazzle in a sunny rock garden.

 

 

Aftercare

10 Drought Tolerant Plants to Beat the Summer Heat

With our increasingly hotter summers, climate change presents us with the challenge of gardening with less water. However, there is a considerable range of plants that can tolerate dry conditions. These drought-tolerant plants are the perfect choice for sunny spots in your garden.

1. Nepeta

Nepeta are a reliable perennial, very hardy and tolerant of all conditions and it returns reliably each year. They are very effective even in dry and drought areas, so they are useful for even the most difficult spots in the garden.

Nepeta Six Hills Giant

This vigorous perennial produces clusters of aromatic, small lavender blue flowers. This variety is a perfect addition to borders and edging beds, as well as attracting bees and butterflies to the summer garden. With a grey-green foliage and masses of flowers, this Nepeta adds a lovely, soft, gentle touch to cottage gardens.

2. Mimosa

The very hardy and heat-loving Mimosa is ideal wherever a full, dense canopy is desired during the summer months. Native to Southeastern Australia and then widely introduced to the Mediterranean , these plants are no stranger to higher, tropical temperatures.

Mimosa Acacia

The beautiful feathered foliage of the Mimosa Acacia will delight in the spring time, with their masses of fragrant yellow flowers. Create a statement display in your garden by planting this variety in patio container, but equally they are suited at the back of a border.

 

3. Sedum

Sedums are superb drought-resistant succulents that produce domes of star-shaped flowers in the summer and autumn seasons. Sedums have evolved to live in exposed conditions, where soil is very well-drained and sun and wind dry everything out quickly, so over the centuries, they have developed some inbuilt coping mechanisms such as fleshy, water-storing leaves and stems.

Sedum Hot Stuff

This striking Sedum produces large bursts of vibrant pink flowers that are wildly-loved by butterflies and bees. This strong, compact forming plant makes a great border addition or make a bigger impact by planting in groups so they will really stand out in the late summer garden.

4. Lavender

A native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, it’s no wonder that Lavender makes a great drought-tolerant addition to the garden. It can be used as a low hedge, specimen plant, or even a cut flower, and will add a beautiful fragrance to the garden.

Dwarf Lavender Munstead

This compact evergreen shrub blooms with spikes of small, highly fragrant, blue-purple flowers in mid to late summer. Plant en masse to produce ground cover, low screening, or in lines to create a great border effect.

5. Campsis Radicans

Also known as Trumpet Vines, these hardy plants are fast climbers that grow well even in poor soil and full sunlight, and the blossoms attract hummingbirds too. Campsis Radicans can live for decades and although they die back in the winter, they’re quick to spring back to life in the spring.

Campsis radicans

Blooming with clusters of showy, exotic warm red trumpet-shaped blooms, this self-clinging climber is ideal for a sunny wall or fence. These beautiful tropical flowers are marked with deep red insides appear above long, coarsely toothed, glossy dark green leaves with pointed tips and distinctive veining.

6. Ceanothus

Ceanothus, commonly known as California Lilac, are very drought tolerant shrubs and offer almost everything that a gardener could wish for in a shrub. They are free-flowering, drought tolerant, easy to cultivate and grow in most soils.

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var repens

Beautiful in its simplicity, this fantastic award-winning shrub delights in the summer garden. Its rich glossy leaves nestle amongst sky blue florescence comprising of densely compact panicles that burst into bloom like tiny fireworks in spring and early summer. This evergreen variety looks beautiful in patio pots, or against a wall.

 

7. Jasmine

Jasmine provide more than delicate tendrils and sweet perfume, they create substance, structure and colourful blooms to the garden. This genus of shrubs and vines contains around 200 species, native to tropical and warm temperate regions and a number of species have become naturalised in Mediterranean Europe.

Trachelospermum jasminoides (Jasmine)

This highly fragrant, vigorous climber produces clusters of beautiful star-shaped white flowers, which bloom from June throughout the summer months. This is a perfect climber for growing against a warm, sunny wall. Jasmine flowers are ideal for perfuming the air with their sweet fragrance in the summer garden.

8. Verbena

Native to the American Tropics, Verbena plants are beautiful examples of drought-tolerant plants. These popular perennials produce rich nectar, so butterflies and bees also love them.

Verbena bonariensis

Elegant and long lasting. This bestselling Verbena variety produces masses of small purple flowers in clusters. With a good pest resistance, this fantastic border plant will delight in the summer garden, flowering from June to October. They also will make a great addition to cut flower displays.

