Crocus

CROCUS-VERNUS-MIXED

There’s nothing like the first crocus sighting of the year. While it doesn’t necessarily mean spring is right around the corner – it certainly pushes the winter gloom away!

 

Whilst I love sightings in parks and woodlands, it’s rather lovely to create your own display at home. In a larger garden a secluded out of the way patch with a host of naturalising bubs is a delight, and where space is limited crocus lend themselves well to creating a lively potted display.

1-Crocus-mixed

Of course, one of their best features is that they are great naturalisers, creating a bigger display each year as they mature.

 

How to plant

 

Crocus corms like good drainage and are really well suited to rock gardens as well as beds and borders. Plant 5-7cm deep in a good sunny position. The bottom of the corms are flat, but if you plant them upside down nature will sort itself out so don’t worry too much!

Crocus-Mixed-bed

The natural look…

Crocus will come back year after year, making them ideal if you want to ‘naturalise’ an area in your garden. Pick a well-drained spot that gets plenty of sunshine, toss your bulbs into that area, then plant them where they land. The idea is to get a natural clumped and haphazard display rather than neat rows you would find in a more formal setting. They will do well if you fertilise your crocus every other year, and you should only cut down the foliage when they have fully died off naturally for the season, other-wise you may not get as good a showing of flowers the following year.

 

 

Fun Fact

 

You can save money by growing your own luxury items!

 

Grow you own saffron

 

Saffron is a rare and highly coveted spice and if you’ve ever brought it you’ll already know it’s literally worth more than its own weight in gold! To grow your own is quite easy – however it takes quite a lot of flowers for a good crop. One flower will produce three strands or ribbons of saffron – so to get a pounds work (450g) you would need about 50,000-75000 flowers! So unless you have an acre of land…..

 

Saffron-field

If you’re planning on growing saffron for your own use however, 50-60 flowers will probably get you a tablespoons worth.

Saffron

Harvest by hand – even commercial growers have to harvest saffron by hand – that’s why it’s so expensive.

Harvesting-saffron-by-hand

The good news is thanks to crocus’ brilliant ability to naturalise –each year they will multiply and flower again giving you an ever increasing display – and stock of spice!

 

 

Autumn Flowering Crocus

 

Autumn Flowering Crocus
Autumn Flowering Crocus

 

Crocus Species (Winter/Spring Flowering)

 

Winter/Spring Flowering Crocus
Winter/Spring Flowering Crocus

 

Large Flowering Crocus

 

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Large Flowering Crocus

 

 

 

 

Daffodils & Narcissi

The Narcissi or daffodil as is it more commonly known, is one of the most recognisable perennial bulbs in the British garden, and has been for centuries. The joy that these simple to grow bulbs can bring is no more prominent that in the poem entitled “I wandered lonely as a cloud” by William Wordsworth where he stumbled across “a host of golden Daffodils”. The sight of Daffodil flowers dancing adds thoughts of joy and pleasure to the poet and to millions of British gardeners for centuries. Plant bulbs in the autumn for a superb spring show, ideal for borders, rockeries, pots on the patio, or even in hanging baskets.

Narcissus-Tete-a-Tete-2

Easy to plant

Daffodils are one of the easiest bulbs to have success with and are suitable for gardeners of all levels of experience. Plant at least 10cm deep or approximately three to four times the depth of the bulb. Space as desired or plant in clumps for a cluster display. Daffodils prefer a spot well sheltered from the wind, preferably with plenty of access to sun. Daffodils are best planted in well drained, fertile soil. It is important that you keep the soil moist during the growing season and allow the leaves to die back naturally before deadheading. They can be lifted and moved once the foliage has died off or they can be left to naturalise when planted in grass or under trees, where they can be left undisturbed for years.

 

Video-daffs

For more help on planting find our helpful step-by-step video tutorials with plant expert Jeff Turner.

 

Hardy Bulbs which can naturalise

 

Daffodils are a great choice as they are hardy perennial bulbs which will come back year after year. They are very simple to grow and will even naturalise if left undisturbed for years.

Narcissus-Cheerfulness-Yellow-Cheerfulness-edit

Wordsworth even makes reference in his famous poem to their ability to naturalise and multiply, as they stretch in a “never-ending line” along the fields and below the trees.

Peom-fine-and-faded

 

Daffodil Varieties

 

Cyclamineus Narcissi

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These dainty daffodils have small cups with swept back petals and usually flower in early spring. Perfect for en masse planting or a rockery.

 

Double Daffodils

Narcissus-Delnashaugh

Double Flowering Daffodils are cultivated for one or more flowers per stem and are perfect for creating that ruffled effect that stands out from the crowd. We have some great varieties available for flowering in early spring or mid spring. Double Daffodil and Narcissi bulbs are suitable for planting in autumn and flowers burst onto the scene in spring. Perfect for planting in a colourful border!

 

Indoor Daffodils and Narcissi

Narcissi-Avalanche-INdoor

Incredibly popular, these are specially treated so that they will flower during the winter months. If you get your timings right, you can have a fabulous Christmas display!

 

Fun Fact

Anniversary-flowers

Daffodils are the 10th year wedding anniversary flower.

 

 

Jonquilla Narcissi

Jonquilla-Narcissi

Sweetly scented daffodils that come in a great variety of shapes, sizes and colours.

 

Miniature Rockery Narcissi

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These dainty daffodils are fragrant and charming! A great choice for patio containers and pots, or the front of a border. Available in a range of golden yellow and traditional white Narcissi bulbs. Plant in autumn and wait for a colourful spring display.

 

Multi-headed & Triandrus Narcissi

Narcissus-Narcissi-Daffodil-Geranium

These can offer up to five pendants on each stem and a superb naturalising Daffodil perennial bulb. Browse our range below and plant in autumn. They make a great border Daffodil but are also suitable for planting in areas where little else grows such as under trees and woodland scenes.

