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.

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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: [email protected](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 [email protected] (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 Calla Lilies


Zantedeschia, often known as Calla lilies, are popular exotic-looking plants that are native to South Africa. If you’re new to gardening, or would like to learn how to plant Zantedeschia, you’ve come to the right place! This handy guide includes everything you need to know about planting and caring for Zantedeschia (Calla Lilies).

How to Plant Zantedeschia

Learning how to plant Zantedeschia is as easy as pie! They like moist, well-drained soil and prefer to be planted closer to the surface. Where possible, plant them in a sunnier location. As a native to Africa, they will appreciate it!

Plant the tubers shallow, so the top of the tubers are slightly exposed. Water freely and apply a balanced fertiliser every two weeks until the flowers have faded. Keep slightly moist in winter.

Each tuber will produce several stems, perfect for creating cut flowers. Brighten up any room with a delightful bouquet or surprise your friends and family with a bunch of these stunning flowers.

Getting the most from your tubers


Calla Lilies can be lifted after flowering and stored throughout winter, allowing you to plant them again in spring. Simply dig them up once they have died back. The best time for this is usually in autumn, around the time the first frosts are beginning to set in. Dust off the soil and place them somewhere cool and dry on some old newspaper for several days to allow them to dry off. They can then be stored in a dark, dry area and a cool spot in some peat moss over the winter.

Once spring arrives again and the temperatures turn mild, you can replant your Calla Lilies for a gorgeous show throughout the season!

Some of our Favourites

Zantedeschia Cantor (Calla Lily)

A very popular variety for contemporary flower arrangements, exotic Zantedeschia Cantor boasts deep purple blooms.

Zantedeschia Lipstick (Calla Lily)

The Calla Lipstick presents gentle cream spadices, surrounded by contrasting vivid pink spathes.

Zantedeschia aethiopica (Calla Lily)

Zantedeschia aethiopica is a wonderful Calla Lily, also known as the White Arum Lily. This premium variety looks superb grown in groups within the flower bed and border.

Shop our full range of Zantedeschia (Calla Lilies) on our website now.

Read more from J Parker’s

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

New Gladioli for Summer 2021

Native to the Mediterranean and prized for their majestic flower spikes, Gladiolus (Sword-Lilies) are one of the most treasured flowers in the summer garden. Whether used in borders, containers or as cut flowers, these easy to grow blooms always provide a spectacular effect. Blooming in late-spring to early summer, these beauties can grow up to 2-3 feet tall. Discover the new additions to our Gladioli range for your 2021 garden.

Gladioli Amber Mystique

A striking, bi-coloured plants. Gladiolus ‘Amber Mystique’ is a creamy white Gladioli with contrasting lilac throats. Ideal for planting in summer borders.

Gladiolus Circus Club

A sight for sore eyes, with white backgrounds, purple edging, yellow centres and maroon eyes. While taking little space to grow, they combine so well with other plants. They make striking cut flowers too.

Gladiolus Fergie

Add a whimsical finish to your summer borders with gladiolus ‘fergie’. Ideal for borders and pots. Their vivid lime-green flowers will bring an exotic look to garden displays.

Gladiolus June

Warm up your summer garden with the sunny gladiolus ‘June’. June is a delightful orange and yellow butterfly Gladioli variety; guaranteed to brighten up any garden.

Gladiolus Nanus Nathalie

Nathalie is an elegant light pink nanus gladiolus. Their pretty pink petals contrast against the deep throat markings. This ever popular variety looks perfect planted in groups, and they also make beautiful cut flowers.

Click the image below to browse our full range of Gladioli bulbs. Available to pre-order now for delivery from mid-January.

Check out some of our other blogs:

When to plant summer-flowering bulbs

Gladiolus

With one planting season over, it’s time to start looking forward to the next one. Spring planting season may seem far away, but it is never too early to start planning your beautiful garden displays. Get ahead and start planning for summer by learning when to plant summer-flowering bulbs.

When to plant bulbs

The optimal time for planting your favourite summer-flowering beauties is in the spring, between march and may. Early spring is the perfect time to start planting again when after all danger of frost has passed, and the soil has warmed up again.

Our favourite bulbs for summer 2021:

Check out some of our other blogs:

5 Essential Summer Gardening Tips

The sun is out, spring flowers are at their peak, and summer is on its way! With June just around the corner, learn how to keep your garden looking beautiful all-season long with our top 5 essential summer gardening tips.

1. Watch the Weeds!

Weeds can be inevitable, even in the most well-kept gardens. As the weather gets warmer, the weeds come out, but there are ways of deterring them from growing in your garden. We recommend:

  • Applying mulch
  • Weed after it rains when the soil is moist
  • Cultivating

2. Fertilise

There are many types of fertiliser on the market, so make sure to find a fertiliser will work best in your garden. The healthiest gardens use some type of fertiliser because most soil does not provide an adequate amount of nutrients to plants and flowers. A mid-summer application to boost the colour and condition during the hottest months

3. Watering Schedule

The very best time to water plants is in the early morning or late evening, while it is still cool. This will allow the water to run down into the soil and reach the roots of the plant without too much excess water lost to evaporation.

4. Pruning Shrubs

Early summer is the time to prune many of the spring-flowering shrubs such as Philadelphus and Weigela. Prune off growth that has just finished flowering down to an outward facing bud, along with any damaged or crossing branches within the shrub, which should be removed either to suitable growth or completely. 

5. Finish Planting Annual Bedding Plants

If you didn’t have time to plant out your tender bedding plants in May, there’s still time to get them into the ground or their new containers as soon as you can in June. Make sure to place them in good light, so they do not become drawn and spindly in the shade.

Throughout summer, regular deadheading will keep them looking fresh and neat and you will quickly realise what brilliant value for money bedding plants are.Have a happy, flower-filled summer.

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.

Beautiful Summer Flower Companions

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

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

Crocosmia and Agapanthus

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

Crocosmia ‘Sunglow’
Agapanthus ‘Back in Black’

Echinacea and Rudbeckia

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

Echinacea ‘Hot Papaya’
Rudbeckia ‘Little Goldstar’

Salvia and Verbena

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

Salvia ‘Gigantimo Bluestripe’
Verbena ‘Pink Spires’

Dahlias and Hemerocallis

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

Dahlia ‘Great Silence’
Hemerocallis ‘Double Dream’

Monarda and Geraniums

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

Monarda ‘Blaustrumpf’
Geranium ‘Rozanne’