Summer Garden Make-Over Competition Winner

Another competition has flown by and given us the opportunity to learn more about our valuable customers. What we love the most about our competitions is understanding the reason why gardening is such a beloved hobby. But more importantly, how we can help spread that love with people. Without further ado, we are pleased to announce the winner of our Summer Garden Make-Over Competition…

Nick Robson

Nick Robson was lovingly nominated by his wife Annemarie, who highlighted his local tree planting group and dedication to the preservation of nature. In between creating a bee and butterfly garden, Nick has also spent this lockdown redoing the family home and landscaping. We hope this mystery summer bedding and basket collection can help towards the new beds he has created!

Other Entries

We received so many amazing and inspiring entries that we want to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who shared their stories. From health care workers who need a moment of respite, and those suffering from mental health. It is truly eye-opening to see how gardening can reach people. All of your stories touched our hearts and we only hope that you continue nurturing both yourself and your garden.

There will be more J Parkers competition coming up, giving you even more opportunities to win the garden of your dreams.

Stay up to date with J Parkers:

When is too late to plant summer flowering plants?

Summer is finally upon us and it’s not too late to start on that garden! Planting and maintenance are hard work, and not everyone has the time to meticulously plan for their summer flowering garden. Or even the knowledge of when to start it!

In the world of gardening there are two primary seasons to start planting – spring and autumn. For spring, we plant bulbs like gladioli that will eventually blossom in summer. For autumn, we plant bulbs such as daffodils that will bloom in spring. However, there is still a prime time for planting during summer that will allow your gardens to thrive well into late autumn so you don’t miss out on having a spectacular display.

Garden Ready Plug Plants

Garden Ready Plug Plants are exactly what they sound like, easy to grow UK grown plugs that are ready for your garden! These plugs establish quickly when planted straight into their final location in garden borders, hanging baskets or patio pots and will have your garden looking like a top notch display in no time.

Aster Asteroids Mixed (Garden Ready)
Cosmos Apollo Lovesong (Garden Ready)

Sedums

With their succulent-like foliage, these plants thrive in this hot and dry weather. They also make great pollinators for bees! Sedums are easy to grow and their fast-growing ability is an excellent choice for ground cover. Their benefits even surpass peak season as in winter if the flowers are left alone, they’ll continue to look attractive.

Sedum Spurium Summer Glory
Sedum Sunsparkler Wildfire

Hydrangea arborescens

These plants are a real treat! Boasting huge domes of pretty flowers that are dotted across the light-green leaves, these plants can truly steal the show of any garden border. They can even be grown in a large container. These versatile flowers can be cut and dried for an impressive long-lasting indoor display.

Hydrangea arborescens Annabelle
Hydrangea arborescens ‘Pink Annabelle’

Petunia and Surfinia

Petunias and Surfinias are two of the most popular varieties of bedding and hanging basket plants available and it’s no secret as to why! They come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colours making them versatile enough to fit in with any garden and add a dash of summertime flare.

Surfinia Trailing Double Flowering Mixed
Petunia Climbing Tidal Wave (Garden Ready)

Don’t miss out on the action – check out our recent blogs:

Summer Garden Make-Over Competition

The sun is out and the weather is hot, which means it’s time to for our Summer Garden Make-Over Competition! We are giving you the chance to win a large selection of some of our best plants for your garden. Let us help you make your garden main event this summer. Dust off your decking and break out the BBQ, let US get the garden!

What you win

  • Mystery mega Summer Bedding & Basket collection!

How to enter

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

“Why should you win our Summer Garden Makeover?”

Please send your answers to us via email at: competition@jparkers.co.uk(Remember to please keep your entries under 5mb to ensure we receive them).

When does the competition end?

Get your answers to us by June 26th to be within a chance of winning. The winner will be announced the following Monday.

T&Cs

  • The winning entry will receive a mystery collection of summer bedding and hanging basket collections.
  • 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, should they be successful, their story 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 winnings cannot be exchanged for cash and there is no substitution for this prize.
  • Competition closes 26th June 2021.
  • The winner will be contacted and announced 28th June 2021.

Check out what else we’ve got going on:

How to plant Summer Flowering Bulbs

This guide on how to plant Summer Flowering bulbs will have your garden blooming right on time for the upcoming season. Planting bulbs is a super easy way to make your garden ready for summer. Whether you are aiming to show off some beautiful boarders or create a dynamic display with pots, this guide will show you how!

