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

How and When to Plant Summer Bulbs

As spring approaches, it’s time to head outdoors and prepare your garden for summer blooms. Flowers categorised as ‘summer bulbs’ are flowering bulbs which grow and bloom during the summer, and so they are planted at the start of spring. Summer bulbs need warm weather and warm soil; a rule of thumb to remember is if it’s time for your tomatoes to go outdoors, it is also time to plant your summer bulb.

J.Parker’s Spring 2020 Collection is available to browse and purchase online NOW! So why not take a look our selection below of some beautiful summer bulbs, and kick-start the inspiration for your summer garden.

Begonias

How to plant: Begonias planted in beds which are enriched with well rotted or leaf mould will make a fine show. They should be started in shallow boxes in light soil; the saucer like tubers should be planted very shallow with the hollow side up. As soon as any danger of frost is passed then they can be transferred to their position in the garden at least 30cm apart.

Helene Harms

These cheerful sunshine blooms will add colour all summer from June to October. A perfect addition to patio pots or containers.

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Odorata Pink Delight

Well-known for its highly fragrant flowers, the Begonia Pink Delight produces an abundance of vivid pink blooms. Flowers throughout summer until first frosts.

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 Non-Stop White

These stunning white flowers bloom continuously throughout the summer months, contrasting against their glossy dark leaves.

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Dahlias

How to plant: Dahlia tubers can be planted 10cm deep in fertile well drained soil, outdoors in spring when the frost has disappeared. They prefer to be in a sunny location and spaced at approximately 45cm apart. In areas where there is extreme cold, dig up dahlias and store in a cool peat over the winter. Apply a high potash fertiliser every few weeks in summer and dead head when necessary.

Bilbao

Bilbao is a large, zesty yellow Dinner Plate Dahlia with flowers that really shine during the summer months. Flowers June to September.

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Bishop of Leicester

Bishop of Leicester produces beautiful pink petals and a golden yellow centre. The unusual dark foliage contrasts brilliantly with the bright flower.

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Cabana Banana

Cactus Dahlias produce pointed petals which turn backwards to create this stunning tubular effect. The Cabana Banana has a gorgeous creamy yellow flower with a subtle blend of pink.

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Lilies

How to plant: each lily bulb should be surrounded with a little sharp sand both under and above the bulb to keep slugs away and to ward off excessive wetness. As most liliums are stem rooting we strongly recommend you plant at 15cm deep. They give a much better display when planted in clumps of 3, 6 or 12 bulbs (45cm apart). Planting time is October through to April.

Foxtrot

This delicate pale pink Dwarf Asiatic Lily is compact, but produces masses of flowers on very sturdy stems. Flowering from June to August, they make a great summer border flower.

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Yellow County

Our Yellow County Asiatic Lily produces lovely lively yellow flowers, with a beautiful scent. Asiatic hybrid lilies are the easiest to grow and amongst the first to bloom.

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White Heaven

The pure white trumpet shape of this Longiflorum Lily is a delicate addition to any summer garden, and make for wonderful cut flower displays. Bloom from July to September.

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Gladioli

How to plant: plant gladioli corms about 10-15cm deep and about 10-15cm apart, in fertile/well drained soil. When planting in a heavy soil, place some sand underneath each corm to help with drainage. At Parkers we recommend planting Gladioli in groups at monthly intervals, starting early spring, to extend the flowering season for a display which lasts all summer long.

Adrenaline

Our Gladioli Adrenaline are a dazzling blend of pale pink, white, and purple stamens. They make a lovely fresh feature in any summer garden.

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Fergie

Fergie is a Butterfly Gladioli that produces tangy lime green flowers with a dramatic contrasting red in its throat. Like all Gladioli they are great for attracting bees and butterflies.

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Nanus Impressive

These Gladioli are true to their name, with amazing dark pink markings upon pale pink petals. The unique pattern certainly attracts the eye and flower from May until July.

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Our new Spring 2020 range is now available online. Get ahead and begin shopping for your Summer Garden now!

Alternatively, you can request a copy of our Spring 2020 Catalogue here.

Dazzling Dahlias for the New Year 🌟

If you love bright colours in your borders, you won’t go far wrong with dahlias. Dahlias are among the lowest maintenance, highest production cut flowers and garden plants you can grow. So, with our premium Dahlia range now available to order online (for dispatch from mid-January), why not kick the new year off with a bang by planting these showstopping bloomers.

