Month: May 2019

June Newsletter

“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.”

~James Dent

After a seemingly endless winter and disappointingly cold spring, summer has finally arrived! Cold nights and cheeky late frosts have ended, and we can throw open doors and windows, bringing the outside in. Hopefully.

Now is the time to plant out summer bedding, to keep lawns looking tidy and to deadhead bedding and perennial plants, thus keeping them flowering. And the really good news is that, if you haven’t done so already, you can now cut back those straggly and yellowing daffodil leaves without doing any harm to next year’s display!


Sedum Atlantis – Crowned by Chelsea

We are delighted to announce that Sedum Atlantis has been crowned as the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2019 Winner!

David and Suttons' award-winning Sedum Atlantis at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Sedum Atlantis is a plant for our times…drought tolerant, suitable for small spaces and attractive to bees. Its striking foliage forms rosettes of serrated green leaves with thick, creamy margins and tips that turn a pink blush in the autumn. The pink-tinged flower buds open to bee magnet yellow flowers.

The new leaves emerge in a beautiful creamy white, before developing into an attractive green with striking white borders and gradually forming a half metre wide cushion of drought-resistant leaves. To top it off, this plant then covers itself with a foam of bee and butterfly magnet yellow flowers from July through to September. Sedum Atlantis is a dramatic and versatile garden plant.

Versatile and happy in a hanging basket, window box, pot, rockery or border, this winning plant is available to order now.


dobies gardening jobs to do for april
  • Continue to remove the side shoots from cordon tomato plants
  • Harden off any indoor grown plants ready for planting out in prepared soil. Those that have already been sitting in a cold frame will be ready to go
  • Give broad bean plants support and check for signs of black-fly. Remove any growing tips where you find evidence of this pesky pest
  • Grass cuttings can be spread thickly on veg beds after watering to act as a mulch
  • New potatoes will be ready for lifting. They don’t store as well as main-crop varieties, so lift just enough for a meal at a time. Now, where did I plant that mint?
  • Summer bedding can be planted out, pots can be filled and hanging baskets placed in position
  • Cut back yellowed foliage from spring bulbs but mark where they are so you don’t dig them up by mistake
  • I know, I know, we haven’t had summer yet however it really is time to order your Dobies Autumn and Winter Veg Plants


What To Sow Now

Seeds to sow June 2019 Dobies Newsletter










Sowing little and often is the key to ensuring a continual supply of veg and of avoiding a glut. So instead of sowing a whole packet spread it out over a few weeks. The following seeds can all be sown this month:


The first beetroot will be ready to harvest this month. When small and young the globes are so much tastier than the big old woody ones that are only good for pickling.

Dating back to the Romans, beetroot has contributed much to culinary history, not least of which is the fact that it brought us sugar. Today we tend to link beetroot to pink-stained fingers and an earthy flavour, but it can also help us to run faster! Back in 2016, Exeter University conducted research which proved that drinking a glass of beetroot juice before running 20 metres improved an athlete’s time by 2 per cent! Just hope they didn’t spill any on their nice clean running vests.

Only eating beetroot in its pickled form is almost a crime, as it’s delicious flavour can be enjoyed in so many other ways:

  • Grate raw beetroot and combine it with grated raw carrot and top with a citrus dressing for a zingy salad
  • Peel, brush with olive oil and roast either whole or in chunks to serve with puy lentils and halloumi for a gutsy dish
  • Boil and mix with chocolate, flour, eggs, sugar, etc to make a deliciously moist chocolate cake
  • Even the leaves are tasty when picked small and young, and added to a mixed leaf salad

Beetroot works well with:

Carrot                   Apple                    Ginger                  Chocolate                  Olive oil

Lentils                   Feta                       Halloumi               Walnut                      Yoghurt


Hoe, Hoe, Hoe

On a recent edition of Radio 4’s Gardener’s Question Time, the panel was asked which of their garden tools they would save from a shed fire. The hoe came out a clear winner which really is no surprise. A sharp hoe, wielded with care, can rapidly smarten up any vegetable garden whilst saving knees and backs. Choose a dry, sunny day and leave the weed casualties to dry out before raking them up and adding them to the compost heap.