The best time to plant your Summer Flowering bulbs is during the season before – Spring. Summer bulbs need warm weather and warm soil to grow which makes April and May the best time to start planting if you want your flowers to bloom on time.

Step 1: Check the size

To ensure that your bulbs grow correctly it is important that you make sure you know the size of the bulb. As they need to be planted at two to three times their depth, ensure you dig a hole wide enough and deep enough for the bulb to fit.

Step 2: Spacing

When figuring out how to lay out your garden, ensure that the bulbs are spaced out at least twice the bulbs own width apart. Then place the bulbs in the hole with the tip or shoot facing upwards towards the sky. Replace the soil and firm. Be careful not to tread too heavily as this could damage the bulbs.

Step 3: Water

Water your plants straight after planting. Then make sure they are watered regularly, but allow the soil to dry in between watering.

Step 3: In the green

Don’t forget about those boarders! Remember to plant your pot-grown bulbs in the desired boarder position for them to flower. Make sure the hole is the same depth as before but deep and wide enough to allow the roots to spread.

Tips:

  • As most bulbs are acquired and planted when dry and dormant, plant them as soon as possible. If left in storage too long they may flower poorly.
  • Regularly check that the bulbs are healthy and be on watch for any pests including slugs, snails and squirrels. Also, keep the area weed-free to ensure your plants are taking in as much nutrients as possible.
  • For a display: plant in groups of at least six to create a wonderful display. The more plants the better!

Check out some of our other blogs:

Our Complete Guide To Planting Dahlia Tubers

Dahlias are an ever-popular choice for many a summer garden. Their easy-to-grow tubers produce phenomenal displays of colour and texture in a range of styles throughout the season. However, if you’re new to gardening, you may be wondering how to plant these beauties.

Planting dahlia tubers is a straight forward process, perfect for those with less experience. With their beauty and effortless maintenance, it’s easy to see why they’re a horticultural favourite.

Why Choose Dahlias?

  1. Dahlias are easy to grow and suitable for gardeners of all skill levels. These blooms are fast-growing by nature and will flower in the first year and for many years to come (keep them stored and frost-free over the winter).
  2. Dahlia tubers are versatile and will tolerate most types of well-drained, fertile soil or compost. They can be grown successfully in pots, tubs, window boxes and in borders.
  3. They are a firm favourite due to the many different types, sizes, and colours available on the market.
  4. New varieties are created each year. Once you’re hooked on Dahlias, you will always be able to find something new.
  5. They flower continuously through the summer, right up until the first frost of the autumn.
  6. They look fantastic as cut flowers, making any display a memorable one.

Varieties

Before we move onto planting dahlia tubers, here are the main types of Dahlias. Each variety can be classified into several different categories, representing the main characteristics of the flower blooms themselves.

Anemone Flowering – Also known as Powder Puff Dahlias, these beauties produce unique flowers with double feathered central petals resembling a fluffy ball.

Cactus – A favourite for many years, Cactus Dahlias produce fully double pointed petals which turn backwards to create a tubular petal effect. Are sometimes referred to as Spiky Dahlias.

Dark Leaf – As the name suggests, the foliage on this variety is not the usual bright green that you see on your average Dahlia. They create an abundance of flowers through the summer, with each bloom appearing on darker (usually purple/black) foliage.

Decorative – Produces large, fully double flowers with rounded petals through the summer right up until the first frosts. A perfect choice for cut flower displays.

Dwarf – A range of smaller, more petite Dahlias which are perfect for the front of the border. They are prolific flowering varieties, look also great planted mixed in pots on the patio.

Dinner Plate – As the name suggests these are the largest flowers within the range, often up to as much as 25cm in diameter (see illustration below). Another popular choice as cut flowers.

Pompom – Love the unusual? Pompom Dahlias produce ball-shaped blooms that appear through the summer. Each petal has rounded tips and are curved upwards at the edges, and are available in plenty of colours.

Planting Dahlia Tubers

All our Dahlias are supplied as top quality dormant tubers which can be planted as soon as you receive them. The success rate from these dahlia tubers is extremely high. They are also an inexpensive way to create a large number of flowers from one plant.

Dahlia tubers should 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 the summer to help growth and they can be dead headed when necessary.

Planting Dahlia tubers in Pots & Containers

Planting Dahlias in pots and containers is a fantastic way of brightening up your patios. Their unique colours and shapes will brighten any space, a perfect choice for gardens with less space to play with.

