We asked you to send in your #JParkersBulbs spring photos and you did not disappoint! We had an amazing turn out this year with people sending in their entries by email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We would like to give a massive thank you to everyone who entered this year; we received so many amazing photos that narrowing them down to the final 10 was a real struggle.
So without further adieu, here are this year’s results…
1st Place Prize Winner
The top prize of a £100 J. Parker’s voucher went to this beautiful Crocus image from Isabelle C. sent to us via email.
Isabelle C – Crocus
2nd Place Prize Winners
We awarded 2 £50 J. Parker’s vouchers for our second place prize winners.
Nataliya H – Allium
One voucher went to this beautiful bee-friendly Allium photo from Nataliya H. sent to us via email.
Peter G – Daffodil
The second £50 voucher goes to this delightful daffodil shot sent in by Peter G. via email.
3rd Place Prize Winners
Our seven third prize winners each won a £25 J. Parker’s voucher and here are their beautiful entry images.
Bulbs are the epitome of nature’s talent for packaging, containing within themselves all the essentials they need to grow to provide gorgeous blooms year after year if well cared for. Your spring bulbs may be snug underground awaiting the warm weather of Spring but they need to be cared for until then. Bulbs are designed by nature to withstand cold winter temperatures. Indeed they rely on winter’s cold to trigger the biochemical process necessary to bring the bulb to flower in spring, but to help you get the best height, colour and performance out of your spring bulbs, here are some must-know tips for caring for your spring bulbs after they are planted.
During a warm winter spell, the bulb leaves may start to sprout but do not worry as the foliage and flower bulbs can withstand freezing temperatures without damage. Only when brittle stems are broken, or the weather changes are too abrupt will be when the flowers suffer.
If you wish to feed your spring bulbs, feed them at planting time or just as they begin to emerge in the spring.
In colder areas, apply a nice layer of mulch over the bulb bed once the ground temperatures have dropped.
For sprouting Daffodils, water sparingly as Daffodils do not require much care but some watering will help establishing roots.
Potted Daffodils require regular watering as the soil tends to dry out quicker.
If there is no snow cover, the bulbs will also need water throughout the winter.
Apply a low-nitrogen, high-potash (potassium) fertilizer after flowering if bulbs are not performing as desired.
Apply fertilizer after bulbs flower if your spring is long and temperate; bulbs will have a chance to use the extra nutrients to produce bigger carbohydrate stores.
In late February, remove mulches from snowdrops and crocuses so the shoots can come through.
In February and March, keep plastic milk jugs or other coverings on hand to protect the flowers of crocuses and other early bloomers against the return of severe weather.
Do not let the soil dry out. If the ground is fairly dry in the spring, make sure to water sparingly.
Water during the autumn/ winter with a water-soluble fertilizer to nourish the bulbs as they develop new roots and top growth. Your bulbs will survive without fertilizer, but providing extra nutrients encourages more flowers, larger blossoms and longer life for your bulbs.
After the tulips bulbs are planted, you need to water them thoroughly and then cover the area with a mulch of pine bark or shredded leaves to protect them.
You can build up their strength further by giving them a liquid feed every 10 to 14 days while they’re still in leaf.
After your spring bulbs have bloomed, remove spent flowers of large-flowered bulbs, such as Tulips or Daffodils, as soon as they fade.
When the season’s blooms are past, your snowdrops need to store energy for next year’s show. Allow the leaves to photosynthesize (process sunlight to produce food) until they yellow and wither, before removing the spent foliage. Trimming still-green foliage will reduce plants’ ability to nourish next year’s flowers, resulting in fewer, smaller flowers.
Six weeks after blooming is when it will be safe to mow the green leaves of any naturalized crocus and snowdrops on your lawn.
Have you completed your gardening jobs for January?
Winter is coming and to celebrate the season and the upcoming festivities filled with mulled drinks, festive foods and presents, we’ve selected our 12 favourite Christmas themes flowers to bring an extra hint of magic and sparkle to your homes.