Greenhouse Growing

At this time of year your greenhouse will live up to its “hot house” name and doors and windows need to be kept open to encourage whatever airflow exists. Shade can be created by applying white shade paint direct to the glass (it easily washes off come autumn) or by fixing newspaper, fleece or similar to the glass with clips. If any plants do show signs of heat stress, then drape some fleece over them until they recover.

Hosing down the greenhouse path will help to raise humidity levels.

The temptation is to cram in as many heat-loving veggie plants as possible but remember, tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, chillies, etc. all need room to breathe and to expand, so no touching!

Maintain a consistent watering and feeding regime, taking into account that some plants will need more than others. And always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding dilution.


Offer of the Month

To celebrate another wonderful year at the Chelsea Flower show, we are delighted to offer our Chelsea Favourites Collection at a very special price.

Add a touch of Chelsea to your outside space with our selection of classic perennials inspired by the show. This selection of 6 perennial varieties (3 of each) will bring colour and height to your borders and containers, not only this year but next year as well.

Varieties include Coreopsis Sunkiss, Rudbeckia Goldsturm, Geum Mrs Bradshaw, Lupin Russell Hybrid, Verbena Bonariensis and Heuchera Palace Purple, which are all familiar sights in the gardens of Chelsea, making them key to creating a look inspired by the show.

Chelsea Favourites Collection | WAS £51 – NOW £36!

Add some flavour to your garden with our Chelsea edibles

With an emphasis on wellbeing, this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show is highlighting the benefits of growing for goodness and the ways our gardens can benefit mind, body and soul. There’s never been a better time to get your garden working hard to fill those dinner plates, and we love the satisfaction of stepping outside to harvest the fruits (or veg!) of our labour.

The humble homegrown veg has appeared in several of the show’s gardens and displays so far this week, inspiring gardeners of all ages to grow their own goodness. Tom Dixon and IKEA have teamed up to bring grow-your-own to the heart of city living in their ‘Gardening Will Save the World Garden’.

This attention-grabbing garden explores traditional methods of planting, alongside more futuristic growing systems. We love the displays of crates planted full of edible plants, grown to maximise yield from a small space. Intent on inspiring a new generation of gardeners to give growing their own a go, this urban garden highlights that when it comes to growing, it’s not about plot size.

We’re proud to see our very Lettuce Drunken Woman (from Rob Smiths’ range of Heritage Veg) and the beautiful Chard Bright Lights featured at the show too, and we’re passionate about championing the advantages of an edible garden that’s literally good enough to eat!

We’ve put together two veg collections to help fill your veg patch (or get you started), so you can save on a selection of our best-loved veg.  Choose from 3 potted plants for only £6 or save on brassica super plugs at just £6 per pack. Whichever you go for, Chelsea’s a great excuse to save on some of our most popular veg plants and plugs!

How Chelsea’s creating a buzz about bees

We were excited enough about Chelsea already, but when we saw the beautiful sculpture championing bees designed by McQueens Flowers, we were thrilled. We’ve been working hard to introduce ranges and collections that are perfect for attracting pollinators to our gardens, so we’re so pleased to see the experience created from bee-friendly flowers called Per Oculus Apum (Through the Eyes of Bees).

To celebrate Chelsea’s nod to our pollinating friends, our Bee-rilliant Collection combines 18 beautiful potted plants perfect for welcoming busy bees to your outside space. We’ve made it easier than ever to make your garden a buzzing bee haven with a mixture of varieties to fill your beds and borders with colour and fragrance.

Over at Chelsea, McQueens’ sculpture inspires visitors to experience the world through the eyes of bees, and it’s made from bee-friendly varieties native to the UK. It’s well worth going to take a look if you’re visiting RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week, and you’ll be able to create your own bee-friendly displays with our fabulous Bee-rilliant collection.

Image  courtesy of RH / Neil Hepworth

The Bee-rilliant Collection includes 18 x 9cm potted plants for just £60. The collection includes 3 each of the following varieties: Lavender Hidcote, Allium Millenium, Coreopsis Sunkiss, Leucanthemum Dwarf Snow Lady, Stokesia Blue Star and Erigeron Sea of Blossom. Click here to order yours. 

