Category: wildlife

A fruitful Christmas

seasons greetings to Dobies readers

Seasonal Greetings to all Dobies readers

Unlike many ‘of the moment’ seasonal reports and newsy snippets that appear in the media around this time of year, this blog post is truly ‘live’, though somewhat late for Christmas Day. The intention was to have prepared words and pictures during a week that subsequently escaped me (pre-Christmas), and then all I had to do was just hit the ‘post’ button this morning. But that was before the ‘blog lady from Devon via the Cotswolds’ was struck down with some sort of incapacitating virus. You can work through some, but not others. Doubly infuriating, as the exceptionally mild days this last week were perfect for being out in the garden, ahead of new year resolutions. But I digress from my previously chosen topic. Fruit. Trees and bushes to order and plant in the next month or so. They add that extra dimension to any productive garden, augment the eco-value (surplus for birds – and birds eat unwanted grubs and insects), and – as I discovered from the leaflet supplied with one of my orders from the Dobies website – any fruit has the capacity to be turned into alcohol. Very Christmassy!

Continue Reading

Sunflowers – and Cupcake Heaven

So tempting!

I had no idea when walking into a room full of garden journalists a week ago that a tier of cupcakes was considered “the ultimate in contemporary cool”, but a centerpiece of realistic sunflowers had me intrigued. The occasion was to announce seeds and plants that would be appearing in the 2012 Dobies of Devon catalogue, due for release at the beginning of October.

Sunflowers: they make you smile, and bring sunlight and joy to a garden on even the dullest day. Most varieties are tall and need staking but are nevertheless a delight to wild-birds (watch them pecking out the ripe seeds from a spent flower-head and de-hulling the seeds to get to the edible heart or kernel).

Continue Reading

Summer harvest – and SPECIAL OFFER

extension to the potager

The extension to the potager had a problem – a blackbird that kept uprooting all the plants! Now solved – the raised bed is now backed with flower pots which will be shortly filled with spring flowering bulbs. The herb patch has been augmented with herbs that will self-seed, thus extending the intended natural look. (Note the spring greens and autumn lettuce in the raised potager bed – just one corner of it shows.

I’ve spent the last few days in our garden harvesting and preserving produce, taking stock of tasks that I really should do this autumn, and planning additions and changes to the various mini-plots within our acre. Not all will be achieved, I know, but one thing I must do immediately is to take advantage of a very special Dobies’ offer. Whether you want to stock up on flower seeds, order winter bedding plants or splash out on some gardening accessories, then make sure to claim your 10% discount by using the code DOBBANK11 at the basket stage. But HURRY, you only have until mid-day tomorrow  (Wednesday 31st), and the offer only applies to orders placed online.

Continue Reading

Your help URGENTLY needed


This is serious! There are two pieces of Parliamentary legislation currently under consideration, both of which will affect gardeners: allotments and wildlife protection / climate change. Please take a look at the following websites. We urge you to read and consider the implications, then if you wish, petition, email or whatever else is asked, to safeguard ourselves and our children, grandchildren and future generations.

Allotments: “The government has decided to undertake a ‘Review of statutory duties’ with the aim of reducing the burden on local authorities. However they are considering removing the statutory duty to provide sufficient number of allotments for people in the area who want one. This would have the effect of putting all allotments under threat. There is a consultation process but it closes on 25th April 2011 so you need to ACT NOW and let the politicians know that allotments are important and should be protected.” Written by John Harrison in his allotment diary. He urges you to email your comments before  next Wednesday to But if you don’t have time, sign the petition being organised by City Cottage.


Environment: On Monday, it was revealed that the government might scrap vital laws which protect wildlife and the countryside (the Wildlife and Countryside Act) and help to stop climate change (the Climate Change Act). “We need to work together to make sure our wildlife, our countryside and our planet are protected”, says the ‘people, power, change’ group, 38 Degrees. It only takes a few seconds to add your name to their petition. Just click here.

'The Therapeutic Garden' book

‘The Therapeutic Garden’


Writing personally, with tongue in cheek, and whilst acknowledging the severe lack of government funds (politics aside) – perhaps politicians don’t have time to garden! So probably they just don’t realise the benefits of growing our own food, being ‘green’; maybe as they “busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels”, they have lost the home plot, the garden plot. And they are probably unaware that gardeners save NHS costs, for gardening aids health. As author Donald Norfolk (a Fellow of the Royal Society of Health) wrote in ‘The Therapeutic Garden’: “dedicated to my green-fingered patients, who inspired me to write this book when I noticed that their love of gardening seemed to imbue them with an above average level of cheerfulness, contentment and physical fitness.” The book is a collection of fascinating and illuminating essays and well worth reading, whether you are a politician or not. Copies can be obtained second-hand from Amazon. (Just enter author and title.)

As ordinary ‘Jo Public’, and a gardener, your opinion DOES count. The public’s petitioning to save the sell-off of Forestry Commission woodland worked (via 38 Degrees), and the Government reversed their decision.