Amaryllis is a perfect festive plant because it naturally flowers in both spring and winter. This striking Amaryllis, Amaryllis Christmas Gift, is named after it’s stunning snow-like blooms that are guaranteed to add character to your household in winter.
The amaryllis was quite revered in Victorian times and carries strong associations of pride. During the Victorian era proud women were thought to be beautiful so this was certainly a compliment to the amaryllis.
These stunning goblet shaped flowers bring one of the first bursts of colour to the garden in spring, and Crocus chrysanthus Prince Claus blooms beautiful white flowers with purple cores rising from the centre. Crocus are sometimes referred to as the ‘snow crocus’ and are viewed as the herald of spring.
Crocus have a natural insulation. Crocus plants can cope with the cold weather and occasional frosts as their leaves and petals are covered by a waxy cuticle.
This fun and festive Dahlia is the Dahlia Santa Claus; a stunning bi-coloured Dinner Plate Dahlia, the largest of all the varieties, with red and white striped blooms. A wonderful summer plant that suits all garden borders and patio pots, as well as making perfect cut flowers.
These colourful spiky flowers bloom from midsummer to first frost, when many other plants are past their best.
Starch white golblet shaped flowers with an orange throat. The RHS have given theCrocus ‘Snowbunting’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit. This beautiful crocus variety is perfect for creating a blanket of snow in rockeries or containers.
Saffron-based pigments have been found in the prehistoric paints used to depict beasts in 50,000-year-old cave art in what is today Iraq. Later, the Sumerians used saffron as an ingredient in their remedies and magical potions.
Lonicera purpusii Winter Beauty(also known as the winter flowering Honeysuckle) produces masses of creamy-white fragrant flowers in midwinter. This plant flowers reliably by Christmas year after year, with flowers lasting until early spring. Sprigs of this honeysuckle are perfect for those festive winter flower arrangements!
During Victorian era, Englishmen often planted honeysuckle in front of their houses to keep evil spirits and witches on the safe distance.
Do as the classic Christmas Carols says and “deck the halls with boughs of Holly”. A classic winter wonder, Holly Blue Angel.This shrubs shiny evergreen, blue tinted foliage producing masses of red berries in winter is a staple of Christmas plants.
The idea of decorating your home with holly for Christmas dates back to ancient Druids. They believed that the protective qualities of the plant would safe guard them against bad luck and evil spirits.
Just like cinnamon and ginger, peppermint is a staple theme of the Christmas festivities. This unique Phlox Peppermint Twistis not dissimilar from the stripes of those well-loved Christmas treats candy canes, with their prolific pink flowers with distinctive white stripes.
Phlox make great plants for wildlife, and tend to attract hummingbirds in bird gardens.
Who doesn’t love some hot chocolate in the winter time? Rose Hot Chocolate is a beautifully unique coloured Rose that produces blooms of rusty orange with velvety smoked chocolate brown, reminiscent of a delicious winter sweet treat.
Ancient Romans used roses as room decorations, and sometimes wore the flower as a necklace. It was also believed in Roman circles that anything said “under the rose” was deemed to be top secret.
The Tulip ‘Peppermint Stick has striking candy cane colours of red and white, which make ideal candidates for a christmas bouquet. As the season progresses, the flowers slowly open to produce colourful star shapes and then almost a complete white star when they fully open.
The Tulip is a classic flower of love, although it was considered more of a symbol for charity by the Victorians.
One of the first flowers of the new year, the snowdrop is one our most endearing flowers. The much loved traditional Snowdrops produce honey scented nodding flower heads with pure white outer petals surround small inner petals with green tips.
Snowdrops were named after earrings not drops of snow. In the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries women often wore dangly, white drop-shaped earrings known as ‘eardrops’ thus inspiring the flowers name. Some other common names of snowdrops are: Candlemas Bells, White Ladies and Little Sister of the Snows.