  1. Once your tubers arrive safely in the post, they can be soaked overnight in a bucket of water to soak up as much moisture as possible.
  2. When all signs of frost have passed they are ready to pot up, leaving plenty of time to grow a well-established root before the summer.
  3. It is recommended to place some pebbles at the bottom of the pots before adding the compost to help with drainage, by ensuring the compost doesn’t block the drainage holes.
  4. Fill in some compost and then add the tuber with the growing tip facing upwards.
  5. Continue to fill in the rest of the compost to firmly hold the tuber, making sure the growing tip at the top is peeping out and is not completely covered. This is now ready to be moved to the patio or garden area, with access to as much sun as possible.
  6. Water well after potting, keeping the compost moist but not waterlogged, as the tubers will rot. Add a liquid feed weekly during the growing season and provide some protection from slugs as they have a strong love for Dahlias.
  7. If growing tall varieties, insert a cane to help with growth and to keep secure.
  8. Very little pruning is needed with Dahlias. However, you can deadhead as flowers begin to fade.

More Dahlia Tutorials

Dinner Plate Dahlias

Dwarf Gallery Dahlias

Cactus Dahlias

Bishop Dahlias

Drought Resistant Plants for Your Garden

Agapanthus flowers

Do you find watering the summer garden time consuming? With British summers getting hotter and drier, drought tolerant plants are the answer to growing a beautiful garden that can withstand the summer heat.

What are drought resistant plants?

Drought tolerant plants are specific varieties that are suitable for planting in dry conditions. They are perfect for planting in bright, sunny spots in the garden. Many drought tolerant plants have silver or grey-green leaves, their light leaf colour reflecting the harsh rays of the sun. Some have a coating of fine hairs on their leaves or stems, helping to trap moisture around the plant tissues.

Check out our favourite drought tolerant plants that will best adapt to the prolonged dry season.

Our recommendations:

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’
Hydrangea ‘Vanilla Fraise’
Echinacea ‘Hot Summer’
Echinacea ‘Pink Double Delight’
Sedum ‘Kamtschaticum’
Sedum ‘Summer Glory’
Salvia Nemerosa ‘Rose Queen’
Salvia Nemerosa ‘White’
Euphorbia Ascot ‘Rainbow’
Euphorbia ‘Bonfire’

Check out some of our other blogs:

How to Grow a Sensory Garden

Growing a sensory garden is simple way to create a space that’s not only amazing to look at, but great for mental well being. In our blog post, we’ll share what a sensory garden is and which plants we recommend to start off your very own sensory garden.

What is a sensory garden?

Sensory gardens should be filled with plants that activate all our senses; touch, smell, sound, sight and taste. To create a sensory space, focus on:

  • Scents that fill the air: Daphne, Philadelphus and Honeysuckle
  • Plants you can smell up close: Hyacinths and Muscari
  • Plants that make sound in the wind: Grasses and Bamboo
  • Plants that add texture: Eremurus, Gypsophila and Wisteria
  • Plants you can taste: Edible aromatic plants like Wild Garlic

Our Sensory Garden Starter Pack:

We’ve selected our special sensory favourites from our online range to start off your sensory garden journey.

Muscari ‘Cupido’

Easy to grow and versatile spring plants. Enjoy the lovely fragrance of these pale blue, pea-like flowers in patio pots or around trees and shrubs.

Hyacinth ‘Miss Saigon’

A vibrant, showstopping Hyacinth. These bold purple blooms are perfect for adding fragrance along borders or pathways.

Allium ‘Summer Drummer’

A popular plant at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. These tall, highly fragrant Alliums are perfect for the back of the border.

Eremurus ‘White Beauty’

A dazzling white bloomer that adds height and texture to the garden. These award-winning, long-flowering beauties are perfect for the summer garden.

Daphne ‘Eternal Fragrance’

A creamy white Daphne. Their sweet scent is not to be missed when being carried in the breeze on a warm summers day.  Perfect for patio pots.

Wisteria ‘Prolific’

A show-stopping climber. If you want to add, texture, scent and movement to the garden, this vibrant purple Wisteria does it all.

Check out some of our other blogs:

Our Hanging Basket Favourites

Bursting with colourful flowers or vibrant foliage, hanging baskets are the perfect addition to any garden, big or small. With so many plant options for hanging baskets, it can be tough to know where to start, so we’ve made things simple.

