April Newsletter

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose, I would always greet it in a garden” Ruth Stout

Ruth Imogen Stout was an American author best known for her “No-Work” gardening books and techniques.

She adopted a year-round mulch technique which virtually eliminated the labour associated with traditional gardening- Her minimalist approach!

She wrote such titles as How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back (1955) and  I’ve Always Done It My Way. New York (1975).

We featured this quote in our newsletter last April, we wanted to share it with you again as it seemed so appropriate for many of us now.

In these unusual times, our gardens remain an oasis of calm, largely unaffected by the latest news. In April many of us are already taking  time out in our gardens as the most effective way of relaxing and switching off from the everyday troubles of the world and there is plenty of evidence to show gardening is good for our wellbeing too.  It’s likely that over the next couple of months , many of us will be spending more time at home and in our gardens than we might have expected . There are still many activities (let’s not call them gardening tasks or jobs!) to enjoy in the garden over the next few weeks – we have listed them below, together with some other fun activities, for gardeners of all generations to enjoy over this bank holiday period. 

We have understandably received a number of emails from customers regarding orders and deliveries as we are not maintaining our normal despatch times as I am sure you can appreciate – apologies.  We’ve updated our FAQ page which we hope you will find useful – here is a handy link should you need it! 

Gardening is one of the top 5 hobbies in the UK and a wonderful past time, whether you have an allotment, garden or a balcony. We recognise how important this hobby is to our customers so we can assure you we will continue to do all that we can to help you enjoy your garden!

Aubretia

If the weather allows you to do nothing else this month try and complete the following gardening jobs:

  • Sweet peas can be sown direct this month. No garden should be without some of these perfumed beauties.
  • Many seeds can be sown direct this month, but first check that your soil has warmed up. Sowing dates shown on seed packets are for guidance only and need to be adapted to local weather conditions.
  • If your sage is looking straggly then rejuvenate it by cutting to just above ground level. This will encourage fresh new shoots that will grow into a neater looking plant.
  • Late frost will kill off fruit blossom so keep some fleece handy. But do remember to remove it to allow pollinating insects access.
  • Seedlings in the greenhouse may struggle on sunny days so give them some shading. Carefully laying newspaper on them will do the trick.
  • Put supports in place for peas and beans, ready for planting out.
  • Plug plants potted on now and kept in the greenhouse will put on a glorious display this summer. Dobies’ colour themed collections are a perfect, and easy, way to fill your tubs and hanging baskets with colour.

Vegetables

  • Now is the time to sow direct carrots, peas, beetroot, winter cabbages, broccoli, salad crops and much more. Browse through our full range of vegetable seed.
  • Marrows, courgettes, pumpkins, squashes and tomatoes can all be sown in a heated greenhouse or propagator.
  • If frost threatens then pull some fleece over your potato foliage.
  • Plant onion sets when the soil is dry.
  • Make sure you’ve ordered your tomato plants.
  • If any rhubarb flowers appear then cut them out near the base as otherwise, they will steal food and energy from the plant.
  • If your asparagus beds are at least 2-years old then any spears can be cut using a sharp knife or better still, a made-for-purpose asparagus knife.

Flowers

  • Plant out your Autumn sown Sweet Pea seedlings or sow now direct in their final flowering position.
  • Dependant on the variety hardy annuals can be sown either indoors or outdoors, following the instructions on the packet. Have a browse through our range of flower seeds
  • Half-hardy flowers can be sown in trays and kept on a windowsill or in the greenhouse.
  • This may be your last chance to order young flower plants as many will be delivered in May so have a look at your garden plan and check for gaps.
  • Hanging baskets can be planted up and kept in the greenhouse while the plants grow on.
Dobies sweet pea flowers and seeds

Lawn Care

  • Rake out any dead moss with a scarifier and then fork over to improve drainage.
  • Apply lawn fertiliser.
  • Mow growing grass but keep the blades fairly high still.
  • Dig out any perennial weeds.
  • April is a great time for sowing new lawns and repairing bare patches. Dobies Premium Lawn Seed is the All-in-one solution to achieving the perfect lawn!

Easter Fun

Make A Bee Hotel

Make bees welcome in your home by crafting these fun and easy to make bee hotels. Simply hang this bee house in your garden and help the conservation of our native bees.

Start by using a clean tin can, opened at both ends and thread through a length of garden string so that you can hang up your bee hotel. Next up you need to fill your frame. You can either use hollow plant stems or bamboo canes, but if you do not have either of those you can use paper or card. Either use a piece of thin card or a few sheets of paper and wrap round a pencil and secure with a bit of tape. Make sure your paper rolls are smaller than the length of your can to give protection from the rain. Add some twigs sticks or straw to offer a home for other insects too! If you want to get creative you can decorate the tin can with some bright colours to attract bees to their new home. Finally, choose a location for your hotel, an open sunny spot is best, and secure so it doesn’t move around in the wind. A really great way to teach children about the importance of bees!

Perfect for leaf-cutting bee
Perfect for the leaf-cutting bee (see the bamboo cane in which the bee has laid eggs, closed with a perfectly cut leaf-roundel)

Sunflower Race

Challenge your friends and family to grow the tallest sunflower this year! Sunflowers are super easy to grow and are loved by bees and butterflies. The seeds can be sown straight into the ground where they are going to flower or into a pot. Make sure the space you are using is sunny and weed-free, place the seed in a little hole and cover up with soil – don’t forget to water the seeds gently! You may need some canes for when they get really tall. A great first project in the garden for children and adults alike!

Garden Art

  • Get creative with nature this Easter weekend:
  • Make some garden markers by painting rocks and stones with your favourite veggies – you can do these for your flower beds too!
  • Design Easter cards or wall art using leaves, flowers, twigs and any leftover seeds and add a bit of paint for some extra colour. Check if any local nursing homes are looking for children to send art to their residents – it will brighten their Easter and put a big smile on their face.
  • Spruce up old flower pots by painting them with lovely bright colours.
  • Grow a sweet pea or bean teepee! Use old canes to create the shape of your teepee, secure with garden string and grow your favourite climbers to create your canvas.