Dahlia Ambition

Marvel at the profusion of spectacular rich purple blooms of our Dahlia Ambition. A great choice for borders, containers or as superb cut flowers.

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Dahlia Tartan

This striking Dahlia will steal the show in any summer garden. Their gently ruffled, velvet wine and white swirled petals are great for cutting or plant in groups for a hypnotizing display.

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Dahlia Blue Boy

Big, bright and blue. These cool toned Decorative Dahlia flowers will add a touch of class to your summer borders.

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Dahlia Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau is a fabulous dwarf Dahlia variety that produces amazing deep pink, almost purple flowers. Perfect as pretty cut flowers for the vase.

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Dahlia Toto

Anemone flowering Dahlias, commonly known as Powder Puff Dahlias produce unique flowers with double feathered central petals, resembling a Powder Puff.

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Dahlia Painted Lady

Bring joy to the summer garden with Dahlia Painted Lady‘s pink and crimson flecked flowers. A perfect choice for a feature plant in the border or potted up in a patio display.

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Dahlia Collarette Pooh

A truly charming Dahlia. Bright orange-red petals adorn a ring of small ruffled gold petals at their heart. A real stand out for borders or as cut flowers.

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Dahlia Honka White

A Dahlia with style. These unique cartwheel style flowers look will look like little sunny faces in the summer border.

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Dahlia Boom Boom Yellow

Silky, spherical flowers. These Pompom Dahlias brighten up the summer season with their unique, pale yellow blooms. An uplifting sight in a sunny garden.

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Dahlia Bishop of Leicester

Dark and dramatic showstoppers. These attractive pink flowers with cheery yellow centres contrast beautifully against their dark foliage.

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Our Favourite Dahlias for a Cutting Garden
Dahlia Apricot Desire
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How to plant Dahlia tubers

  • Plant dahlias on free-draining, lighter soils, where they are more likely to survive the winter.
  • Plant in a sunny or partially shaded location for best growth.
  •  Space about 60cm (2ft) apart and 10-15cm (4-6in) deep.
  •  As dahlias are tender, you’re best starting the tubers into growth in the greenhouse, then plant them in their flowering site after the frosty days are passed.

NEW SPRING 2020 CATALOGUE COMING SOON!

Our new spring 2020 catalogue has landed! Filled with our latest range of fantastic offers on spring/summer bulbs, plants and shrubs, keep an eye out for your copy in the post in January!

Not signed up for the catalogue? Click here.

How to Plant: Cannas

Are you planning your summer garden display and looking for advice on how to plant Cannas? In this handy blog guide, we will share our best knowledge and advice on how to plant Cannas in all areas of gardening from planting, arrangement to aftercare to make your gardening as simple and as easy as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cannas Mixed (Image Above)

Cannas are a fantastic addition to any summer garden. They are an excellent perennial that will add plenty of exotic style and colour to your garden displays. Their attractive dark leaf foliage with bright coloured showy flowers. They come in a range of vibrant colours from orange, red, pink and yellow which make great summer bedding as well as a part of your summer borders or patio display.

Planting

Cannas can be planted in April/May at a depth of between 7 and 10cm. They are often best started in pots and then transplanted in borders or beds towards the end of May. The best placement for them is to plant them in a sunny position, preferably out of the wind. Be sure to water during warm weather.

Tips

  • After your cannas settle in to the ground, roots and sprouts will form within a few weeks, or you can start your tubers indoors in a pot for earlier blooms as cannas need heat to keep them growing.

Video

In this gardening tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff demonstrates the best way to plant Canna corms into pots to achieve an amazing display of colour in the summer.

Aftercare

After planting, water your Cannas generously to settle the soil around the rhizomes. After blooming has finished for the season, leave the foliage in place, do not cut it off. The leaves gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year’s blooms. Remove leaves when they begin to turn. Your Cannas will rest for a few months before beginning their next cycle of growth in the Spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cannas Mixed (Image Above)

Click here to view our full Cannas range

How to Plant: Cactus Dahlias

Need help on how to plant Cactus Dahlias? In this blog, we’ve compiled a guide full of tips and advice on planting, arrangement, and aftercare for your Cactus Dahlias, to allow you to get the best performance from your plants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This special, eye-catching variety of Cactus Dahlias are distinctive by their unusual shaped summer flowers, which look fantastic planted together for  colour bursting garden displays and borders, as well as when planted as a standalone item. They can flower until Autumn and have a wide range of interesting varieties, all with very showy flower shapes and rich colour shades.