Looking for something warm up your garden like the tasty cinnamon treats at Christmas time. Our Petunia Chameletunia Cinnamon has a beautiful profusion of orange-red flowers adding that perfect amount of sweet spice to your summer gardens.
All types of petunia can be divided in 4 major groups: grandiflora, hedgiflora, multiflora and milliflora.
Need advice on planting Dwarf Tulip bulbs? We’ve compiled our gardening advice in this informative blog guide on planting, arrangement, and aftercare to help make your gardening job easier.
Tulips are one of the most popular Spring bulbs for a reason. Fantastic colours and attractive shapes make them a stunning choice for your garden displays. There are a wide variety of Greigii/Kaufmanniana or dwarf Tulips within our range, from First Price, Little Beauty, Humilis, and Scarlet Baby; all with stunning colourful blooms that would be perfect for any spring border, or even hanging basket, and their spectacular foliage produces year after year whilst requiring minimal care.
Tulips do not need to be planted until October in to December. Plant bulbs in well dug soil about 8-10cm deep and approx. 15cm apart. It is often beneficial to use a little bonemeal or super phosphate mixed in with the soil. Tulips delight during their growth in a sunny location.
In this video tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff talks us through how to plant Dwarf Rockery/Botanical Tulips, with great easy to follow advice on how to achieve a terrific spring rockery display.
After the tulips have bloomed and when leaves fade and turn brown, the bulbs can be lifted, dried, cleaned and stored in a cool place until planting time. This allows the bulb to store more food and produce flowers the following year. Tulips should not be grown in the same soil for several years, so replace with fresh soil every other year.
It’s that spooky time of the year again! Why go out and buy cauldrons, candles and pumpkins, when nature provides such bizarre and beautiful creations? To celebrate Halloween, we’ve conjured up our 13 creepiest, darkest varieties guaranteed to give your gardens a haunted makeover, along with individual facts and superstitions.
Iris pumila ‘Hokus Pokus’ is a truly magical variety producing velvety petals of deep lilac and rust atop robust, fleshy stems. These exquisitely mystical blooms are guaranteed to add a touch of intrigue to your borders.
Fact: Iris take their name from the Greek word for a rainbow, which is also the name for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris.
Superstition: Iris symbolize eloquence. Purple iris are symbolic of wisdom and compliments. Blue iris symbolize faith and hope. Yellow iris symbolize passion while white iris symbolize purity.
Tulip Black Parrot is a mysterious and elegant variety, with large flared heads draped in rich, velvety maroon-black petals. Once the flower matures and opens, their serrated appearance of the petals edges become symbolic of a parrot’s plumage.
Fact: These tulips were developed from mutations of certain varieties of late-flowering and Triumph tulips!
Superstition: Wear Tulips for prosperity and protection.
Tricyrtis ‘Dark Beauty’ adds an exotic edge to any borders with their strikingly unique bruised purple/blue spotted petals with a dusky white accent, and their tentacle-like tepals bursting from the center with their yellow and white stamens and purple anthers.
Fact: Known in England as Toad Lilies, this wonderful perennial is native to eastern Asia and the Himalayas. A wonderfully weird introduction to the garden.
Add a dramatic cloak of darkness to your gardens with Tulip ‘Queen of Night’, with deep velvety maroon flowers that give the appearance of a silky black sheen. ‘Queen of Night’ is classified as a single late tulip, meaning it has a single, rather than double row of petals and blooms in late spring.
Fact: The Queen of the Night is the closest that hybridists have come to creating a pure black tulip.
Superstition: Carrying Tulips in your pocket brings good luck.
Fronds are a soft grayish-green with an overlay of silvery hues accented by contrasting dark maroon midribs. Silvering is best for several weeks in the spring, with fronds becoming greener as hot temperatures arrive. The attractive foliage and shape of this fern provide colour, contrast and texture.
