Parkers Pollinator Count

The Big Butterfly Count has started! We want to do our job as wildlife enthusiasts and continue the count! Butterflies are an important part of not just the garden, but nature overall. With the hot summer days and lovely weather, this is prime time for butterflies to show off their beautiful wings and grace the skies. Keep reading to find out how you can win a £100 VOUCHER and give to a good cause!

How to enter

  • Snap photos of pollinators in the garden in commemoration of The Big Butterfly Count. For this particular competition we’re focusing on butterflies only – big and small!
  • FACEBOOK – Like our Facebook page and share your image to our page with the caption ‘Parkers Pollinators entry’.
  • TWITTER – Follow us at @JParkersBulbs and tag us in your photos with the hashtag #parkerspollinators
  • INSTAGRAM – Follow us at @jparkersbulbs and tag us in your photos with the hashtag #parkerspollinators
  • EMAIL – Email us at [email protected] (Entries must be under 5mb – please include your name and postcode)

Every entry you send in, we donate £1 to the Butterfly Conservation.

What you win

The lucky winner of our Parkers Pollinator Count competition will in a £100 VOUCHER to spend on our website! But the good stuff doesn’t stop there, every single entry no matter the platform will count as a £1 donation to the Butterfly Conservation directly from us. This means that no matter who wins, you will be contributing to the Big Butterfly Count and spreading the importance these little winged creatures hold.

Butterfly Conservation

The Butterfly Conservation envision a world where ‘butterflies and moths thrive and can be enjoyed by everyone, forever’ and that is exactly what they aim do to. Through their best efforts over the last 40 years, they are aiming to not only increase the numbers of widespread species, but also recover threatened butterflies and moths and promote intentional conservation actions. By inspiring people to understand and deliver species conservation, the Butterfly Conservation are taking long strides to achieve their 2025 goals and we hope to help them achieve their goal.

When does the competition end?

Get your photos to us by August 20th. The winner will be announced on August 26rd.

Good luck and start snapping!

Get a head start on your Autumn garden:

What is cross-pollination

The question of how to cross pollinate is a common one. But before learning how to, it’s best to learn what it is. Cross-pollination is not only exclusive to bees! It is a process of transferring pollen from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower. Cross-pollination can be used intentionally to create unique varieties of plants and vegetables.

What is cross-pollination

When one plant pollinates another variety, the two plants genetics combine to create a new variety. This new variety shares characteristics from both plants. A popular cross-pollination is for tomatoes, to create new and better varieties. This is intentional cross-pollination but it doesn’t always happen this way. In some instances, external forces play a hand in cross-pollination, like the wind or bees, carry pollen from one variety to another.

Common cross-pollinate misconceptions

Unlike flowers, not all plants can cross-pollinate easily. Cross-pollination within vegetables is less about the pollen, and has more to do with the species. For example, a cucumber could not cross-pollinate with a tomato as they are not the same species. But, it can happen between a broccoli and cauliflower.

Secondly, that the current harvest has been affected. This isn’t possible. Cross-pollination only affects the fruit of any seeds planted from that fruit. If think your harvest looks odd then it might be worth exploring other options such as pests and diseases before jumping to conclusions.

Controlling cross-pollination

Cross-pollination can be controlled, it just requires some extra steps. The easiest method is making sure to only grow one species in the garden as cross-pollination is unlikely to happen. If you want to grow multiple varieties you should determine if the plant you are growing is self pollinated or wind and insect pollinated. You can eliminate the chance of cross-pollination by planting different varieties of the same species at least 3m apart.

Whether is it intentional or not, cross-pollination isn’t always a bad thing. Your plants remain unaffected and you might even create a new variety that grows better and stronger than ever.

Read more gardening information from J Parkers:

7 Ways to Help Wildlife in your Garden

For many people, wildlife is a welcome addition to the garden, bringing a cheerful breath of life and character to your very own backyard.

It is especially vital at this time of year, in the cold frosty months, to keep supporting your local wildlife with the space you have. Taking just a little time out of your day to make some easy changes in your garden can attract a flurry of wildlife and help do your bit for the environment.

Here are seven easy ways to make it happen;

  1. Leave a snack

Food can be scarce for animals during the winter, so this time of year is the perfect time to begin attracting wildlife to your garden. Even something as simple as adding a bird feed or scattering monkey nuts on the lawn can easily attract various wildlife to your garden. A bird table is a fantastic way of enticing birds into a specific area of the garden.

  1. Choose Shrubs for shelter and food

If you have the space grow trees and big shrubs. By devoting even the smallest part of your garden to attracting wildlife you can turn it into a paradise for beneficial birds, mammals and insects.

Birds are attracted to areas where they find both food and shelter. A good way of doing so in the autumn/winter is by planting up shrubs and trees which produce berries, such as Ilex (Holly), Pyracantha or Gaultheria. Not only will they produce valuable food but they also produce some much needed ornamental value in the Winter months.

Shop Shrubs Now

  1. Choose nectar-rich flowers

Bees and butterflies will visit most gardens, especially if they find plants in sunny or sheltered locations. The secret here is to make available nectar rich, fragrant flowers which are colourful and from which they feed. Lavender, Buddleia, Syringa, Forsythia and Echinacea are just a few fantastic garden favourites for attracting butterflies and all look great in the garden!

Ornamental grasses are also a popular way of making the garden appealing to seed eating birds.

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  1. Don’t forget water!

Just a little water left out can help out passing critters. Remember if you have a water feature or are near bodies of water, be sure to provide water and shelter for Toads. These are great for keeping unwanted pests at bay and if you have a pond or one nearby its likely you already have Frogs and Toads living nearby. If you have a dog remember Toads will release skin secretions which are toxic to dogs.

  1. Use an old Tennis Ball

Having a space for a water feature in your garden is a fantastic way to attract wildlife, but in the colder months freezing temperatures can create lethal conditions for your pondlife. A great tip for preventing your water feature from completely freezing over is to float several old tennis balls on the surface.

  1. Offer Shelter

Critters and bugs appreciate a little homemade shelter. A pile of old logs or bricks, some overgrown grass or turned over empty pots can all help with providing shelter for animals – Hedgehogs will happily take advantage of your hospitality and thank you by eating pesky slugs and snails – an ideal natural defender of you Hosta plants! 

  1. Go Wild

Wild gardens and meadows have been popular in recent years for their stylish swathes of summer colour. Composting and letting a few patches of your garden grow a little wild will help to encourage visitors (and what gardener needs to be told the virtues of compost!).

Online now you will find many varieties of plants and shrubs which will help you along the way, by both attracting and providing food/shelter for various forms of wildlife.

Read Some of our Best Reader-submitted Tips