9. Russian Sage

One of the toughest plants that needs little care. Russian Sage loves direct sun, tolerates almost any soil and is extremely drought tolerant. Its fine texture makes Russian Sage a good choice if you’re seeking contrast with plants exhibiting a coarser texture.

Perovskia atriplicifolia Blue Spire

Native to central Asia, Russian Sage’s natural habitat is on dry plains. This variety produces highly scented silver leaves that are topped with spikes of gorgeous, tiny violet purple bell-shaped flowers in late summer. The impressive flowers and foliage look amazing planted in a border or patio pot in the summer garden.

10. Agapanthus

Agapanthus are some of the most beautiful and reliable summer plants you can grow. Once established, Agapanthus are tough enough to withstand dry spells without stressing. Originating from the cliffs of South Africa, they naturally enjoy lots of sunshine and are naturally resistant to wind.

Agapanthus Melbourne

This stunning bi-colour variety blooms in the summer with purple buds that open to reveal white flowers with a lilac purple stripe through each petal. Also known as the African Lily, these plants are drought tolerant and enjoy plenty of sunlight.

 

 

 

Summer Plant Care Tips

 

Spring Photo Competition Winners 2019

We asked you to send in your #JParkersBulbs spring photos and you did not disappoint! We had an amazing turn out this year with people sending in their entries by email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We would like to give a massive thank you to everyone who entered this year; we received so many amazing photos that narrowing them down to the final 10 was a real struggle.

So without further adieu, here are this year’s results…

1st Place Prize Winner

The top prize of a £100 J. Parker’s voucher went to this beautiful Crocus image from Isabelle C. sent to us via email.

Isabelle C – Crocus

2nd Place Prize Winners

We awarded 2 £50 J. Parker’s vouchers for our second place prize winners.

Nataliya H – Allium

One voucher went to this beautiful bee-friendly Allium photo from Nataliya H. sent to us via email.

Peter G – Daffodil

The second £50 voucher goes to this delightful daffodil shot sent in by Peter G. via email.

3rd Place Prize Winners

 Our seven third prize winners each won a £25 J. Parker’s voucher and here are their beautiful entry images.

Our Favourite Entries From Previous Years…

« 1 of 2 »

Get started on your 2020 displays and Pre-order your Spring Flowering Bulbs here!

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.

 

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Top 10 Perennials for Year-Round Interest

Having a beautiful garden through every season of the year can be quite a challenge, but we’re here to help. Perennials provide flowers year after year. We have carefully selected our top perennial plants that will bring interest to your garden all year long.

Monarda

Native to Eastern North America and Canada and grows naturally from Quebec to Georgia. The Monarda’s other name “Bee Balm” refers to the fact that North American tribes would crush their leaves to ease the pain of bee stings. This popular perennial is ideal for their fragrance and would make the perfect addition to a wildlife garden.

Monarda Knight Red

This beautiful perennial provides beautiful whirls of vivid red flowers from July through to September and a mass of spicy-scented bronze tinged foliage. An added bonus of this Monarda is that their enticing fragrance attracts butterflies and bees, so they are perfect for anyone planning a wildlife garden.

 

 


Lewisia

Native to western North America, Lewisia are one of the most treasured rock garden plants. This gorgeous little plant produces rosette-shaped flowers that come in a range of different colours and is super durable, even in sandy or rocky soils.

Lewisia Cotyledon Mixed

This hardy, low growing perennial plant produces bursts of ornate, slender stemmed flowers with star-shaped petals that bloom in delicate colourful shades in the spring and summer. The foliage is particularly distinctive with their succulent, glossy leaves  that form attractive rosette-shaped arrangements at the base of the plant.

 


Scabiosa

Scabiosa is a plant that every gardener should try. Also known as the pincushion flower, Scabiosa is an easy-care plant that works well nearly everywhere and their flowers are a stunning sight to behold.

Scabiosa Fama White

This delightful and extremely hardy variety of Scabiosa produces filly flowers all summer long  until the first frosts. They are also perfect for attracting pollinators to the garden. Unlike their annual type, their foliage remains green year round and will return each year.

 

 

 


Ranunculus

If you’re a cut flower lover, and who’s not? – you’ll love Ranunculus. Native to the Eastern Meditteranean, these showstopping flowers are perfect for a cutting garden and their rose-clustered, bright flower heads will give you a flower bed of richly packed colour.

Ranunculus Picotee Pink

This hardy perennial variety boasts large white flowers adorned with multiple layers of delicate, silky petals with purple tips. Each plant produces masses of long-lasting double blooms that are perfect for borders, container planting or for making pretty cut flower displays.