Fact: Genus name comes from Greek athyros meaning doorless in reference to the slowly opening hinged indusia (spore covers)
Also known as ‘Caucasian stonecrop’ or ‘Dragons blood’ this creeping perennial bursts to life with blood red flowers from June through to August. The large simple shaped leaves create a glossy evergreen that are thick, flattened, rounded, succulent and toothed or lobed near the tips.
Fact: In autumn, ‘Dragon’s Blood’ earns its name as the leaves turn from greenish-red to dramatic deep red!
Dark cherry red edged scarlet. Tulip Kingsblood is a striking tall, strong tulip that will bring a hit of colour to the late spring garden. Mix with dark maroons and oranges for an eye-catching combination or planted on it’s own for a bold statement.
Fact: The meaning of tulips is generally perfect love . Like many flowers, different colors of tulips also often carry their own significance. Red tulips are most strongly associated with true love.
Superstition: In Persia, Tulips are used as a ward against evil.
Add some dark glamour to your summer border with Rose Black Baccara, a striking fragrant variety of Hybrid Tea rose with petals of deepest maroon which fade to luxurious red as the plant matures. The Black Rose Bush produces large, velvety blooms and glossy foliage from its tall, statuesque stems, making it favourite cut flower of florists.
Fact: According to the Language of Flowers or floriography in the 19th Century, a black rose implies hatred, death, and despair. It can also signify rebirth or farewell for good, in certain situations.
Superstition: Rose petals falling unexpectedly without any cause is a negative omen, potentially portending death.
A bushy evergreen shrub with palmately lobed leaves, dappled with white, making it look as though it is covered in a ‘spiders web’. In autumn it produces clusters of white flowers that give way to black berries. Fruits persist on the prominent stalks for several weeks.
Fact: These evergreens are happiest in light shade, although it will still thrive where it is verging on the gloomy.
Tulip ‘Havran’ is a truly beautiful, silk-satin almost black tulip with two to three flowers to a stem, providing that elusive darkness of colour for your patios, pots and borders. Pictured along side ‘Grand Perfection’, which flames blood red on a soft yellow background. As they mature, the yellow fades and turns creamy white.
Fact: In magical traditions, tulips appear in spells and rituals aimed at love, joy, safety, success and meaningful dreams. You can carry tulips as a charm that attracts prosperity.
Superstition: There is a superstition in Holland that Pixies live in tulip beds.
Looking to add a vibrant splash of character to your spring garden displays?
This Greigii Tulip has strikingly beautiful, oriental scarlet flowers. It is highly compact, growing to a height of only 20-30cm, and flowers in spring between March/April. The inner petals are brighter, with a dark base and flecks of yellow in the centre. The spectacular, grey-green mottled purple foliage is a highlight of these tulips. These tulips are easy to grow, and create a warm welcoming addition to garden beds, borders, containers, rock gardens and make stunning cut flowers too. These Red Riding Hood tulips are excellent alongside contrasting tulips of a similar style, such as Albion Star, or beside your other red varieties.
Our Red Riding Hood bulbs come in packs of 15 and 60 and are supplied as 10cm+ bulbs. We recommend you plant around 8 to 10cm deep and approximately 15cm apart in well drained, fertile soil, and in a sunny or partially shaded location in the autumn from September to December.
In this simple how-to video tutorial, our resident gardener Jeff shows you how to plant our Red Riding Hood tulips, specifically in pots, with tips and tricks for getting the best results out of your bulbs.
Red Riding Hood tulips are fairly low maintenance plants for aftercare as they do not require pruning. After the tulips have bloomed and the leaves fade and turn brown, the bulbs can be lifted, dried, cleaned and stored in a cool place until planting time. Tulips should not be grown in the same soil for several years, so replace with fresh soil every other year.
Planting layered spring bulbs, also known as lasagne planting or double decker pots, is a great way to get a fabulous spring display or a staggered display that lasts several months and keeps delivering colour to your patio.
Getting a long lasting pot display really couldn’t be easier, and we’ve put together this guide along with a complete video tutorial from our expert Jeff Turner to show you exactly how to get the best from your spring patio displays.
