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Think I agree about Parker's bulbs.....they have been ok. But the plants not so good.
Interesting to read about dicentras. I have spectabile ...alba and the regular pink n white and King of Hearts.
Valentine was almost a purchase but wondered if it was different enough to warrant it. You consider it a good plant? Burning Heart too? I would like to add a few more summer flowering dicentras and would appreciate your opinion on the best varieties.
Dicentra 'Valentine' has distinct attractive colours and for me it has a very strong constitution It is definitely worth getting
Some of my favourite Dicentra formosas are Stuart Boothman Pearl Drops and D.formosa alba
I've bought bulbs from Parkers and the odd plant that was reduced and haven't had any arrive in bad condition. I have also ordered from Sarah Raven (when the sales are on) and have also found bulbs and plants from here have been in very good condition, packed very well and no damage to the packaging. If anyone lives in the Spalding area there is a company called Butters (on a road called Kellett Gate) who sell bulbs, cut flowers, large and small plants, pots, etc. but for far less than some garden centres. And one company called Taylors have a sale of bulbs etc. for charity once a year at their factory.
Thanks roger. Will look to add to my stock with those varieties.
I have found their bulbs to be excellent. Some of the plants I have ordered have been very good but some do need a lot of cosseting. I'm hoping my recent batch (monardas) will take - I do have heavy clay soil and they are good for that - but we'll see. I have found that the 'free' bulbs that come with orders sometimes are past their 'sell-by' date (hence 'free') and thus only some actually come to fruition. It really does pay to go to good garden centres/nurseries if you want the best.
I have used Parkers wholesale for about 30 years, for two gardens in that time. Some things were not a success but that has also happened with other mail order/online nurseries I have used. I have used their hedging with great success and smaller plants settle and do well. I have a Yew hedge consisting of 90 plants from them and it is doing very well after 7 years of growth. The Amelanchiers, Acer dissectum,Cornus alba Siberica,Corylus avellana contorta, Euonymus europeaus, hydrangea limelight & Annabelle and Magnolia stellata are all thriving. With a brand new garden to fill , twice, I have used them for cheap, basic shrubs and have been satisfied with the plants and the service I have had from them. The bulbs - indoor and garden have also been very good. I am less happy with the perennial plants and would always buy these from Beth Chatto on line, proper nurseries ( not garden centres) and from HPS plant sales.
I only used them once but I bought over a thousnd bulbs and they're all coming up and some flowering already. I have had no concerns with them, though I did only buy bulbs because that's what they specialise in. I wouldn't go with Beth Chatto, because they say, if they don't have stock they will only refund an item it its value is over £10.00!?? No thanks. If you don't have it I expect not to have to pay for it no matter how much it was for!!!
If people review all the answers about parkers, they will find their bulbs and most of the shrubs do well.
The perennials are the problem, and their customer service leaves something to be desired.
I found Ashridge trees like that great for some things total pants for large trees and the customer service is second only to Basil Fawlty.
I have dealt with Parkers since the seventies, both commercially and privately. Their bulbs, as far as I am concerned. Couldn't be faulted. Last year or the year previous. I ordered some plants from them. I think it was lavendula that I ordered. Delivery was quick, well packed etc. Faults. Each plant was abosulutly saturated and appeared as if someone had attempted to queeze all the moisture ot. I potted them on. What a waste of time. With a few days, the whole lot had rotted away. I contacted them Full of apologise, followed by a freshy replacement order. 'B' me. These were exactly the same as the first lot. Never will I venture to buy plants from them. Bulbs yes! Especiall Liliums and tulips. Their bulbs are top size. You don't have to wait three years for them to attain flowering size. Where need be. I will continue to order selectively from them.
I have recently (November and then again last week) had 7 bare root roses from Parkers and even though I've been reading this thread with an increasing feeling of terror (!) I have to say that all the roses are doing really well, plenty of new growth and they look to be good strong healthy plants. Some acanthus arrived yesterday - OK, they are small, but they do look healthy with many green shoots. Yet to pass judgment on their monarda, phlox and dicentra - they arrived as tubers/roots and following advice on here I've potted them up for the time being so I hope they are busy doing their thing under that potting compost! I really hope they will all come good - I have spent quite a bit of money and so far, I have been impressed with the speed of delivery, the way they are packed and the (apparent) quality.