10 Drought Tolerant Plants to Beat the Summer Heat

With our increasingly hotter summers, climate change presents us with the challenge of gardening with less water. However, there is a considerable range of plants that can tolerate dry conditions. These drought-tolerant plants are the perfect choice for sunny spots in your garden.

1. Nepeta

Nepeta are a reliable perennial, very hardy and tolerant of all conditions and it returns reliably each year. They are very effective even in dry and drought areas, so they are useful for even the most difficult spots in the garden.

Nepeta Six Hills Giant

This vigorous perennial produces clusters of aromatic, small lavender blue flowers. This variety is a perfect addition to borders and edging beds, as well as attracting bees and butterflies to the summer garden. With a grey-green foliage and masses of flowers, this Nepeta adds a lovely, soft, gentle touch to cottage gardens.

2. Mimosa

The very hardy and heat-loving Mimosa is ideal wherever a full, dense canopy is desired during the summer months. Native to Southeastern Australia and then widely introduced to the Mediterranean , these plants are no stranger to higher, tropical temperatures.

Mimosa Acacia

The beautiful feathered foliage of the Mimosa Acacia will delight in the spring time, with their masses of fragrant yellow flowers. Create a statement display in your garden by planting this variety in patio container, but equally they are suited at the back of a border.

 

3. Sedum

Sedums are superb drought-resistant succulents that produce domes of star-shaped flowers in the summer and autumn seasons. Sedums have evolved to live in exposed conditions, where soil is very well-drained and sun and wind dry everything out quickly, so over the centuries, they have developed some inbuilt coping mechanisms such as fleshy, water-storing leaves and stems.

Sedum Hot Stuff

This striking Sedum produces large bursts of vibrant pink flowers that are wildly-loved by butterflies and bees. This strong, compact forming plant makes a great border addition or make a bigger impact by planting in groups so they will really stand out in the late summer garden.

4. Lavender

A native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, it’s no wonder that Lavender makes a great drought-tolerant addition to the garden. It can be used as a low hedge, specimen plant, or even a cut flower, and will add a beautiful fragrance to the garden.

Dwarf Lavender Munstead

This compact evergreen shrub blooms with spikes of small, highly fragrant, blue-purple flowers in mid to late summer. Plant en masse to produce ground cover, low screening, or in lines to create a great border effect.

5. Campsis Radicans

Also known as Trumpet Vines, these hardy plants are fast climbers that grow well even in poor soil and full sunlight, and the blossoms attract hummingbirds too. Campsis Radicans can live for decades and although they die back in the winter, they’re quick to spring back to life in the spring.

Campsis radicans

Blooming with clusters of showy, exotic warm red trumpet-shaped blooms, this self-clinging climber is ideal for a sunny wall or fence. These beautiful tropical flowers are marked with deep red insides appear above long, coarsely toothed, glossy dark green leaves with pointed tips and distinctive veining.

6. Ceanothus

Ceanothus, commonly known as California Lilac, are very drought tolerant shrubs and offer almost everything that a gardener could wish for in a shrub. They are free-flowering, drought tolerant, easy to cultivate and grow in most soils.

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var repens

Beautiful in its simplicity, this fantastic award-winning shrub delights in the summer garden. Its rich glossy leaves nestle amongst sky blue florescence comprising of densely compact panicles that burst into bloom like tiny fireworks in spring and early summer. This evergreen variety looks beautiful in patio pots, or against a wall.

 

7. Jasmine

Jasmine provide more than delicate tendrils and sweet perfume, they create substance, structure and colourful blooms to the garden. This genus of shrubs and vines contains around 200 species, native to tropical and warm temperate regions and a number of species have become naturalised in Mediterranean Europe.

Trachelospermum jasminoides (Jasmine)

This highly fragrant, vigorous climber produces clusters of beautiful star-shaped white flowers, which bloom from June throughout the summer months. This is a perfect climber for growing against a warm, sunny wall. Jasmine flowers are ideal for perfuming the air with their sweet fragrance in the summer garden.

8. Verbena

Native to the American Tropics, Verbena plants are beautiful examples of drought-tolerant plants. These popular perennials produce rich nectar, so butterflies and bees also love them.

Verbena bonariensis

Elegant and long lasting. This bestselling Verbena variety produces masses of small purple flowers in clusters. With a good pest resistance, this fantastic border plant will delight in the summer garden, flowering from June to October. They also will make a great addition to cut flower displays.

9. Russian Sage

One of the toughest plants that needs little care. Russian Sage loves direct sun, tolerates almost any soil and is extremely drought tolerant. Its fine texture makes Russian Sage a good choice if you’re seeking contrast with plants exhibiting a coarser texture.

Perovskia atriplicifolia Blue Spire

Native to central Asia, Russian Sage’s natural habitat is on dry plains. This variety produces highly scented silver leaves that are topped with spikes of gorgeous, tiny violet purple bell-shaped flowers in late summer. The impressive flowers and foliage look amazing planted in a border or patio pot in the summer garden.

10. Agapanthus

Agapanthus are some of the most beautiful and reliable summer plants you can grow. Once established, Agapanthus are tough enough to withstand dry spells without stressing. Originating from the cliffs of South Africa, they naturally enjoy lots of sunshine and are naturally resistant to wind.

Agapanthus Melbourne

This stunning bi-colour variety blooms in the summer with purple buds that open to reveal white flowers with a lilac purple stripe through each petal. Also known as the African Lily, these plants are drought tolerant and enjoy plenty of sunlight.

 

 

 

Summer Plant Care Tips

 

Spring Photo Competition Winners 2019

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.

Our Favourite Entries From Previous Years…

« 1 of 2 »

Get started on your 2020 displays and Pre-order your Spring Flowering Bulbs here!

Pollinators Month – Top 10 Wildlife Shrubs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#NationalPollinatorsMonth in June encourages the planting pollinator-friendly gardens with pollen and nectar-producing plants. When these gardens bloom, they attract bees, birds, bats, and other natural pollinators.

Woody shrubs provide food, shelter and breeding spaces for our wildlife. Nesting birds and hibernating insects make their homes in them and insects like butterflies use them as natural windbreaks. We have some great recommendations for shrubs that can make great habitats for wildlife in your garden.

Pyracantha

Pyracantha Orange Glow

Winning the RHS Garden Merit Award, Orange Glow is a sturdy evergreen shrub that produces spring blossoms and bright orange berries in the summer. This shrub provides nesting for birds and an abundant source of pollen and food for bees.

 

Viburnum

Viburnum Opulus Roseum (Snowball Tree)

This vigorous deciduous shrub is smothered with large, fragrant, pompom-like clusters of white or pale green tinted flowers every May and June. Purple foliage appears autumn when vibrant red berries, which provide an excellent food source for the birds.

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle Belgica

A true ‘wildlife hotel’. Bring a profusion of vibrant colour to the summer garden with the Honeysuckle plant. The sweet, heady scent carried on a warm summer breeze is one of the most delightful experiences of the season, and the scent is strongest at night, which attracts pollinating moths.

Buddleia

Buddleia Empire Blue

A must for wildlife lovers. Also known as the ‘Butterfly Bush’, this Buddleia’s beautiful cool violet-blue blooms produce a lovely honey fragrance that is guaranteed to attract masses of butterflies and bees.

Weigela

Weigela Pink Poppet

Awarded the RHS ‘Perfect for Pollinators’ Award, this fantastic dwarf-growing shrub is certainly a wildlife haven. Weigela Pink Poppet is a long flowering variety that will attract a range of pollinators, from bees, butterflies and other nectar loving insects.

Sarcococca

Sarcococca hookeriana humilis

This variety produces small white flowers renowned for their vanilla aroma. After flowering, this compact and hardy shrub will also yield an abundance of shiny black berries that birds love, making it the perfect plant for a winter wildlife garden.

Erysimum

Erysimum Constant Cheer

As the name ‘Constant Cheer’ suggests, this exquisite hardy perennial produces long lasting prolific orange red flowers that mature to purple. This creates an amazing multi-coloured flowering feature plant that is highly attractive to bees, butterflies and other insects.

 

Clethra

Clethra Ruby Spice

Winner of the RHS Garden Merit Award for their reliable performance, stability of colour and form and good resistance to pests and diseases. This fantastic shrub is perfect for attracting bees into the garden, through their heady fragrance.

Syringa

Syringa meyeri Palibin

This upright deciduous shrub produces dense clusters of sweetly fragrant, light pink and white panicles over attractive heart-shaped foliage from late spring into early summer. When in bloom, the gorgeous flowers will bring butterflies to your garden.

Gaura

Gaura Whirling Butterflies

The ideal border perennial with an abundance of star shaped flowers. Gaura Whirling Butterflies pretty free-flowering white flower spikes, which resemble a fluttering butterfly, and also are handy for attracting beneficial insects to the garden, such as bees.

 

Video Tutorials

Buddleia:

  • When planting for nectar, avoid double flowers or sterile varieties that limit the feeding opportunities for insects.
  • Select suitable plants for your garden’s conditions.

Chelsea Flower Show 2019: 5 Trends to Try at Home

If you missed the Chelsea Flower Show last week, the gardens showcased everything from wildlife havens, wildflower fields to woodland wonderlands. To help you discover the top gardening trends from the 2019 gardens, we’ve compiled a guide to the best themes that you can get inspired by and recreate in your very own garden.

Here are some of the popular garden themes to inspire you…

 

 

 

 

The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden by Mark Gregory

Wildflowers made a huge appearance at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. Sprinkled with lovely blue Camassias, lupins and grasses, Mark Gregory’s Welcome to Yorkshire garden showcased the beauty and freshness of a perennial spring meadow in a garden setting. Here are some of our recommendations for adding some natural beauty to the garden.

 

Camassia Esculenta

The bright blue spiky flowers of this Esculenta make this beautiful hardy plant a perfect choice to naturalise in your gardens. Blooming in summer, these beautiful vibrant flowers will form clumps of bright blue linear leaves and leave you with a spectacular wild garden look.

 

Lupin Band of Nobles The Governor

With their mass of pea-like flowers, these Lupins are very easy to grow for beautiful flowers year after year. This variety showcases elegant violet-blue blooms above a base of star-shaped green foliage that is a true showstopper in the summer border.


Digitalis Hardy Ambigua Yellow 

This RHS Garden Merit Award winner is a true delight for a cottage garden look. This Foxglove’s stunning creamy yellow bell-shaped flowers are great for attracting butterflies and bees to the garden to liven up the summer garden.

 

 

The Roots in Finland Kyrö Garden by Tiana Suonio

Even in a small town garden, Finnish designer Tiana Suonio shows how to create a wildlife haven retreat. The theme of planting fragrant and diverse perennials was a recurring theme this year, with flowers to attract pollinators. Suonio creates a multi-layered meadow of plants from Lily of the Valley (Finnish National Flower) and strong Willows that can handle the demanding Finnish growing conditions.

Salix caprea pendula

The lovely tumbling branches of this Salix caprea will provide your garden will year round interest. Their silver, fuzzy catkins open up in the spring to become soft silky flowers with yellow anthers before lush, hanging foliage appears.

 

Leucanthemum superbum Snow Lady

Within Suonio’s Finish landscape, the informal garden’s style featured meadow planting with daisies. Loved by butterflies and bees, the giant white daisy-like flowers of the ‘Snow Lady’ will create a sight to behold in the summer time.

 

Peony Sarah Bernhardt

Peonies were a delightful addition to the show gardens this year, providing a pop of summer colour. Our fragrant Peony Sarah Bernhardt will add a beautiful flush of candy-pink colour in their frilly, delicate blooms that is hard to miss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The M & G Garden by Andy Sturgeon

The predominant colour for almost all gardens this year is green. From lush foliage to green flowers and tall grasses. Andy Sturgeon’s M&G Garden focused on nature’s regenerative power in a woodland landscape and used predominately green plants to get his message across and provide an ancient quality.

 

Euphorbia Wulfenii

This stunning Euphorbia produces bright, upright stems smothered in bright green and yellow flowers. They create a fabulous and unique summer display when added to a herbaceous border or patio containers.

 

 

Hakonechloa macra ‘Allgold’

This bright and beautiful grass will create a gorgeous lush green garden look. This dwarf mound-forming variety produces masses of thin, spiky golden yellow leaves for a vibrant yet natural dash of colour in the summer garden.

 

Camassia Leichtlinii Alba

These perfect naturalisers produce creamy-white blooms, densely set on very long stems. Whether planted in beds or borders, this Camassia variety are an amazing addition en-masse in any wild garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walker’s Forgotten Quarry garden by Graham Bodle

Unlikely materials, industrial features and rubble provided inspiration for a whole planting scheme this year with Graham Bodle’s garden. Pines, textured foliage and natural accents against the industrial landscape were added to provide a relaxing garden space. The M&G Garden features a delicate planting selection of fiery Geums, Primulas and Digitalis.

 

Geum Queen of Orange

Bodle’s garden featured a myriad of fiery coloured Geums, so get the look with this beautiful orange Geum variety. The rich, vibrant blooms of Geum Queen of Orange are the perfect hardy perennials for attracting pollinators and will flower all summer long.

 

 

Phalaris Arundinacea Feesey

The Quarry Garden featured a flurry of foliage and grasses to give an effect of an industrial space being reclaimed by nature. This spectacular variegated grass has an unusual cascading effect with stunning bi-coloured leaves to add a touch of the wild to the garden.

Digitalis purpurea Mix

Bodle paired the beautiful silvery-leaved Digitalis purpurea alongside the lovely Primula Candelabra as an arresting combination. Digitalis purpurea, a classic cottage garden favourite, will add a beautiful mixture of colour in the summer time for a display of natural beauty.

 

 

 

 

Back To Nature Garden by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge with Andree Davies and Adam White

With wild trees and shrubs and a cool calm colour palette of green and blue, the woodland garden designed by the Duchess of Cambridge was designed to build a relaxing and calming space. With beautiful foliage and wildlife-attracting plants as a focal point of the Back to Nature garden, here are our woodland inspired planting recommendations.

 

 

Vinca Minor

The calming blue shades of the Vinca Minor‘s flowers makes a fantastic ground cover feature for creating a calm and collective atmosphere and add a touch of the wild nature of a woodland floor to the garden.

 

 

Athyrium filix-femina (Lady Fern)

Kate’s garden featured a selection of ferns to enhance the feel of a woodland’s conditions. The architectural form and fresh green fronds of the ‘Lady Fern’ gives some height with their feathery shaped form. Also, this fern was awarded the RHS Garden Merit Award.

 

Geranium Rozanne

As a Winner of the RHS Award of Garden Merit and voted plant of the Centenary during the Chelsea Flower Show 2013, it’s easy to say this Geranium is a guaranteed gardener favourite. This Geranium variety blooms gorgeous purple flowers and makes ideal ground cover.

Top 10 Wildflowers for a Garden Meadow

Wildflowers have been referenced in British literature, poetry and music for centuries, from Shakespeare to D.H. Lawrence. Wildflower meadows and grasslands are our most diverse habitats, rich in wildlife, beauty, history and folklore. So, since the first week of May is #NationalWildflowerWeek, it seems like there’s no better time than now to bring a touch of the wild to your garden.

Here are our top 10 wildflower varieties to plant this spring…

 

 

 

 

 

Astilbe Dark Leaf Avalanche

Native to the mountains ravines and woodlands in Asia and North America, these plant’s are quite simply a gardener’s dream. Astilbe are carefree, summer blooming perennials and this variety produces a dense carpet of dark fern-like foliage with feathery white blooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thymus Serpyllum

Native to Europe and North America, this flowering wild thyme will dazzle in a wildlife garden with their highly fragrant pinky-mauve flowers amongst their dark green foliage. This is the perfect wildflower for attracting bees and butterflies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scaevola Brilliant 

Native to Australia where they grow on hot rocky outcrops they are equally good at coping with hostile growing conditions. The lovely fan shaped blooms and shiny glossy green leaves make this a lovely feature plant, great in tubs and containers or planted up fences as illustrated.

 

Triteleia Queen Fabiola

Also known as the Starflower, Triplet Lily or Wild Hyacinth, the Triteleia Queen Fabiola is native to California where it grows wild. Bright green, grass-like leaves appear first, followed by clusters of violet purple star shaped blossoms with blue anthers in late spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rose of Sharon

Originating from exotic Turkey and Bulgaria, Rose of Sharon is one of the best varieties for ground covers. Not only that, but it is very popular with bees. The large bright yellow star-shaped flowers with  red-tipped anthers make a sunny display from June to September.

 

 

 

 

 

Digitalis Hardy Mixed

Bring the wildness of the woods to your garden with this exciting mix of Digital Purpurea, commonly known as Foxgloves. Flowering from June to August, the foxglove plant bears an instantly recognizable shape consisting of tall, statuesque spikes of tubular, bell-like flowers each with a distinctively speckled throat.

 

 

 

 

 

Veronicastrum Cupid

Native to the United States where it grows in the wild, it’s a great ornamental border plant and is an excellent cut flower for an indoor display. This fabulous upright perennial with tall brush like spikes of blue/lilac flowers will bloom from June to September with whorls of lance-shaped, toothed leaves form at the base.

 

 

 

 

 

Geranium Sanguineum Alba 

In the wild Geranium Sangiuneum Alba is found in sand dunes and on rocky slopes.  This lovely sprawling perennial with small dark green leaves and pure white clusters of perfectly formed flowers in the summer is also known as the ‘bloody crane’s-bill’ for the crane like appearance of the fruit capsules in the spring.

 

 

 

 

 

Anemone Nemorosa

This Wood Anemone originated in the European woodlands and it still retains its natural carefree beauty. Un-surprisingly, given its origin, this little beauty is an excellent naturalising plant and will produce an ever increasing displays each year. Ideal for your patio pots and rockeries.

 

 

 

 

 

Camassia Leichtlinii Alba 

Also known as the Californian white-flowered quamash these will produce creamy-white blooms, densely set on very long stems. These are great naturalisers and will be happy in full sun or partial shade. A great addition to beds/borders, and will look fabulous planted en-masse in a wild garden.

Complete Guide: How to Plant Buddleia

Looking for advice on how to plant Buddleia this spring? Through this informative guide, we will share all our best knowledge and tips on the planting, arrangement and aftercare for your Buddleia shrubs. When it is covered in butterflies, no other garden plant brings so much pleasure on a summer’s day!

Buddleia, also known as Butterfly Bush, is one of Britain’s most popular summer flowering shrubs. Buddleia comes from Asia and there are more than 100 species that have spread from northern India, China and South Africa to Central and South America, largely after being introduced by the great plant hunters around the beginning of the 20th century.

Planting

Buddleia are superb additions to the garden for attracting wildlife with butterflies and bees being big fans of this shrub. Known for their burst of colour and their distinct tubular fragrant flowers, this vigorous, deciduous shrub is the perfect choice for summer blooms. Here are our guides to planting out in the garden and in containers for easy planting this spring.

In the Garden

Great for long-term borders/rockeries. They perform best when planted in full sun (or at least in partial shade) and in fertile, well-drained soil. Dependent on the variety, plant around 5 to 10 feet apart for a gorgeous display. Plant Buddleia in Spring or in Autumn before the first frosts and water thoroughly after planting.

Buddleia Mixed (Hardy)

Tips

  • When planting, loosen the soil and mix in compost and dig a hole twice the diameter of the plant container.
  • They will not perform well if grown in soil that tends to retain a lot of water in the winter.
  • Do not plant under trees.

In Containers

Use a pot deep enough to contain the roots and heavy enough to weigh the plant down. Make sure the pot has a good amount of drainage holes to allow the roots to breathe. Place the pot in full sunlight and water regularly. Cut the plant back around 10-12 inches in late winter or early spring.

Our Tips

  • Whisky Barrels make great planters
  • Avoid garden soil which becomes heavy/compact in containers.
  • Dwarf varieties like our Minature Collection are the best choice for pots and containers.

Video Tutorial

In this gardening tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff demonstrates how to plant Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) for summer flowering and shares his tips and tricks for getting the best results out of these beautiful shrubs.

Aftercare

  • When in bloom, you can snip their stems for honey scented cut flower bouquets.
  • Buddleia can be pruned hard after flowering, and you should cut shoots back to strong buds/younger growth.
  • We recommend reducing plants by half in Autumn when they are grown in windy positions.
  • Removing the dead blooms and watering the plants in very dry conditions will bring butterflies flocking to your Buddleia plants.
  • You can take softwood cutting in late spring just as the stems begin to harden up a little.

Our Top Picks

Flower Power

This magical hybrid showcases a mix between the usual blue-purple varieties along with a yellow flowered species. This plant’s gorgeous spikes of flowers blend perfectly from purple to orange for a sensational display of multi-coloured shades and sweet scent to radiate your summer garden.

Buddleia White Swan

The stunning fragrant white flowers are displayed on strong arching branches that are amazing for attracting wildlife in to the garden. Ideal for brightening your summer gardens in patio pots and containers.

 

 

Buddleia Purple Lion

Purple Lion is a stunning, fragrant  dwarf variety of Buddleia. This compact plant bears large purple flower spikes along with attractive silver-green foliage making Purple Lion the perfect long term addition to borders/rockeries and patio pots.

 

 

Companion Plants

Lantanas

The green foliage of Lantanas are topped with clusters of tiny, vibrant little flowers that are superb plants for attracting birds, butterflies and bees to the garden, making them a perfect pollinator companion for Buddleias.

Lantana Esperanta White

This variety is the perfect colour complimenting partner for white and purple Buddleias. These snow white, compactly formed flowers with bright yellow centers are an ideal plant for filling your landscape as ground cover or in containers to bring the wildlife swarming to your beautiful pollinator friendly garden.

Lantana Esperanta Yellow

The cheerful sunny yellow blooms of this Lantana variety are bound to become a showstopper in your garden when planted alongside purple Buddleia for a stunning contrast of colour.

 

 

Asters

A border of Asters creates a truly unforgettable spectacle. Combine with Buddleia for a truly delightful show of colour. They are bound to liven up your garden as Asters are great pollinator attracting plants with their bright colours and nectar rich, wide open blooms.

Aster Alpinus Dark Beauty

These vibrant violet blue, daisy-like flowers with their sunny yellow centers are the perfect partner to a white or purple Buddleia for a bold cluster of vibrant colour to the summer garden.

 

 

 

Aster Alpinus Pinkie

This vivid pink variety of these tough, sun-loving perennial plants are a great easy to grow pairing with Buddleia. Their cheerful ornamental cluster of flowers will certainly bring a pop of colour to summer rock gardens, borders and pots.

 

Click here to view our full range of Buddleia

Attracting Wildlife to the Garden

Encouraging wildlife into your garden is a winner all-round. They can help out your garden plants and you would be doing a good deed for all those creatures in need of a home or food throughout the winter. Flying visitors such as birds, butterflies and bees are pretty to look at and help improve your garden’s production. Encourage hedgehogs, toads and frogs too – they act as fantastic pest control, reducing the need for pesticides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what you can do to turn your garden in to a wildlife haven.

Bees

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bees are great to have around the garden. You want them in your garden to feast off your flowers to make them continue to pollinate and keep your garden looking spectacular. Bees love blue, purple and yellow flowers and plants so keep that in mind when planning your garden displays.

Here are some tips to keep bees doing their jobs as pollinators:

  • Plant single flower plants as most double flowers make it difficult for the bees to get the pollen and nectar.
  • Avoid using pesticides wherever possible.
  • Provide water for pollinators using a shallow dish filled with stones/marbles and water to provide a safe water source.

Bee Friendly Plants

  • Dahlias
  • Asters
  • Sedums
  • Cornflower
  • Heather

Birds 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Provide nest boxes/wooden houses for birds to nest in. (Place near trees or bushes so the birds can make a short flight to safety).
  • Improve soil with well-rotted compost to introduce worms and slugs and other soil insects to provide food for birds.
  • A simple bird bathe will give the birds somewhere to bathe as well as doubling as a water supply.

Bird Friendly Plants

You can plant different shrubs/trees/flowers that will either provide food for birds in the form of seeds, berries or nectar, give shelter and warmth under dense foliage or they will attract insects which birds and other wildlife can feed off.

Here are some of our top choices:

  • Honeysuckle
  • Rowan
  • Viburnum Opulus
  • Holly

Ladybugs 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ladybugs are a great help in the garden for eliminating destructive and damaging crop pests like aphids, mites and scale. Here are some tips for attracting ladybugs to your garden:

  • There are several pollen plants that attract ladybugs that tend to be yellow and white, such as Angelica, Cosmos and Fennel.
  • Plant decoy plants what will attract aphids away from your desired bug free plants until the ladybugs remove them for you. Aphid attracting decoy plants could include: Early Cabbage, Marigold and Radish.

Ladybug Friendly Plants

Ladybugs eat two things: insect pests and pollen, and there are several pollen plants that ladybugs like, including:

  • Calendula
  • Chives
  • Cosmos
  • Marigold

Bats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know that attracting bats to your garden is one of the safest and most efficient methods for natural insect control? One little brown bat can eat 1,200 insects per hour!

A great bat attracting method is to build a bat house to provide a warm cosy shelter for the creatures. Since bats tend to set up colonies in the early spring, building a bat house is the perfect winter project! Some tips are:

  • Use a rough, nontoxic wood (such as plywood or cedar) to make your box. The rough surface will make it easier for bats to climb in and out of the house.
  • Place in a warm, sunny position for warmth
  • Keep it close to a freshwater source (pond, stream)
  • Support on a pole or the side of a building

Bat Friendly Plants

The key to attracting bats to your garden is to plant night-scented flowers, such as:

  • Yucca
  • Evening Primrose

Frogs  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attracting frogs to your garden is beneficial for the welfare of your plants. Frogs make great inset killers so why not attract some garden frogs to help with those little pests.

  • Build toad houses – overturned flowerpots buried lightly in the soil make great shelters.
  • Avoid using pesticides in your garden. Frogs are sensitive to chemicals so use natural sources of nutrients in your garden such as compost.
  • Keep pets away from the part of the garden set up for attracting frogs.

Frog Friendly Plants

Toads and female frogs usually spend winter on land, under rockery stones (or in a log pile). Recommended rock plants are:

  • Aubretia
  • Hardy Geraniums
  • Sedums

Hedgehogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just like the shrew and the vole, the hedgehog is an insectivore with a voracious appetite. An adult hedgehog can eat up to 200 grams of insects per night, making the perfect pest controller in your garden. So, why not attract them to the garden with a few small tips and help these little creatures as their population has dropped in recent years. Here are some tips to draw these little creatures into your garden:

  • Leave areas of the garden naturally unkempt with fallen leaves, twigs and dead vegetation, which they can use to build nests.
  • Leave bowls of water out in the winter as hedgehogs drink lots of water. Top the water up regularly.
  • Avoid using slug pellets as they are fatal for hedgehogs

Hedgehog Friendly Plants

Hedges provide a great habitat for hedgehogs as they provide free access between gardens, unlike walls and fences. Species with large deciduous leaves are great for hedgehogs collecting leaves for their nests. Here are some top picks:

  • Beech
  • Berberis
  • Buddleia
  • Pyracantha

Click here to view our latest offers! 

Autumn In the Garden

Gardens undergo a stunning transformation in autumn. The leaves are falling, the days are getting shorter, and morning are slowly getting chillier as the summer weather fades away. Autumn gardens are a beautiful place to unwind, or for activities such as playing with children and pets. We’ve compiled a selection of autumn based activities, plant favourites and gardening tasks to occupy you this autumn season.

Top Nature activities

  • Botanical Gardens

Autumn is a glorious season for visiting local botanical gardens, such as Tatton Park and Fletcher Moss. During autumn, gardens transform in to a rich tapestry of reds, golds and rich browns from the maples, rowans, beech spindle trees. The ground is blanketed in fallen leaves along with autumn crocuses, spectacular fungi and fruits galore; prickly beech nut husks, fir cones, maple keys and shiny conkers.

  • Wildlife Crafting

There’s not much to beat watching wildlife outside your own back door and with habitat loss and changes in the countryside meaning that an increasing number of native British animals are visiting domestic gardens, creating a wildlife area is a great start to encourage visitors with ready-made homes to tempt them to stay. By using a little wood, some nails and a few hand tools, you can soon be producing ideal homes for birds, bees and butterflies.

  • Local/Social Events

Autumn is a hot spot for festivities, as Halloween grows nearer and bonfire night follows soon after, a world of activities opens up during the fall season. From pumpkin picking at your local pumpkin patch, hosting campfires and adventures on camping trips, to attending local open air events such as firework displays, there is a variety of entertaining activities to celebrate autumn.

Top 5 Autumn Flowering Favourites

Even as the cold takes hold, there are a few tough little winter flowering bulbs that are happy to brave the cold and bring a welcome splash of colour to brighten the darkest days of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a selection of our autumn flowering ranges to add some beautiful colour for the colder seasons. For the best displays, a little forward planning is required. Begin to plant autumn and winter flowering bulbs, corms and tubers in borders and containers in spring.

  1.  Crocus Sativus (Saffron)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fragrant Autumn flowering crocus Sativus, have been grown for the expensive spice in Britain since the tudor times. When in flower look for the red ribbons and remove with tweezers. They can be dried and stored in an airtight container for up to two years. You need a lot of Sativus to harvest a significant crop of Saffron. It is fun to have a little home grown Saffron and the flower is delightful.

2. Cyclamen Hederifoliums

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sight (and fragrance) of the Cyclamen Hederifolium brings a much-needed boost to the garden, at a time when most other flowers are looking more than sorry for themselves. Cyclamen Hederifolium has a long flowering period before disappearing over the summer – but not without leaving behind a pretty carpet of heart-shaped marbled leaves. The Cyclamen Hederifolium originates from the Mediterranean, therefore it comes as a surprise that they are equally happy to grow in shade as they are in sun. Supplied in 13/15cm and 25+cm bulbs.

3. Crocus Sternbergia Lutea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crocus like flowers of clear, golden yellow, and they are perfect for planting in pots on the patio, for a delightful autumn floral displays. Alternatively, you could plant Sternbergia Lutea in a dull corner of the garden to brighten things up with their vibrant colour.

4. Asters Alpinus Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cheerful ornamental flowers are daisy-shaped with bright yellow centers surrounded by petals in a variety shades of pinks, blues, violets and creamy whites. The leaves are narrow and dark green. The heavy cluster of flowers will produce an ever increasing mass of bold colour every year from August to well into the autumn. These little beauties only grow to 30-40cm, and are ideal for rockeries, dry stone walls or general ground cover where it will help to suppress weeds.

5. Clematis Cirrhosa Freckles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cirrhosa Freckles is an evergreen variety that flowers  a beautiful red bloom, with unique frosty white speckles. The Clematis Cirrhosa Freckles has a lot more colour than other varieties as the majority are white or creams, and when there is not a lot in flower in the garden at this time of year it’s very eye-catching!

Autumn Gardening Jobs

Autumn has arrived and although summer is coming to an end, there are still plenty of plants in your garden that can give colour and interest right through autumn and up to the beginning of winter.

  • Rake Up the Leaves

A few piles of leaves in out-of-the-way places – under hedges, for example – can provide shelter for overwintering wildlife. But remove leaves from your lawn, paths (which can be slippery) and borders. Use them to make leaf mound, works  great as a soil improver.

  • Plant Spring Flowering Bulbs

If you want to fill your garden with colour next spring, plant bulbs from October to December, before the first frost hits. There are many choices for filling up your spring displays and borders next spring from daffodils, tulips, crocus, grape hyacinths and fritillarias.

  • Tidying Up

To ensure vibrant displays for next spring, Make sure to tidy up your borders by removing dying leaves and collapsed stems from herbaceous perennials, either pulling by hand or cutting at the base with secateurs. Leave any stems that have attractive seed heads for birds to enjoy, and don’t forget to tidy up deciduous shrubs and trees that are getting a little out of hand with some careful pruning.

June Plant of the Month: Alliums

Easy to grow and versatile enough to be able to be grown in borders, flower beds, patio pots and containers, Alliums they really will pack a punch and are a must have impact plant for spring and summer.

Also known as Ornamental Onions, Alliums are from the onion family and are a fantastic addition to any garden. They are great for deterring Aphids, protecting other plants in your garden as well as themselves making them excellent companion plants.

Why we love them

The striking, showy flower heads of the humble Allium have long been a favourite of the modern cottage gardener. Blending beautifully into a summer perennial border, tall statuesque Alliums will cheerfully tower above lower growing plants just a seamlessly as smaller Alliums, which will add a zing to the front of a low border or edge.

Beyond the garden, Allium flowers and seed pods are excellent additions to cut flower displays. If you’re feeling creative, they can also be dried and sprayed to use as festive decorations.

Bee Friendly

Over the last few years we’ve been running a Spring flowering Bulb Competition (see details for this year’s competition here) and as these past entries show, (above) Alliums are highly attractive to bees! Great for the wildlife friendly gardener.

Where and when to Plant

For the best results position in full sun, and in well drained soils. For poorer soils treat with potash feed in the spring, which will help all your spring flowering bulbs and encourage them to return the following year.

Plant from early autumn at three or four times their own depth. The gaps you leave between Alliums will depend on their mature size, as well as your overall design ideas! For smaller alliums plant 10cm apart, the larger varieties will need at least 25cm in between. We indicate planting depths/distance for individual varieties on their own product pages.

Most Alliums will do well in containers as long as you give them enough space. They need a good 4cm of compost beneath each bulb, so choose deep pots, and for soil use any multipurpose compost, such as John Innes No 3. Some prefer to mix equal parts soil to horticultural grit. Re-pot each autumn.

Flowers and Foliage

One of the most striking features of Alliums is the long, sturdy stems that keep those amazing pom-pom like balls of flowers suspended on high. From the base of the Alliums grows lush, lance like swords of green foliage. As the flowers fade the basal foliage will wilt and turn brown. Unsightly as it is, don’t try to remove the leaves until they have all completely died off or you will stop the bulb taking enough food for winter to ensure it comes back the following year. If you are including Alliums in your flower bed and border design it’s a good idea to ensure to surround them with low growing plants that flourish in late summer to screen the foliage as it browns. Lavender likes similar conditions to Alliums or Hardy Geraniums will come in after the Alliums and continue to the end of summer, or you could plant alongside Ornithogalum for a contrasting display as illustrated below.

Thanks to their increasing popularity, Allium varieties such as Purple Sensation, the huge Globemaster variety, and Sphaerocephalon – more commonly known as The Drumstick Allium – have become staples for many gardeners.

Click here to browse our full range of Alliums, delivered from mid-August onwards.

12 Thrifty Steps to Make Your Garden Eco Friendly

Regardless of whether your garden has an aesthetic focus (ornamental only) or a productive (food producing) focus there are many small, simple to implement and relatively low cost techniques which can easily be introduce to improve the overall friendliness of the garden.

The overall goal should be to create a wonderful garden; somewhere you can easily relax and enjoy the rewards of all your hard work. Simultaneously this should be done with one eye on the environment! Eco-gardening is a way of making the garden more self-sustainable by reducing the energy /water the garden uses up, improving air circulation, promoting recycling, attracting wildlife and in essence being less wasteful.

It’s something that has been particularly important over the past decade, as we look for more and more ways to protect our environment and limit the damage we leave during our time here. It also never hurts the pocket to find ways to be more frugal with our approach to gardening, so we’ve put together our top twelve thrifty tips for making your garden more Eco Friendly.

  1. Water early in the morning or late at night

One of the best ways to get start is to look at ways in which you can reduce the amount of water used in the garden around the year. By using water from the mains less and less you will help significantly to reduce the overall national water use rate, but on a domestic level you should see the yearly household water bill come down (which can be no bad thing).

Water plants early in the morning or late at night. Watering during hot periods (such as lunchtime and early afternoon) when the sun is at its strongest will waste water due to evaporation and will be less beneficial to the plants themselves.

  1. Re-use rainwater

Install a water butt and re-use rainwater. Why not, it’s free and will reduce your water bills? Water butts can be an efficient and cost effective way to collect and reuse natural rainwater. The beauty of living in a country like Britain is that we get plenty of rainfall throughout the year. The thought that we do not collect and reuse this, instead being depending on water from the tap can be a little hard to understand at times. Some very large water butts can store over 24,000 litres of water (although there are plenty to choose from to suit all garden sizes) and can easily be transferred to the water can for use around the garden.

  1. Introduce drought-resistant plants

There are many great drought resistant plants which can be introduced to the garden and will thus reduce the dependence on manual watering during dry periods. For more advice on drought resistant plant visit the RHS website for their comprehensive list of recommended plants.

  1. Plant trees in the garden

To improve the purity of air you could try planting some larger trees such as conifers, Betula, Beech trees and Magnolia. Not only will they look beautiful through the year they will help improve the circulation and quality of air. This is even more important in urban areas where the actual air is more likely to become polluted because of increased exposure to chemicals and gasses.The role of trees is not one to underestimate. They produce the oxygen we need to survive and also help to remove particles from the air that could potentially be harmful. They also act as protection to other plants, provide a cooling shade in the summer and also can help reduce noise for your garden.

  1. Create a water feature or pond

You could also look at introducing a water feature into the garden area to improve purity of air. A steady stream and flow of water, not only adds a sense of tranquillity and beauty but also helps to remove harmful pollutants from the air. This along with some well positioned trees will help create an environment of lovely fresh air and help the plants, soil and your own health as well.

  1. Reduce Electricity used in the garden

By reducing the overall amount of electricity the garden uses your bills will come down and you will be using less national resources. This can only be a good thing, and combined with the work done by wind farms and solar panels we should see an overall reduction in usage from the national grid.

  1. Use solar garden lighting

Instead of using large outdoor lighting you could try to introduce some solar garden lights. They come in many shapes, sizes and budgets and can easily be installed. They will store energy from the natural light during the day and release this when needed at night time. They have become much more reliable in the past ten years as an alternative and are certainly an area to explore.

  1. Choose alternatives to chemicals/pesticides

Where allowable we suggest using organic pesticides and products in and around the garden. Choose the right product for the job and make sure it will not have any detrimental effect on other insects around the garden. You could try using some alternatives to pesticides such as crushed egg shells or grounded coffee beans to deter slugs and snails or by planting marigolds in your flowerbeds (they are known to deter insects and pests).

Strong smelling perennials such as Lavender and Rosemary can also have the effect of keeping pests away from you borders so introducing a number of these will help avoid using chemicals. Many people choose to actually introduce certain insects into the garden as a way of scaring off those pests that will do damage to plants. Lady bugs are great at eating aphids and will help preserve your plants.

  1. Recycling will help create an organic compost or mulch

You can create your own organic compost by recycling gardening waste, food waste and fall leaves. By recycling this waste we will be helping to keep it out of the ever increasing landfills and also will in turn create a moisture retentive and rich compost or mulch that can used around the garden. The plants will benefit hugely from this natural and organic addition to the soil and also will save you buying manure or compost the following year.

The choice of goods to use in the compost bin or heap is almost endless and getting the balance right may take a number of attempts. Luckily the internet can be your friend and will the popularity growing hugely in this area, there are many good gardening forums and websites to offer advice. Some of the most popular, everyday items from the household to find their way onto the compost heap include raw vegetables, crushed egg shells, fruit peelings, newspapers, cardboard and even teabags. Gardening waste such as fallen leaves, wood cuttings, grass cuttings, old bedding plants and plant foliage are also used regularly.

  1. Attracting and caring for Wildlife is key

Make the garden wildlife friendly – A key feature to creating a garden that is in touch with nature is to make sure that it is attractive to wildlife. By allocating just a little bit of time and space to your garden, you can easily attract various wildlife to your garden all year around. For many people wildlife is a welcomed addition to the garden providing extra character and also the knowledge that they are doing their bit to help with British conservation.

  1. Make sure you have an area to enjoy and relax

Make sure that you allow an area for enjoyment. Creating a garden full of colour and fresh fruit/vegetables is great and highly rewarding, but one key aspect to making sure your love for gardening lasts a lifetime is getting out and enjoying the garden. Have an area where you and your family/friends can sit around and enjoy the fresh air and beauty you have worked so hard to create.

Many people love the summer barbeque as it allows people to gather together outdoors and enjoy their surroundings, with some good food. These great moments are vital to enjoying the garden and the summertime. Get out there and enjoy it! Getting in touch with your own little piece of the environment is critical to becoming an environmental gardener.

  1. Grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs

Growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs is a fun, rewarding and can be a great step towards being less dependent on supermarkets. Even in gardens when space is at a premium you can easily grow strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in pots or containers.

If you have the space available why not allocate a patch or raised bed towards growing some potatoes, carrots, asparagus, beans or whatever vegetables take your fancy. You could also look at planting some fruit trees which not only produce great tasting fruit but will add ornamental blossom on spring.

Read Some of our Best Reader-submitted Tips