All you need is a large pot, some crocks or grit for drainage, good multi-purpose compost and some quality J. Parker’s bulbs. Watch the video below to see how Jeff gets on;
The trick is to plant the larger, later flowering bulbs towards the bottom so that the small, early flowering varieties can flower first early in the season, and as they die off the next lot comes through to continue the display.
In this case we plant our Triumph Tulips first, as Tulips prefer to be planted that bit deeper. We’ve used Triumph Tulips for their tall, strong wind resistant stems and the fantastic variety of colour that goes into our Parker’s mixture.
Next add another layer of compost, and plant your next set. We’ve gone for Narcissi Tete-a-Tete, the most popular dwarf Daffodil known for its versatility and reliability. This will produce traditional golden trumpets on short stems.
The next layer was Hyacinth, specifically a bedding sized mixture for a strong display, and finally the top layer is large flowering Crocus Mixed. This will be the last planted and the first to flower, as these beautiful early spring bulbs will produce a carpet of low-growing colour.
Have you tried this at home? Let us know how you got on!
These spectacular plants, also known as Russian Sage are incredibly popular right now, and it’s easy to see why.
Producing impressive tall spires of silvery leaves topped with spikes of gorgeous, tiny, violet purple bell-shaped flowers bloom in late summer. Loved by butterflies and bees, it makes a great cut flower with its lovely scent, which is a mixture of sage and lavender. Perovskia atriplicifolia Blue Spire holds an RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Native to central Asia, Russian Sage’s natural habitat is on dry plains and they are natural sun lovers. They are deciduous shrubs which, once established, are hassle free, drought tolerant (in fact they prefer it) and need an annual pruning in spring.
Perovskia will grow well in any soils, even poor or chalky, as long as they get really good drainage, water-logging will lead to root rot. They like to be in full sun and can withstand seaside air.
Prune hard annually in early to mid-spring for a healthy plant and better flowers that year. If you don’t they will come back week and floppy and generally be an untidy mess.
Cut back previous years flowering stems to within one or two buds of the older woody framework. Remove thin, weak and damaged growth. Then mulch and feed. For the first year keep them moist but not soggy to get them established. In following years they will withstand significant neglect!
They are best planted out in autumn when dormant – if you buy one that is in leaf in the spring be sure it hasn’t been growing in a poly tunnel as it may struggle when you expose it to the elements in your garden.
Russian sage is mainly used as an ornamental plant and is pretty versatile for pairing with lots of late summer ornamental grasses and perennials. You can create a really powerful display planting near other silver leafed perennials, near a lavender bush for example, and as both are bee magnets they are a great choice for wildlife friendly gardens. Tall bright coloured perennials will also look great with it in a mixed border, for examples look at Geums, Rudbeckia and Helenium to name a few!
You can also try under-planting with spring bulbs, such as Tulips or Alliums, as they will do well at hiding the bulbs foliage as it dies off in the summer.
The many shapes and shades of the Tulip have helped to make it one of the most popular spring flowers. A familiar sight in British gardens, Tulip bulbs are so versatile that they can be planted with any other spring bulb, as well as having multiple uses in borders, patio pots and flowerbeds.
Equally useful in the garden or the vase, planting tulips in the autumn will give you a guaranteed display of vibrant colour throughout the spring.
Bedding and borders
Pots and Containers
Naturalising (some varieties – see below)
How to Plant Tulips
How to Plant Tulip Companions
How to Plant Darwin Hybrid Tulips
There are a lot of different types of Tulip to choose from, each boasting their own unique qualities.
These are dwarf growing varieties that flower prolifically in April through to early May each year. They produce massive peony-like flowers with delicate and brilliant colours which are very effective in flower beds and borders, and make a lovely cut bouquet. Double Early Tulip bulbs are supplied as top quality bulbs ready to plant in autumn and flower in spring.
