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
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.
- 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.
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
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.
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.