Planting

Dahlia tubers can be planted 10cm deep in fertile well drained soil, outdoors in spring when the frost has disappeared. If you plant before the frosts are over, they may get frosted and die, so pot in March or early April for flowering in early July. They prefer to be in a sunny location and spaced at approximately 45cm apart.

Tips:

  • Dahlias start blooming about 8 weeks after planting, starting in mid-July.
  • Some gardeners start tubers indoors in containers a month ahead to get a jump on the season.

Video

In this video tutorial, our resident gardener Jeff covers how to plant Cactus Dahlia tubers in to pots and shares helpful tips and advice on how to achieve the best results out of your Dahlia plants.

Aftercare

  • There’s no need to water the soil until the dahlia plants appear; in fact, overwatering can cause tubers to rot. After dahlias are established, provide a deep watering 2 to 3 times a week, preferably more in hotter, dry climates.
  • In areas where there is extreme cold, dig up dahlias and store in a cool peat over the winter and then replanted the following year.
  • Apply a high potash fertiliser every few weeks in the summer to help growth and they can be dead headed when necessary.

Click here to view our full range of Cactus Dahlias.

Plant of the Month – Dwarf Rhododendrons

Dwarf Rhododendrons

Dwarf-Rhododendrons

 

The stunning flowers of the Rhododendron have earned them a legion of fans, and quite right too! Some varieties of full size Rhododendrons will simply keep growing until they grow into giant trees, although you can prune them down, these larger varieties may not be an option in your garden.

This month we’re taking a look at some stunning dwarf varieties. The compact growth habit of these shrubs give them an outstanding formal appearance, making them ideal for small city gardens or courtyards where space is at a premium. They’re even small enough to slot nicely beneath taller shrubs in the border, or grow nicely in a rock garden.

Rhododendron Princess Anne

Rhododendron-Princess-Anne
A dwarf evergreen shrub variety with soft primrose yellow flowers which appear in spring, sitting nicely alongside the green foliage. A very reliable performer, its holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Height and spread only 50-60cm as adult plant.

 

POTM-AGM-April

Rhododendron Dwarf Collection

Dwarf-Rhododendrons
Our collection brings together Scarlet Wonder (red), Moerheim Lilac (lilac/mauve) and Pink Drift (cool-toned, light pink). A burst of colour for your border or patio, all three are exceptionally compact and manageable. These varieties produce trusses of up to three funnel shaped, vibrant flowers from April-June, against a lush background of ovate, glossy dark green leaves.

Planting

POTM-April

 

You can plant out in March/April or in October.

Prepare the ground by digging in plenty of compost, neutral or acidic organic matter, or leafmold etc. Plant so the roots are covered, not too deep and apply a good layer of mulch lightly over the surface, don’t pack it down. Re-mulch and feed with an ericaceous fertiliser each spring.

Ericaceous fertiliser? This is for plants that are not as happy in limey soils. It’s a lime-free acidic compost that was habitually made with peat – however as awareness that adding peat to soils is bad for the environment you can now easily find peat free varieties to buy.

Dwarf varieties can cope with positioning in full sun but need evenly moist, well drained soils so keep on top of watering them in the hottest part of summer. Rhododendrons like lots of water and use rain-water if you can – you should particularly avoid tap-water if you live in a hard water area. As with larger Rhododendrons they won’t do at all well subjected to frost so take care to protect them and avoid areas you know are prone to it in your garden.

Rhododendron Praecox

Rhododendron-Praecox-without-label
Technically this one will reach a mature height of 150cm, so not quite as dwarf as the varieties above but this stunning variety shouldn’t be missed out. Its one of the earliest flowering varieties, producing an abundance of rose-purple blooms as early as February and throughout March. It holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Azaleas and Rhododendrons – what’s the difference?

In truth not very much! Azaleas are a group within the Rhododendron family and they have some small differences. Rhododendrons will have ten or more stamens, while an Azalea will usually have five stamens. Rhododendrons have larger leaves and they will be paddle-shaped, Azalea have smaller, elliptical leaves. Also Rhododendrons are evergreen, whereas Azaleas can be evergreen or deciduous.