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: [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:

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:

5 Great Summer Plants for Shade

Finding plants that can thrive in shade can be tricky, but there are plenty of beautiful options available. Instead of you searching the internet for shaded plants, we’ve done the hard work for you and compiled a selection of our favourite shade-loving plants.

From colourful bloomers to fresh foliage, discover our top five plants to brighten up those difficult shaded corners of the summer garden.

1. Viburnum

Many Viburnums are perfect for shady spots. They’re great for wildlife, produce gorgeous flowers and fruit and make a fantastic focal point in beds and borders.

We recommend:

Snowball Tree
Viburnum Kilimanjaro

2. Hardy Fuchsias

Hardy Fuchsias are a hanging basket staple in the summertime. Their elegant drooping blooms brighten up baskets and window boxes, and thankfully, they can be planted in shade! Since they don’t like too much heat, these tender perennials can be placed in partial/full shade.

We recommend:

Fuchsia ‘Heidi Anne’
Hardy Fuchsia Mixed

3. Heucheras

These fabulous shade-tolerant beauties are some of the best-kept secrets in the garden. You can easily set a shady spot alight with colour by planting bright and beautiful Heucheras. What’s more, these foliage plants perform all year round too, making them a magnificent choice for so many spots in the garden. 

We recommend:

Heuchera sanguinea ‘Firefly’
Heuchera ‘Fire Chief’

4. Hydrangeas

Can Hydrangeas grow in shade? Absolutely. In fact, many of the most common varieties of these bright and beautiful shrubs, like mophead and lacecap, are perfect for shaded environments.

We recommend:

Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’
Hydrangea Magical ‘Revolution Blue’

5. Ferns

Ornamental foliage plants have become a big trend in modern gardens. Low maintenance and high performing, they add bring a fresh and natural look to the summer garden. Ferns thrive in the shade, so they’re the perfect plants for growing fantastic displays in pots and borders.

We recommend:

Japanese Painted Lady Fern
Hardy Fern Collection

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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How to Plant Fuchsias

Fuchsias, with their fairy-like blooms hanging from rich, green foliage have long been a popular staple in the British summer garden. In fact, the popularity of the Fuchsia is such that there is even a national society for them, The British Fuchsia Society. They are easy to grow and maintain, plus they provide brightly coloured summer to autumn displays in hanging baskets, containers or patio pots. Keep reading to discover how to plant fuchsias in our gardening guide.

How to plant Fuchsias

  1. Plant Hardy Fuchsias in spring or autumn. Other varieties should be planted once all danger of frosts has passed in early to mid spring.
  2. We recommended John Innes No2 compost when planting up your Fuchsia, avoid composts that are too peaty. In pots or baskets, three plugs will give an ample and effective display. The compost doesn’t need to be tightly compacted in your chosen container.
  3. Fuchsia do well with good drainage. If planting in a border display, space 30-40 cm apart.
  4. Once planted, water once a week. Take care to keep them moist but not waterlogged.
  5. Feed once a week. To encourage more blooms on your Fuchsia, feed with a high potash liquid feed and dead head fading flowers regularly.
  6. Fuchsia can be placed in a partially shaded or sunny location; however, they will appreciate partial shade during in the heat of the day during the summer months.
  7. It’s worth checking your Fuchsias over for pests and insects. The Fuchsia gall mite is one to keep an eye out for. Although the pest is not frequently or widely reported in the UK, the past ten years has seen this Fuchsia munching pest in gardens along the south coast and in some northern counties too. A little vigilance goes a long way in deterring the mite and harsh chemical treatments are not necessary. Simply check over your Fuchsia, remove and burn any damaged shoots, especially if they appear a yellowish-green or swollen and distorted.
  8. Prune back in spring just before new growths appear. With Hardy Fuchsia it’s best to prune back to ground level.

Types of Fuchsia:

Fuchsia are usually grouped into three categories: hardy, upright or trailing. A common trait to all types of Fuchsia is how the pendulous flower-heads will bloom with the outer petal peeling back to reveal the inner petals, formed in a bell-like shape. Often the colour or shade of the outer petals will be different the inner ones; giving the blooms their fairy-like appearance. Fuchsia come in a range of sizes and colours: pinks, purples, whites red and oranges in all manner of shades and combinations.

Hardy:

A range of bushy and, as implied, hardy varieties. Once established they can be left to the British weather all year round. However, it worth considering which part of the UK you are based in. Sub-tropical Cornwall’s Fuchsias will certainly have no issues, but it may well be worth covering up or taking more Northern based Fuchsia’s inside during frosty spells. Pinch the new shoots to encourage bushy and profuse flowering.