From cascading fruit to hardy flowers, discover our hanging basket favourites to fill your outdoor space with life this summer.

Begonia ‘Funky Pink’

Think pink with this strikingly unique Begonia. Easy to grow and weather tolerant, these large double blooms are a great basket choice.

Strawberry ‘Malling Centenary’

Try growing your own in hanging baskets with this delicious, trailing strawberry. A perfect plant for beginner gardeners!

Surfinia ‘Blue’

Surfinias are one of the most popular kids on the block when it comes to basket plants. Add a burst of freshness with this beautiful blue variety.

Bidens ‘Goldita’

A burst of summertime sunshine! This trailing Biden blooms with cheery yellow flowers that stand out in any outdoor space.

Harts Tongue Fern

Feeling foliage? This award-winning Fern is easy to grow and dazzles with it’s glossy green foliage. A year-round beauty for the garden.

Begonia ‘Apricot Shades’

A summer staple. This shimmering Begonia blooms with cascading flowers in an array of apricot, amber and lemon shades. Great for shade.

Hanging Basket Mix

Having trouble choosing plants? Our sensational mix of assorted basket plants are perfect for beginner gardeners or those that simply can’t decide.

Pre-Planted Fuchsia Basket

Bright, bold and beautiful. Easy to grow and to maintain, grab this stunning mix of Fuchsias in one of our rustic ratten baskets.

Summer Garden Essentials

With Spring upon us and summer on the way, plan a spectacular garden with our list of essential summer garden plants. From colourful, pollinator-friendly blooms to gorgeous leafy foliage plants, discover our top choices for transforming any space into a nature haven in the summertime.

Essential Container Plants

Container plants are so versatile, add a flash of colour to patios, create a focal point in the garden and they’re perfect for smaller spaces; the possibilities are endless. Here are our favourite compact plants for summer pots:

Geraniums

Noted for their fragrant, bright flowers, Geraniums have become increasingly popular in the summer garden. Versatile and long-flowering, our Patio Geraniums are perfect for summer pots.

Dahlias

With a rich assortment of flower colours, shapes and sizes, along with their amazing bloom time, are what makes Dahlias a staple of the summer garden. Our Dwarf Dahlia range are ideal for patio pots or the front of the border.

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas in pots and containers bring a burst of elegant beauty to any corner of the garden. Their compact floral clusters make an impressive display in containers.

Essential Border Plants

Planning a border is one of the most exciting aspects of gardening, where you can truly let your creativity flow. We’ve selected our favourites plants that are guaranteed to add colour, texture and character to the summer border.

Hostas

Create a border full of natural beauty with Hostas. These amazing perennials are easy to grow and are perfect for shaded borders.

Petunias

One of the most popular and easy to grow summer bedding plants. These prolific bloomers are superb way of introducing fun and bright colours to your beds and borders.

Carex

These evergreen grasses bring height and texture to the border. These easy to care for plants are great for softening harsh landscapes and adding a contrast against summer blooms.

Essential Basket Plants

Hanging baskets, with their colourful flowers and lush plants, add an extra dimension to houses, patios and garden walls. From bringing bees and butterflies flocking to the garden, to adding a burst of colour for small spaces, here are our top hanging basket varieties.

Fuchsias

Blooming non-stop from early summer to autumn, Fuchsias are great for attracting pollinators and look amazing in baskets. With a colourful assortment of shades and sizes to choose from, the options are endless.

Begonias

A traditional garden favourite. Trailing Begonias will give endless months of bright colour and look especially eye-catching in hanging baskets. Easy to grow and long-flowering bloomers.

Million Bells

Fill your summer garden with the cascading blooms of beautiful Million Bells. With a rainbow of colours to choose from, add a dose of vibrancy to the summer garden with these prolific-flowering plants.

Must-Have Flowers for 2020

Get Ahead: Plan your Summer Bulb Displays Now

With the new year approaching we can look forward to warmer weather and new growth appearing in our gardens, and now is the perfect time to be thinking of your summer display. Summer-flowering bulbs add an injection of colour to any garden and make for eye-catching borders and displays. Whilst often planted out in spring, many bulbs are suited to being planted as early as February. Be one step ahead and take inspiration from our selection below of Must-Have Flowers for 2020!

Summer Flower Top-Picks:

Lilies

Lilies add a touch of the exotic to the garden, and their large, brightly coloured heads are bound to attract the eye. These flowers are a striking addition to pots and borders and provide a beautiful scent. Planting time is December to April.