Double Late Tulips flower later than most Tulip varieties, usually from late April into May. They produce giant peony shaped flowers on very sturdy stems of around 40-60cm and look spectacular when used as cut flowers. Double Late Tulips bulbs can be planted in autumn and will flower in spring. A really beautiful and unusual Tulip!
Fosteriana Tulips, also commonly known as the (Emperor Tulip) are chosen for their brilliant oriental colours and large flowers, creating a startling effect wherever planted. Sensational flowers on very stocky stems, perfect for a sunny border. Flowering in April/May every spring.
Fringed Tulips (also known as Crispa Tulips) have a very compact habit with extremely sturdy stems that produce colourful and vibrant flowers which have unusual fringed edges that give a ruffled effect. Flowering a little later than some Tulip varieties, they add colour and charm in late April into May. Height 50-70cm.
Greigii and Kaufmanniana Tulips are colourful and exciting dwarf growing botanical Tulips which grow to only 20-25cm tall, producing unusual glossy green or mottled foliage that look stunning grown in any area within the garden. Greigii and Kaufmanniana Tulips flower earlier than many other short stemmed Tulips, from as early as March onwards into April. Try planting in rows along a path, driveway or in a flower bed, where the sturdy stems and bright colours will easily catch the eye.
Lily Flowering Tulips produce spectacular Flute shaped flowers that produce gracefully reflexing flowers, all on tall and very strong stems. They are particularly useful for cut flower arrangements and look amazing as part of a flower bouquet. Also known as Fluted Tulips.
Multi-Flowered Tulips are one of the most popular and effective Tulips for flower bouquets where their amazing variations in colours, coupled with strong stems allow them to really make a statement. They produce three to six flower heads per stem offering great value for money. Praestans Tulips are a popular botanical Tulip producing 25-30cm flowers which are a great naturalising bulb that multiply profusely.
Quite possibly one of the most unique but equally splendid Tulip varieties has to be the Parrot Tulip, producing giant irregular shaped flowers with petals that resemble the feathers of a tropical Parrot. Flowering from April into May, Parrot Tulips really do produce some of the most beautiful colour shades and are excellent for bedding purposes, where they can create an exotic look and feel.
Originating back to the time of Rembrandt, when Tulips were first introduced to Holland, Rembrandt Tulips are a combination of colours used to create a flamed effect that will delight almost like a flicker of a rainbow. Modern Rembrandt Tulips bulbs are 100% virus free and produce streaky bi-coloured blooms from May onwards. Height 50cm.
Single Early Tulip bulbs are a traditional dwarf growing Tulip with a smaller habit than many varieties, but just as effective when grown in groups in a border or rockery. They are excellent for bedding and are one of the earliest of all Tulip types to flower outdoors in spring. Height 30-40cm.
There is probably no Tulip more versatile as the Single Late Tulip, commonly referred to as a Cottage Type of Tulip. Single Late Tulip bulbs produce very bright coloured large blooms on long, graceful stems. A wonderful variety grown for their beauty and attractiveness, with no cottage garden in spring being complete with some of these.
Tulip Species bulbs, also known as Dwarf Botanical Tulips, with their fascinating colours are natives of Asia Minor. These beautiful varieties are highly recommended for rockeries and borders, while also being suitable for patio containers and pots.
The Triumph Tulip is a result of a crossing between two premium varieties, Single Early and Darwin varieties. One of the largest range of Tulip varieties, Triumph or mid-season Tulips as they are known produce outstanding outstanding colours, with a very strong neat habit. A superb Tulip for planting in large groups in the border, flowerbed or also in patio container pots.
Viridiflora Tulips are one of the most elegant and stylish bi-colour Tulips on the market. Viridiflroa comes from the Latin words ‘viridis’ meaning green and ‘flos’ meaning flower. Combined together they represent the wonderful blend of colours we have come to love from this popular Tulip. Each Viridiflora Tulip bulb has a certain degree of green blended into each flower and is colourful enough to brighten even the darkest day in spring.