It's Chelsea Chop Time

The Chelsea Chop Explained

Mid to late May is the perfect time of year to treat your garden to a traditional Chelsea Chop, and the Dobies gardeners have been showing us how it’s done up at our Devon growing fields. The Chelsea Chop is a clever trick used by gardeners at around the same time as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show each year, which results in extended flowering periods for many perennials.

Carrying out the Chelsea Chop

The Chelsea Chop can be used on a wide range of perennials, and the closer to flowering you do your chop, the longer you’ll delay those blooms. Using shears or secateurs, chop back your perennial plant to up to a third. If you complete the Chelsea Chop on some of your garden’s perennials, you’ll delay their flowering period to begin as the first ones to bloom begin to finish – embracing successional flowering in your outside space.

If you have more than one clump of the same variety, why not chop back some and leave others to lengthen the plant’s overall flowering period? If you’re keen to extend the flowering season rather than to delay it, just cut half the front stems back and leave the rest.

Herbaceous perennials can be trimmed down by half as much with fantastic results. For one thing, your plants will look more compact, which means they’ll require less staking and you’ll enjoy lots of smaller, but equally beautiful, flowers.

Chelsea chop advice Dobies Spear & Jackson

Perfect your Chelsea Chop with 15% off Spear & Jackson’s Kew Gardens Collection. Click here to shop the range. 

dobies may newsletter national gardening week

May Newsletter

A recent “what’s your favourite month” poll amongst a few colleagues confirmed May as the clear winner. Increased sunshine, trees greening up, flowers blooming, birds singing, bees buzzing, etc were all given as reasons. Hedgerows will be covered in clouds of snowy hawthorn and elderflower blossom meaning that now is the time for making elderflower cordial and champagne. Perfect for those long sunny afternoons of the now not too distant summer.

As if all that isn’t enough, we’re currently in the grip of National Gardening Week! Run annually by the RHS, this year’s theme is ‘Edible Britain’, and we’re celebrating with some fantastic offers on veg, flowers, equipment and more. There’s never been a better time to roll your sleeves up and get growing, and if you’re already a seasoned grower you can mark the event with savings on everything from grafted veg to fabulous foliage!

The “hungry gap” has now ended and May sees food once again being available, fresh from the garden. Asparagus, broad beans, radish, salad leaves and herbs will all be ready for harvest. These goodies will create space for runner beans, cauliflowers, peas, spinach, etc.

And when you need a rest from all that gardening, you can reach for the new 92-page bumper Dobies Summer Catalogue 2019, offering:

  • New and exclusive perennial flower plants
  • A taste of the Med on your summer patio
  • Super-sized flower plants for as little as £5 a plant
  • Summer bedding, including Pick & Mix
  • Grafted potted veg plants
  • Windowsill veg
  • Kitchen herbs and growing ideas
  • Fruit trees and plants
  • Plus loads more, including an Outdoor Living 30-page pull-out special

Order a free copy here or browse & buy directly from our new-look online catalogue.

National Gardening Week Offers

It’s officially National Gardening Week, and we’ll be celebrating over the next four 

days with some fantastic special offers. You’ll find deals on everything from flower plants to equipment, which provide the inspiration to get you back in the garden this May.

Tomato Success Kit 3 FREE Plants – These planter/frames are a great way of maximising your tomato harvest, enabling you to grow up to four plants for every metre – perfect for gardens or greenhouses with little space. With a built-in support frame and a 2 litre water reservoir, watering and training is simple and gives your plants the best possible chance to produce lots of tasty fruit!

18 Fabulous Foliage plants for £60 – beautiful foliage plants are right on trend because they’re great for adding texture to your borders and filling in those pesky gaps in your displays. This collection will include some of our popular foliage varieties, mixing shapes, colours and varieties for that standout look. 