Lily Mona Lisa

This Dwarf Oriental Lily is a must for fronts of garden borders, or perfect in a patio pot or container. With a wonderful fragrance, these lilies would also make a lovely cut flower arrangement.

Click here to view online.

 

Lily Red Twin

Our Double Flowering Asiatic Lily produces an abundance of vibrant deep red-orange flowers, and is sure to liven up any display or border.

Click here to view online.

 

Lily Butter Pixie

The bright zesty petals of this Dwarf Asiatic Lily contrast splendidly with its glossy dark leaves, and is a refreshing addition to front of border displays.

Click here to view online.

 

Begonia

Begonias are extremely popular for their versatility and reliability. From hanging baskets and window boxes to borders and pots, these colourful favourites are a  centerpiece in the garden. Planting time is from February onwards.

Begonia Richard GaLLE

Begonia Multiflora Richard Galle produces clusters of apricot-orange flowers with hints of yellow. They have a fantastic flowering period from June right through to October.

Click here to view online.

 

Begonia Double Pink

Our Begonia Double Pink has spectacularly large bright pink blooms which can reach a diameter of 15cm. The tubers can be lifted, stored, and replanted the following year making them great value.

Click here to view online.

Begonia Fancy Frills Yellow 

Begonia Fancy Frills is a sunshine yellow Fimbriata Begonia with bright ruffled petals. This flower is sure to bring sun to any garden.

Click here to view online.

Gladioli

Gladioli are a classic flower which have added excitement to summer displays for generations. Available in an array of bright and bold colours, they are often referred to as the ‘sword lily’ for their blade-shaped foliage. Planting time is early March to May.

Gladioli Video

The Gladioli Video yields elegant lavender-pink petals from tall flower spikes, reaching a mature height of 90cm. Perfect for adding height to borders.

Click here to view online.

 

 

Gladioli Cha Cha

Our Gladioli Cha Cha has beautiful butter yellow flowers which are sure to brighten up any border or summer display.

Click here to view online.

 

 

 

Gladioli Espresso

The Gladioli Espresso produces striking velvety-red flowers with contrasting white stamens. This large, vibrant flower will bring excitement to any garden this summer.

Click here to view online.

Eucomis

Eucomis descend from South Africa and have an unusual pineapple shape. Their long-lasting flowers and attractive foliage are an exotic feature point of borders, pots and flowerbeds. Planting time is from February, if into pots and containers.

Eucomis Sparkling Rosy

The Eucomis Sparkling Rosy gives deep maroon flowers in summer and follows with delicate pale pink star-shaped flowers, nestled between glossy green foliage.

Click here to view online.

 

 

 

Eucomis Bicolour

This Eucomis Bicolour most lives up to the name of ‘pineapple lily, as it’s flowers bear a striking resemblance to the fruit. It’s petals are pale green an edged with maroon.

Click here to view online.

 

 

Eucomis Autmnalis Alba

Our Eucomis Autumnalis Alba produces white flower spikes with a bright green tuft, atop broad, wavy edged leaves.

Click here to view online.

 

 

Bulb Planting: A Guide

The general rule for planting bulbs is to dig deeper than the obvious. The usual guide is two to three times the depth of the bulb itself, however you will do less harm by planting too deep than too shallow. The other general rule is that bulbs need good drainage. The best way to achieve this is to mix grit into the general area or container of planting.

Many summer bulbs are ideal for growing in patio containers, especially tender species. These can then be lifted in winter and stored.

Step by Step:

Planting in borders:

  • Dig a hole wide and deep enough for your bulbs. Most bulbs require planting in a hole two to three times their depth.
  • Place the bulbs in the hole with their shoot facing upwards. Space them at least twice the bulb’s own width apart.
  • Replace the soil and gently firm. Avoid treading on the soil as this can damage the bulbs.

Planting in containers:

  • Dig a hole three times the bub depth, and plant the bulbs one width apart.
  • Water bulbs once after planting then regularly when in active growth. Reduce watering once the leaves die down through the dormant season.
  • If you bring pots of hardy bulbs indoors for flowering, put them in a sheltered spot outside as soon as flowering is over.

Looking for more information on planting our bulbs? Below you can find a selection of videos from our resident plant expert Jeff Turner explaining how best to plant your Summer Bulbs.

How to Plant Eucomis (Pineapple Lily): Summer Garden Guide
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