 

 

 


Miscanthus

Looking for a more natural garden scheme? Miscanthus are a great group of ornamental grasses that can give lots of pleasure in the garden and require very little work in return.

Miscanthus Indian Summer

This stunning hardy perennial grass will make a great statement plant in any garden. Blooming with bright orange and yellow feathery stems throughout summer, autumn and well into winter. Their beautiful and unusual floral texture last for so many months after the initial colour has faded.

 

 


Sedum

There are few plants more forgiving of sun and bad soil than Sedum plants, so much so that even novice gardeners excel at growing them. These plants require very little attention and care and will thrive in conditions that many other plants thrive in, but will do just as good in less hospitable areas. Sedums are frequently used to create beautiful ground cover or rock gardens.

Sedum pulchellium Sea Star

This tough, low-growing perennial is drought tolerant and produces a mound of glossy green leaves that are covered in pale pink star-shaped flowers during the summer months. As the weather warms, the green leaves gradually become blushed with a rose colouration towards the tips of the succulent leaves.

 


Veronica

Native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere, Veronica plants are low-care, pollinator friendly and easy-to-grow perennials that produce long spikes of tiny clustered flowers in a range of beautiful and vibrant colours.

Veronica spicata Icicle

This compact perennial produces slender upright spikes of white flowers that bloom all throughout the summer. This variety will grow a spread of pretty foliage at roughly half the overall height of the plant with the crisp white flowers shooting above. A perfect addition to pots on the patio.

 

 


Carex

Carex are top-notch foliage perennials that commonly feature triangular stems bearing linear or strap-shaped leaves that are a graceful accent plant for beds, borders, ground cover and so much more. Their wonderful leaves provide long lasting appeal all year round and require very little care for a low maintenance garden.

Carex testacea ‘Prairie Fire’

A fantastic evergreen perennial grass that will provide a colourful contrast to the border with their orange tipped green leaves. In the autumn, the foliage turns into a darker orange and produce brown flower spikes in the summer. This clump-forming perennial retains its colour all year round for a long lasting garden appeal.

 


Anemone

Anemones grow wild around Europe, North America and Japan and they are a beautiful sight in the summer when they flower freely until late Autumn. These beautiful perennials are generally low maintenance plants and easily thrive in a majority of conditions.

Anemone Multifida

Anemone Mutlifida is a vigorous, long flowering perennial that produces broad foliage with buttery lemon-yellow flowers. They will flower all summer from June to August and will naturalise prolifically if left undisturbed, so you can simply plant them up and forget about them.

 

 


Heuchera

Famed for their truly amazing and spectacular foliage, Heuchera are a real luxury for garden lovers, but their real attraction comes from their evergreen or semi-evergreen foliage. Try mixing Heuchera together in borders, rockeries or patio containers and create a beautiful rainbow effect.

Heuchera plum royale

Heuchera Plum Royale produces spectacular shiny purple evergreen foliage which turn to silver with a purple tint in winter. This plant also produces attractive late spring an early summer flowers in pretty pink and white shades. This variety is a superb year round ground cover plant, even in a shady spot.

 

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.

Chelsea Flower Show 2019: 5 Trends to Try at Home

If you missed the Chelsea Flower Show last week, the gardens showcased everything from wildlife havens, wildflower fields to woodland wonderlands. To help you discover the top gardening trends from the 2019 gardens, we’ve compiled a guide to the best themes that you can get inspired by and recreate in your very own garden.

Here are some of the popular garden themes to inspire you…

 

 

 

 

The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden by Mark Gregory

Wildflowers made a huge appearance at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. Sprinkled with lovely blue Camassias, lupins and grasses, Mark Gregory’s Welcome to Yorkshire garden showcased the beauty and freshness of a perennial spring meadow in a garden setting. Here are some of our recommendations for adding some natural beauty to the garden.

 

Camassia Esculenta

The bright blue spiky flowers of this Esculenta make this beautiful hardy plant a perfect choice to naturalise in your gardens. Blooming in summer, these beautiful vibrant flowers will form clumps of bright blue linear leaves and leave you with a spectacular wild garden look.

 

Lupin Band of Nobles The Governor

With their mass of pea-like flowers, these Lupins are very easy to grow for beautiful flowers year after year. This variety showcases elegant violet-blue blooms above a base of star-shaped green foliage that is a true showstopper in the summer border.


Digitalis Hardy Ambigua Yellow 

This RHS Garden Merit Award winner is a true delight for a cottage garden look. This Foxglove’s stunning creamy yellow bell-shaped flowers are great for attracting butterflies and bees to the garden to liven up the summer garden.