Upright:

Upright, Bush or climbing Fuchsias can be trained into wonderful shapes. They look particularly effective when trained over an archway. The beautiful, often pendant-shaped flowers are a delight coming in in shades of pink, white and purple. Our bedding range of Fuchsia plants includes upright varieties that are ideal for pots, containers and the summer border as well as some amazing climbing Fuchsias.

Trailing:

This variety of Fuchsia is perfect for hanging basket displays and in potted displays, trailing elegantly over hanging the edges. This type is more sensitive to frosts and should be brought in during cold weather snaps. You can even get a giant variety of trailing Fuchsia which look especially effective with their ample, larger sized pendulous flower-heads.

Climbing:

These vigorous hardy climbing Fuchsias produce abundant flowers along upright climbing stems throughout the summer through to October. With a little support they will rapidly climb up arches, fences and trellis and are ideal for large pots or containers on the patio.

How to Grow Dahlias: Summer Flower Guide

Dahlias have become a very fashionable and valuable summer flowering plant, that will work perfectly with almost all types of plants. They compliment any garden wonderfully regardless of size and can be incorporated into a border or into patio pot/container displays.

Named after the famous 18th Century botanist Anders Dahl, Dahlia plants have been around for many years and are all our Dahlias are supplied as top quality dormant tubers which can be planted straight into the place where they are bloom (their final location). Success rate from these dahlia tubers is extremely high and they are a relatively inexpensive way to create a large number of flowers from one tuber.

Benefits of Planting Dahlias:

1. They are easy to grow, and suitable for gardeners of all skill levels. They are fast growing by their nature and will flower in the first year and for many years to come (just keep them stored and frost free over the winter).

2. They 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.

Pom Pom Dahlia Mix (Jill varieties)

3. They are one of our favourite summer bulbs because of the many different types/sizes/colours available, which all look slightly different in shape, but are all equal in beauty.

4. Year after year sees many new exciting new varieties introduced which means once hooked on Dahlias, you will continually be able to find and try 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 and are great for lovers of something a little different.

Types of Dahlias to try Growing this Year

The main types of Dahlias available can be classified into a number of different categories, representing the main characteristics of the flower blooms themselves.

Dahlia Blue Bayou ®

Dahlia Cabana Banana

 

Anemone Flowering Sometimes referred to as Powder Puff Dahlias, these beauties produce unique flowers with double feathered central petals resembling a Powder Puff.

 

 

 

 

Cactus A favourite for many years, Cactus Dahlias produce fully double pointed petals which turn backwards to create a tubular petal effect. Sometimes referred to as Spiky Dahlias, they are perfect for the border.

 

Dark Leaf Dahlias Mixed

 

Dark Leaf These Dahlias are a little different in that their foliage is not the usual green colours of most varieties. They create an abundance of flowers through the summer as expected, however the blooms appear on darker (usually purple/black) foliage.

 

 

Dahlia Arabian Night

 

Decorative The largest range of large, fully double flowers with rounded petals through the summer right up until the first frosts. They produce masses of flowers for cutting purposes.

 

Dahlia Gallery Art Fair ®

Dahlia Lilac Time

 

Dwarf Gallery 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 together 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). Try these as cut flowers and be certain to draw attention.

 

 

Dahlia Boom Boom Yellow

 

Pompom Love the unusual? Then these are certainly for you. Almost spherical flowers (like balls) appear through the summer. The petals have rounded tips and are curved upwards at the edges. The flower heads are also slightly flattened towards the centre.

How to Grow Dahlia plants in pots or containers

Dinner Plate Dahlia Fleurel

A fantastic way to brighten up your patio is to introduce some Dahlias in pots/containers. The colour range is fantastic, with many unusual bi-colour varieties which will brighten up any space. Simply beautiful to sit back and look at during a warm summer afternoon. Supplied as tubers (as illustrated).

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.

When all signs of frost have passed they are ready to pot up, giving plenty of time to get well established before the summer.

Dahlia-Tuber
Tubers as supplied

2. 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. Fill in some compost and then add the tuber with the growing tip facing upwards. 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.

3. Water well after potting and then keep compost moist but not waterlogged as tubers will rot. You can add a liquid feed weekly during the growing season and provide some protection from slugs as they really love Dahlias.

4. If growing tall varieties, insert a cane to help with growth and to keep secure.

5. Little pruning is needed on Dahlias, however you can deadhead as flowers begin to fade.

Dahlia Planting Tutorials

Dwarf Gallery Dahlias

Decorative Dinnerplate Dahlias

Cactus Dahlias

Bishop Dahlias

Click HERE to view our full Dahlia range!