 

Tall Daffodils & Narcissi

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Perfect impact plants for the border or rockery. Taller varieties can tower over miniature spring flowering bulbs and help create a colourful setting that can be appreciated and enjoyed by all.

 

Trumpet & Cupped Narcissi

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Cupped and Trumpet Daffodils produce an array of small or large sized cups (or coronoas as they are also known), perfect for all situations where the petals really do jump out at you.

 

Fun Fact

Daffodils-in-vase-cropped

Daffodils are poisonous – so don’t eat the bulbs and don’t arrange with other flowers without soaking them for 24 hours first.

 

Orchid Flowering Narcissi

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Breath-taking flowers that really do offer something a little different than traditional varieties. Orchid Daffodils propel a gorgeous split cup or cornona that gives the flower the appearance of being an orchid, hence their name. They are a great addition to any spring garden display and are also very effective as cut flowers. A real Jewel in the Daffodil bulb range.

 

Poeticus/Tazetta Narcissi

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Free flowering, these produce amazing shows in spring. Tazetta Daffodil bulbs can produce up to an amazing 20 small flowers per stem making them superb value and ideal for growing in border, rockeries and patio containers. Fragrant Poeticus Daffodil bulbs are great for naturalising and will create an abundance of small cups in a variation of colours with large white petals.

 


 

And the Winners are….

Winners-Banner

A huge congratulations to our competition winners!

We have had a phenomenal response to this year’s competition and the standards have been particularly high so a big thank you to everyone who entered – you made it very difficult for us to choose!

 

The Winners

Gold

Our Gold Prize of £100’s worth of J Parkers vouchers goes to Deborah Fox for this lovely group spring bulbs shot.

Deborah Fox
Deborah Fox

Silver

Our Silver Prizes of £50’s worth of J Parkers Vouchers go to Jenna Sanders for her crocus shot, and to Kim Fletcher for her Allium and Snail image.

Jenna Sanders
Jenna Sanders
Kim Fletcher
Kim Fletcher

Runners up

Our runners up will all receive a Bronze Prize of £25’s worth of J Parkers Vouchers. They are: Barry Roberts, Bellinda Ferretter, Hayley Bromley, Isabelle Johnson, Jay Rae, Patricia Baird and Teresa Sherman.

 

Once again a huge thank you to everyone who entered, you’ll be able to see lots more of the entries from this and previous years on our facebook and pinterest pages from next week.

 

July Plant of the Month – Geum

Geums

 

Geum blooming in the garden. Totally Tangerine

 

Geums were once a severely overlooked plant, often used to plug the gaps in a cottage garden scheme. But then suddenly everyone started noticing new bright, zesty flowers colours appearing all the time at flower shows boasting spectacular long flowering times turning these beauties into stars in their own right.

 

Geum Mrs Bradshaw. One of the most popular and well-known varieties. Holds an RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Geum Mrs J. Bradshaw. One of the most popular and well-known varieties. Holds an RHS Award of Garden Merit.

POTM-AGM

 

A fantastically useful plant, they are disliked by slugs and snails so are very useful deterrents in the garden. Boasting disease free foliage with a neat compact habit and the pretty flowers, they are a great addition to any display. The evergreen/semi evergreen foliage with is excellent for smothering weeds making them very useful groundcover all year.

 

Geum Totally Tangerine. Multiple award winning Geum, featured regularly at the Chelsea flower show. New bright and zesty colours making them suitable to star in the garden instead of juts filling the gaps!
Geum Totally Tangerine. Multiple award winning Geum, featured regularly at the Chelsea flower show. New bright and zesty colours making them suitable to star in the garden instead of juts filling the gaps!

 

Each stem produces lots of buds that will flower in succession, giving you a long summer display. Good for cutting but get the most out of them in the garden first.

 

Geum chiloense Lady Stratheden
Geum chiloense Lady Stratheden

 

New bright and zesty colours making them suitable to star in the garden instead of juts filling the gaps!

 

Geums are perfect for attracting butterflies and bees.
Geums are perfect for attracting butterflies and bees.

 

Geums don’t tend to come true when seed raised, which is why there are lots of interesting crosses out there so a great variety on offer.

 

Cocktail Geums

 

This beautiful Cocktail range of pastel coloured Geums are great for growing in pots with their neat habits and mature height of just 30cm.

 

Planting

 

POTM-Planting

 

Position: There are three different groups of cultivars rivale, coccineum and chiloense. The rivale have nodding, bell-like flowers. They like moisture retentive soils and prefer to grow in shade or semi shade. Coccineum are an alpine plant, flowering well after a cold winter and have upward facing flowers. The choloense are tall, sturdy plants producing large double flowers and can tolerate full sun as well as semi shade.

Soil and propagation: Geums like moisture retentive soils and will benefit from an annual mulching. Low maintenance but if you divide them when they start to loose growth from the middle they will last much longer, bringing years of pleasure. You can also take cuttings from the base in early spring.

They may succumb to powdery mildew at the end of the summer, just remove any affected stems. Prune back hard after flowering to give the foliage a boost for the rest of the year.

Companion Plants

 

Geums are very popular for Cottage Garden style designs and work really well with lots of perennials. Featuring a few well places Dahlias amongst your Geums will make them more of a colourful backdrop to the main event. Make them pop by paring the red, yellow and gold tones of geums against purples from Alliums or Pulmonaria. You can enhance the golden shades by planting daisy like Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Coreopsis or Helenium.

If you need good coverage in a shaded area why not try planting with Helleborus, which boast a similar stock of healthy evergreen foliage but will flower earlier in the year, giving you dashes of colour throughout the seasons as well as a constant lush green coverage.