dobies gardening jobs to do for april
  • Many veg seeds can be sown direct, with supports having been put in place first for climbing varieties such as beans
  • Veg plants raised indoors can be gradually hardened off, ready for planting out.
  • Keep earthing up those potatoes. As the shoots show just gently hoe some soil over them to act as a dark blanket, protecting the tubers from frost.
  • Remember that your plants need bees and try to include as many pollinating plants as possible
  • Weed, weed, weed. The weed again! Getting on top of the weeds now will be a great help come summer.
  • Vine weevil is your major enemy this month so consider using Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer or prepare to spend your evenings outside, picking them off by hand.
  • Onions and garlic planted last autumn will start to swell now so keep them weed free and well-watered
  • Deadhead tulips and give both them and any daffodils a feed.
  • New lawns can be sown or turfed this month but do remember to frequently water.
  • Those tender plants that you’ve kept under glass over-winter can now be hardened off and then moved outside but do take it slowly! Citrus trees, olives, fuchsias, etc will all need to be gradually acclimatised and toughened up.
  • Once they’ve finished flowering prune your spring flowering shrubs, such as Forsythia, Ribes and Spiraea. This will help maintain a nice shape and will encourage flowering for next year.
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Many of us like the idea of eating seasonally but I wonder how many actually do. Of course, if you grow your own fruit and veg then you will be eating what you grow but chances are you still buy some extras. Yet the one food that many people only tend to eat when it is in season is asparagus. And some, like me, gorge on it!

Asparagus tips make a healthy alternative to toasted soldiers for dipping in soft boiled eggs and poached eggs but are also delicious roasted. Simply snap off the tough end of the stalk and place the tip on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and chopped thyme or mint. Then roast in a hot oven for about 5 minutes until lightly charred. Gorgeous.

Asparagus and wild garlic are a good match and make a fine risotto. Or simply eat your asparagus spears raw in a green salad dressed with olive oil, lemon or orange zest and juice and chilli.

Instead of discarding the tough bottom end of the spear use them to make a rich stock. Perfect for that asparagus and wild garlic or pea risotto and for soup.

If there is one negative about asparagus it is the resulting smelly urine. So why does asparagus make some people’s pee smelly but not others. Such important information clearly needs to be shared widely so, here it is, courtesy of Modern Farmer.

“Scientific study has confirmed why some individuals don’t notice the uniquely pungent urine experienced by others after eating asparagus: The sulfurous compounds in asparagus pee are highly correlated with a condition called “specific anosmia,” the genetic inability to smell certain odors. In an infamous blind smell test, 328 individuals were subjected to the odor of a man’s urine after he had eaten asparagus. The majority of those who had experienced asparagus pee themselves were able to correctly identify the substance, while those that claimed their urine did not smell strangely after consuming asparagus were not.”

British asparagus is only around for a few weeks as it needs to be left to build its reserves ready for next year’s crop. So, enjoy it whilst it’s available. And don’t worry about your pee.

Asparagus works well with:

Lemon             Mint                Peas                 New Potatoes           Butter

Eggs                 Bacon          Mushrooms     Parmesan            Pine Nuts

Broad beans    Garlic              Chorizo                 Pesto                 White wine

Super Petunias

Petunias of old gave a wonderful splash of colour to the garden but suffered with summer rain and looked less than wonderful when they succumbed to mildew. But things have moved on and new to 2019 we have “Super Petunias”, a new generation of petunia/calibrachoa hybrids to give stunning weather-resistant displays throughout the summer.

An intergeneric hybrid between petunias and calibrachoas, Dobies Super Petunias combine the best features of both, with a superb compact-medium mounded habit and large flowers, making them the ideal choice for pots and patio containers. The flowers are textured and strong, and the large, weather-resistant plants recover from rain much faster than standard petunias. Being non-sticky, another benefit is that they are more pleasant to deadhead than normal petunias!

Available in 5 individual colours or as a collection, these plants will look fabulous as a single colour in a container or as a striking colour combination in a pot or in the garden. Click here to view our full range of Super Petunias.

Photo Competition

Customers often send in photos of the fabulous summer displays they have created with Dobies plants and so we thought we’d make a competition of it. For a chance to win £100 worth of Dobies vouchers simply take a photo of your display and enter it into one of the following categories:

  • Floriferous Blooms. In this category, we’re looking for the most colourful, vibrant flowers packed with beautiful blooms
  • Unusual & Quirky. We all love to see something a little bit different so please share, share, share.
  • Clever use of space. Here we’d love to see ways in which you make the best use of those tricky outside spaces.

Click here for more details and terms & conditions.