 

 

The Roots in Finland Kyrö Garden by Tiana Suonio

Even in a small town garden, Finnish designer Tiana Suonio shows how to create a wildlife haven retreat. The theme of planting fragrant and diverse perennials was a recurring theme this year, with flowers to attract pollinators. Suonio creates a multi-layered meadow of plants from Lily of the Valley (Finnish National Flower) and strong Willows that can handle the demanding Finnish growing conditions.

Salix caprea pendula

The lovely tumbling branches of this Salix caprea will provide your garden will year round interest. Their silver, fuzzy catkins open up in the spring to become soft silky flowers with yellow anthers before lush, hanging foliage appears.

 

Leucanthemum superbum Snow Lady

Within Suonio’s Finish landscape, the informal garden’s style featured meadow planting with daisies. Loved by butterflies and bees, the giant white daisy-like flowers of the ‘Snow Lady’ will create a sight to behold in the summer time.

 

Peony Sarah Bernhardt

Peonies were a delightful addition to the show gardens this year, providing a pop of summer colour. Our fragrant Peony Sarah Bernhardt will add a beautiful flush of candy-pink colour in their frilly, delicate blooms that is hard to miss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The M & G Garden by Andy Sturgeon

The predominant colour for almost all gardens this year is green. From lush foliage to green flowers and tall grasses. Andy Sturgeon’s M&G Garden focused on nature’s regenerative power in a woodland landscape and used predominately green plants to get his message across and provide an ancient quality.

 

Euphorbia Wulfenii

This stunning Euphorbia produces bright, upright stems smothered in bright green and yellow flowers. They create a fabulous and unique summer display when added to a herbaceous border or patio containers.

 

 

Hakonechloa macra ‘Allgold’

This bright and beautiful grass will create a gorgeous lush green garden look. This dwarf mound-forming variety produces masses of thin, spiky golden yellow leaves for a vibrant yet natural dash of colour in the summer garden.

 

Camassia Leichtlinii Alba

These perfect naturalisers produce creamy-white blooms, densely set on very long stems. Whether planted in beds or borders, this Camassia variety are an amazing addition en-masse in any wild garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walker’s Forgotten Quarry garden by Graham Bodle

Unlikely materials, industrial features and rubble provided inspiration for a whole planting scheme this year with Graham Bodle’s garden. Pines, textured foliage and natural accents against the industrial landscape were added to provide a relaxing garden space. The M&G Garden features a delicate planting selection of fiery Geums, Primulas and Digitalis.

 

Geum Queen of Orange

Bodle’s garden featured a myriad of fiery coloured Geums, so get the look with this beautiful orange Geum variety. The rich, vibrant blooms of Geum Queen of Orange are the perfect hardy perennials for attracting pollinators and will flower all summer long.

 

 

Phalaris Arundinacea Feesey

The Quarry Garden featured a flurry of foliage and grasses to give an effect of an industrial space being reclaimed by nature. This spectacular variegated grass has an unusual cascading effect with stunning bi-coloured leaves to add a touch of the wild to the garden.

Digitalis purpurea Mix

Bodle paired the beautiful silvery-leaved Digitalis purpurea alongside the lovely Primula Candelabra as an arresting combination. Digitalis purpurea, a classic cottage garden favourite, will add a beautiful mixture of colour in the summer time for a display of natural beauty.

 

 

 

 

Back To Nature Garden by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge with Andree Davies and Adam White

With wild trees and shrubs and a cool calm colour palette of green and blue, the woodland garden designed by the Duchess of Cambridge was designed to build a relaxing and calming space. With beautiful foliage and wildlife-attracting plants as a focal point of the Back to Nature garden, here are our woodland inspired planting recommendations.

 

 

Vinca Minor

The calming blue shades of the Vinca Minor‘s flowers makes a fantastic ground cover feature for creating a calm and collective atmosphere and add a touch of the wild nature of a woodland floor to the garden.

 

 

Athyrium filix-femina (Lady Fern)

Kate’s garden featured a selection of ferns to enhance the feel of a woodland’s conditions. The architectural form and fresh green fronds of the ‘Lady Fern’ gives some height with their feathery shaped form. Also, this fern was awarded the RHS Garden Merit Award.

 

Geranium Rozanne

As a Winner of the RHS Award of Garden Merit and voted plant of the Centenary during the Chelsea Flower Show 2013, it’s easy to say this Geranium is a guaranteed gardener favourite. This Geranium variety blooms gorgeous purple flowers and makes ideal ground cover.

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: