When to plant winter bedding plants

Although the weather is getting worse and you’ll want to spend less time outside, winter gardens need love too! Bedding plants can add a great amount of interest and colour to the garden in the colder months, brightening your outside space and lifting up your spirits in the dark days of winter. Most bedding plants only bloom during spring/summer, adding winter bedding allows you to extend the flowering season of your outside space.

When to plant

The best time to plant your winter bedding plants is during September and early October. This is due to the lingering warmth in the soil during this pre-winter timeframe, which prepares your plants to produce more flowers over winter. This time period also helps to give your plants a better chance to grow sturdy roots and flowers, and support faster growth.

When is it too late to plant?

Since the plants use the lingering warmth from September and October, it is best to get the plants into the ground before the first frost. Some of the hardier winter species, like pansies, can be planted late October to November time. The main reason for planting winter bedding earlier is to ensure that the plants have had enough time to develop robust roots. With a strong foundation, firmly cemented in the ground, it makes the plants more likely to survive a harsh winter.

Most popular winter varieties

Pansies

Pansy Autumn Blaze Mix (Garden Ready)
Pansy Can Can (Garden Ready)

Primula

Primrose Scentsation Raspberry Ripple
Primrose Blue Chameleon

Polyanthus

Polyanthus Snow White (Maxi Plugs)
Stella Pink Champagne (Maxi Plugs)

Tips to help care for your winter bedding plants

  • Pinch out flower heads that have finished blooming to preserve nutrients. But don’t worry, new buds will appear, producing more flowers that will last for longer.
  • Fertilise your plants after planting, during late autumn and again in spring.
  • It may be winter, and our plants may be sturdy but ensure that they’re facing the sun to help them thrive.
  • Check your plants weekly for any dryness and water as needed.

Read our latest blogs and keep up to date:

What to Plant in January

2021 has started off frosty, however as the weather starts to warm up towards the end of winter, there are actually quite a few plants you can start growing this January. Now is a great time to continue planting trees and shrubs, as well as planning for the coming gardening year 

Bare-root trees

Planting during winter is usually the best time for fruit trees, but always avoid planting when the ground is frozen. You can plant new trees in containers this January and keep them in a cold garage or storage space until the weather improves, or as long as the ground isn’t too hard to dig a hole, you should be good to go. However, do not try to plant bare-root trees once the new season’s leaf buds have started to emerge.

Bare-root Roses

Winter is the perfect time to plant dormant bare-root roses, specifically from late winter to early spring, before growth resumes. Planting bare-root roses during the dormant season allows the plants to establish quickly, because this is when the soil is moist. Simply avoid planting in the middle of winter when the ground is frozen

Raspberry\Blackberry Canes

The perfect fruits to grow for beginners. Raspberries can be planted any time during the dormant season, between November and March. Blackberry plants are also easy-to-grow, and can be planted up until mid-spring as long as the ground isn’t frozen.

Plan ahead for Spring

Get ready for spring planting season and pre-order your favourite summer-flowering bulbs & tubers online now. From beautiful new Dahlias, Gladioli and Begonias, our spring 2021 range has something for every garden.

Check out some of our other blogs:

What to do in the garden in December

With the short days and chilly mornings upon us, winter has arrived. While it may be tempting to leave your garden alone during this period, it’s important to remember that there are a number of jobs that need to be done in winter to help your garden flourish in spring. Here’s our list gardening jobs to do this December to prepare your garden for spring.

Prune trees and shrubs

December is a great time to prune trees, shrubs and roses. It is best to cut out unwanted growth whilst the plant is dormant, since it’s easier to understand the shape and structure of the plant whilst it has no leaves. Plus winter pruned trees are less prone to disease.

Keep on planting

Yes, you can continue planting in December! The very best time of year to plant shrubs and trees is between early autumn to late Spring. Also, f you live in areas with milder winters, you can continue to plant spring-flowering bulbs, such as daffodils, tulips, crocus, muscari and fritillarias into the new year.

Make your garden wildlife-friendly

Local wildlife need all the help they can get during the colder months. If possible, add suet feeders around the garden/lawn, as they make a great source of energy for birds. Other foods that are perfect for birds include chunks of fruit, mealworms, or peanuts. Don’t forget to put out a fresh dish of water along with the bird food too!

More jobs for the December garden:

  • Tie back climbing plants
  • Tidy up the greenhouse ready to receive spring plants
  • A little weeding now will save time in spring
  • Mulch around trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials
  • Build raised beds and fill them with good quality soil ready for growing your own fruit and veg

Check out some of our other blogs:

How to protect plants from frost

Frost garden

With the colder days drawing closer, before the frosty mornings are upon us, it’s time to put in place the right protection for your plants, so they’re ready for the harsh winter weather. Submitting your plants to the winter elements without protection can result in blackened, distorted or limp growth and a browning of the leaves of your plants. Since in the UK, there may be between 7 and 10 nights where the temperatures are below freezing, keep reading to learn how to protect plants from frost this winter.

Winter pansies

When to protect your plants

The best way to seek to minimise frost damage is to prevent it in the first instance, rather than seeking a cure after it has happened. Put all frost protecting measures in place at the first sign of frosts.

Winter plant protection

How to prevent frost damage

Use protective wrappings such as bed sheets, blankets to cover tender and vulnerable plants. This acts like insulation, keeping warm air from the ground around the plant.

More frost protection tips:

  • Place plants in frost-resistant spots
  • Lift and store tender perennials
  • Avoid frost pockets
  • Cover plants before nightfall
  • Protect plants with cloches
  • Warm plants with water jugs
  • Water before a frost
  • Bring potted plants indoors
  • Wrap fruit trees

Check out some of out other blogs:

winter garden
Flower bulbs

Preparing Your Garden for Winter

preparing your garden for winter

Preparing your garden for winter is probably the last thing you want to do as the air gets colder and the days get shorter. However, if you spend just a few hours a day getting everything prepared before the first frosts of the season, it could save your plants from facing an early demise.

Ready to get started? Read on to find out how.

Border Maintenance

prepping your garden borders

Cut back your perennials and dying plants closer to the ground as they start to die down. Tidy your borders by removing any weeds and debris so there’s less work come spring.

Give Shrubs and Trees Some Love

fruit trees

Prune unruly shrubs into your preferred shape and cut back any damaged branches from trees. This helps them to be in the best possible shape they can before winter hits.

Plant Protection

protecting plants for winter

If you have access to a green house, move potted plants in for the duration of winter. If you’re worried about deciduous trees and shrubs, their bare roots can be lifted and stored until spring to avoid the root dying through any frost.

Take a Well Deserved Break

taking a break with a cup of tea after preparing your garden for winter

And finally, once you’re done preparing your garden for winter, take a well deserved break! This year especially has taken its toll on all of us, and in the run up to winter it’ll be more important than ever to look after ourselves.

Read More Blogs from J Parker’s

December Plant of the Month: Holly

The British countryside is experiencing a bumper crop of holly berries this autumn, thanks to perfect weather conditions in 2018. So the traditional Christmas plant is putting on its best display in over 20 years. As well as being a symbol of the festive season, the common native evergreen provides vital winter food for animals and birds and makes Holly the perfect plant of the month for December. Get yours in time for Christmas!

Keep reading to check out our favourite evergreen Holly plants, a handy guide for planting Holly in borders and containers.

Top Products

Once planted, Hollies resent disturbance, so buy younger, smaller plants are the way to go as these are easier to establish in the garden. So, take a look below at our bestselling varieties.

Holly Hedging (English Holly)

A brilliant hedging plant. Forming a dense prickly barrier, English Holly is a welcome source of food and protection to wildlife in the winter. Their glossy evergreen leaves and bright red and orange berries are a beautiful sight during the festive season.

Click here to view online.

Holly Blue Angel

A classic winter wonder. This popular evergreen bush produces vivid red fruits and dark olive leaves and can be grown outside for years to come for bigger and better displays each Christmas.

Click here to view online.

Holly Ingramii

Our superb, premium Holly variety. This new variegated Holly is ideal as a feature shrub or very prickly barrier hedge. The glossy, dark green leaves are patterned with a broad, irregular, speckled, cream margin.

Click here to view online.

Holly Ornamental Collection

An outstanding collection of Hollies. These colourful evergreens produce striking red berries from December. The collection includes one of each variety: ‘Sharpy’, ‘Golden Van Tol’ and ‘Aurea Marginata’ and one male ‘Blue Prince’.

Click here to view online.

Holly Argentea Marginata

An awe-inspiring evergreen tree that looks great in every garden. With masses of bright red winter berries and lustrous, silvery dark green leaves, why not add a festive staple into your garden?

Click here to view online.

Liven Up Winter/Spring Beds with Colourful Primulas

Lift your spirits in the dull days of winter with the bright colours of Primulas. No garden is complete without these cheerful and hardy perennials as they are available in a wide range of sizes, shapes and come in every colour imaginable. These easy to grow blooms are perfect any type of garden, whether you need to fill some ground space or adding some wonderful colour to the front of the border.

In this blog post, we will guide you through our favourite Primula varieties, planting tips and aftercare, so that you can grow a rainbow of beautiful Primulas even during those cold, winter months.

Top varieties

Primula Colour Carnival

Packed with vibrant shades, our ‘Colour Carnival’ are an exciting mixture of bi-coloured Primula. Their fragrant blooms are perfect for attracting pollinators to the spring garden. Easy to grow, robust plants for beds and borders.

Click here to view online.

Primula Husky Raspberry Punch

Brighten up the winter garden with the bursting brilliant pink hues of Primula ‘Raspberry Punch’. Flowering from January through to April, these cheery flowers will add a kick of colour to borders, pots, or why not plant them en-masse for a real eye-catching feature.

Click here to view online.

 Primula Primlet

Producing masses of stunning double and semi-double flowers, these blooms almost resemble a miniature rose in the midst of the winter/spring season. From yellows to violet hues, these hardy perennials are ideal for creating a rainbow in the winter border.

Click here to view online.

 Primula Showstopper Lime/Cream

A bright and delicate perennial. Our beautiful new ‘Showstopper’ is a pure delight in the late winter garden when their lime tinted cream flowers are on show. Ideal for the border, beds and containers.

Click here to view online.

Primula Wanda

Fill the winter garden with the beautiful fragrance of Primula Wanda. Plant them where you can enjoy their scent, such as in patio containers or the front of the border. Wanda is a beautiful mixture of vibrant, ruffled flowers that are perfect for any garden.

Click here to view online.

 

There are many benefits to growing Primulas:

  • A wide range of colours are available.

January Plant of the Month: Eranthis

January’s plant of the month is a cheerful, early-flowering bulb that will bring some much needed colour to your garden in these gloomy months.

Also known as Eranthis hyemalis, winter aconites beam a golden glow into the garden at a time when the sun rarely breaks through the clouds. These golden yellow flowers bloom the earliest of all spring flowers and will delight you with vibrant yellow flowers in January and February.

We strongly recommend trying Winter Aconites to kick off your spring display, and they are particularly recommended for rockeries and naturalising. These gorgeous yellow blooms are contrasted by beautiful green foliage, which covers the ground long after the flowers have disappeared.

Although bulb planting season is at an end, there is still time to get some last-minute colour in your garden. If you’re looking out at a wintery garden and can’t wait for spring, consider investing in our Eranthis in the Green available now ready for planting and flowering this year.

Our Eranthis in the Green offer guaranteed pre-grown success from these Eranthis hyemalis, supplied in the green ready to be planted straight in the ground.

Click here to shop Eranthis in the Green

Winter Favourites

winter-birdbath

When autumn leaves are falling, there’s a chill in the air. Gardeners across the country are frantically trying to get the last of that years plants in the ground. Right before a frost settles in you know that winter is well on its way!

With some careful planning there is no reason for the cold winter months to mean the drab winter months in your garden!

Our favourite Winter Shrubs

This is a rundown of our favourite winter flowering shrubs guaranteed to breathe some life and colour back into a winter garden.

Viburnum

Very hardy, deciduous shrubs which produce dense clusters of richly perfumed flowers, often followed by berries. There are a dizzying array of viburnum varieties, with huge variations in leaf shape and forms of flower heads. Some are evergreen and some deciduous, some flower in winter. Others late in spring! The variety and versatility make them invaluable for gardeners seeking all year round interest. Viburnums are our 2016 November Plant of the month – you can find that article HERE.

Our Top choice Viburnum | Viburnum x bodnantense Dawn

viburnum-bodnantense-dawn

A very hardy, deciduous shrub which produces dense clusters of richly perfumed, deep rose pink flowers which eventually fade to candyfloss pink. They eventually white by late spring. In summer, attractive round purple berries are produced. Foliage is huge, ovate and toothed, with deeply scored veins. It has an almost quilted look. It boasts a particularly long season of interest, one of the many reasons it was awarded the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Skimmia

Fairly compact evergreen shrub that flowers from spring into early summer. Known for being hardy they are equally happy in a border or in containers on a patio. With a compact habit they are fairly low maintenance, perfect for growing in borders or containers on a patio.

Sarcococca (Christmas Box)

sarcococca-humilis-christmas-box

Amazingly easy to grow, dense and reliable evergreen. It has slender, tapering shiny leaves and produces sweetly fragranced flowers from December to February. After flowering, Christmas Box produces an abundance of attractive berries. Excellent in partial shade, even in drier soils.

Ilex (Holly)

Evergreen Hollies (or Ilex) will give all year round pleasure from the vivid new growth in spring and early summer to the berries in winter. When birds can’t find anything else to eat they will flock to the holly bush. Stems of holly are ideal for winter floral arrangements, and look particularly dazzling when painted silver or white. English Holly (Ilex aquifolium) is our December Plant of the Month.

Edgeworthia chrysantha

Edgeworthia chrysantha

This winter flowering gem was named after Michael Pakenham Edgeworth. It was collected it in the Himalayas and brought it back to Britain in the mid-1800s. Cinnamon coloured branches provide a stunning contrast to the clusters of fragrant, tubular yellow flowers. A great plant for the winter garden, they rarely succumb to pests and diseases, but will need a sheltered spot.

Chinese Witch Hazel

Exotic Chinese witch hazel (also known as Hamamelis) are deciduous, winter flowering shrubs that produce clusters of sweetly scented. Crinkled flowers in a range of fiery shades, bursting into life like mini firework displays from December to March.

Corylus avellana Contorta (Corkscrew Hazel)

corylus-contorta-with-catkins

A real conversation piece. This unusual and resilient deciduous shrub has the most amazing twisted stems and branches earning it the common name corkscrew hazel. In summer the branches bear a tangle of broadly ovate green leaves followed later by nuts. In late winter and early spring a mass of weeping yellow catkins unfurl. This curious variety has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. A great architectural plant and an ideal choice for creating a wildlife garden attracting moths, butterflies and a variety of insects as well as birds and squirrels. A slow growing shrub, it will reach around 1.8-2m after ten years.

Chimonanthus praecox

Chimonanthus praecox - Wintersweet

These are a truly striking sight, producing unusual pendant yellow flowers on leafless branches in winter. The flowers have a strong spicy fragrance, and last from November until February. It will grow into a good sized rounded shrub, or can it can be trained to grow against a trellis or wall. Introduced from China it is also known as ‘wintersweet’ or ‘Japanese Allspice’. They are hardy and noted for being able to survive a frost. Although will appreciated a sunny, sheltered spot in the garden where they will make the most of the summer heat, ripening in winter where, after a good summer they will produce abundant flowers. These are a real winter beauty, and will not carry the same impact when it has lost its flowers. So it is worth considering their position carefully where space is at a premium – although its brilliant fragrance and particular beauty in the winter make it well worth growing.

Dogwood (Cornus)

Spectacular bushy shrubs, ideal for creating a showy feature in the garden, they bring a burst of colour that is particularly valuable in a drab winter garden. The shoots can also be used as part of an imaginative indoor cut-flower display, perhaps even spraying them gold and silver for a festive look. We’d recommend planting in groups of three for a truly fantastic show in winter once all the other colour is gone.

Our top Cornus Choice: Cornus Midwinter Fire

4.1.2

Cornus Midwinter Fire (commonly known as dogwood) is a shrub which produces ovate, mid-green leaves and small, cream/white flowers in May and June. However, the flowers are not the star of this show. In autumn, Cornus Midwinter Fire stays true to it s namesake, slowly revealing brilliant flame-coloured stems as the leaves fall away. Shoots begin a yellow-orange, with the tips turning a brilliant red as the season goes on, giving the shrub a flaming look.

Lonicera purpusii Winter Beauty

honeysuckle-lonicera-purpusii

Also known as the winter flowering honeysuckle. Masses of creamy-white, fragrant flowers are produced in midwinter. This plant flowers reliably by Christmas year after year, flowers lasting until early spring. Sprigs can be used for scented winter flower arrangements. We’d recommend planting Winter Beauty as a standalone specimen in the border, but it can also be trained up a wall or fence.

Mahonia

Fabulous evergreen shrubs producing large leaves, autumn flowers followed by colourful berries all throughout the winter months. With their compact habits they will work well in a mixed border, ideal for partnering with over evergreen shrubs such as Buxus, Camellia or a Photinia Red Robin.

Our Top Mahonia Choice | Charity Cabaret

The Mahonia Nitens Cabaret also known as Oregon Grape, is an amazing new introduction to the Mahonia range. It will produce the usual glossy holly like evergreen leaves you would expect from a Mahonia. It is a compact variety and produces its flowers from the end of summer and right through the autumn, with stunning oranges and reds. After the flowers have bloomed, blue berries will form, these work wonderfully with the winter foliage.

Jasmine

This marvellous fragrant shrub will flower throughout the summer and into the winter months. It presents gorgeous dainty star shaped flowers, usually pure white, pale buttery yellow or very rarely deep pink. A stunning adornment for any trellis, fence or wall, the pretty flowers bring a distinctive sweet scent. It will do well in most soils, can be pruned in early spring to keep to a tidy shape and keep it nice and healthy for repeated stunning displays year after year.

Our Top Choice | Trachelospermum jasminoides (Jasmine)

Trachelospermum jasminoides. Star Jasmin

A highly fragrant, vigorous climber that produces clusters of beautiful, star shaped pure white flowers from June throughout the summer months, which turn to cream with age. It has dark green leaves which turn bronze in winter. It is best to grow Trachelospermum jasminoides against a warm, sunny wall. Can climb to 8m, however prune after flowering to size required. This Jasmine is a stunning addition, for a wonderful display throughout the summer months perfuming the air with its sweet fragrance.

Callicarpia profusion

callicarpa-profusion

Also known as ‘Beauty berry’, it is a beautiful eye-catching medium sized deciduous shrub which produces masses of tiny star shaped lilac flowers in summer. When pollinated, these start to form the outstanding clusters of vibrant purple, almost metallic berries we see in autumn and winter. Not only do these berries bring a welcome splash of colour at a time when there is very little, they also provide a valuable source of food for birds during the colder months which they will thank you for. It is not just the berries that are showy- young leaves begin a bronzy purple colour, maturing to deep green in summer and fading to lime green, then eventually plum purple in autumn. We’d recommend planting in groups of three.