May Newsletter

May 1, 2020

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” – Alfred Austin.

Alfred Austin (30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913) was an English poet who was appointed Poet Laureate in 1896.

Gardening as Alfred Austin says is good for the soul.  Whilst we have all been adjusting to a new way of living – the positives are that we have been able to spend more and more time in our gardens or allotments.  For many of us that works wonders for our physical health as well as our mental well being.

There is nothing like the satisfaction from accomplishment, that comes with growing.  No fruit or vegetables ever taste better than the ones that are “homegrown” and it looks like there are an awful lot more people joining in. 

We have seen many new customers coming to our website, experienced gardeners who may not have been able to buy from their local garden centre and are trying on line ordering for the first time – or many who now find that they have time for gardening … and want to give it a go!  

It’s always been somewhat of a tradition to pass on knowledge from the more experienced to the new starter and we expect many of you are being asked for gardening know how! 

We believe from the amount of lettuce and sunflower seeds being purchased that there are probably many who also want some quick results and looking for activities to enjoy with children! 

We expect that some of you may have more time than usual to enjoy our newsletter and also maybe some of those new gardeners to share it with  – so we have put together a bumper edition.  Not only do we “tactfully remind” everyone as ever of the jobs to be done – to fill our days – but also we are delighted to support the RHS in their virtual “Chelsea Show this year” and we’ve added on a couple of competitions for some enjoyment in the garden in May – weather dependent! 

We are also supporting the 75th Anniversary of VE Day with a special article written by Matthew Biggs, a professional gardener for over 40 years and regular panelist on BBCs Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time.

We are working harder than ever to fulfil all of our customer orders as quickly as possible – we thank you all for the patience you are showing. 

Happy Gardening

From the Dobies Team

Jobs To Do This Month

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.

  • 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.

Virtual RHS Chelsea Flower Show

As you may already know, sadly the RHS Chelsea Flower Show had to be cancelled for the first time since World War Two.  

However, the nation’s favourite gardening experts will return to the BBC for the Virtual RHS Chelsea Flower Show! 

From the 18th-23rd May the BBC will provide special programming celebrating the world-renowned show fronted by Sophie Raworth, Joe Swift, Nicki Chapman and Monty Don! 

You’ll also get gardening advice and tips from the Chelsea Flower Show team’s much-admired experts including Adam Frost, Carol Klein, Rachel De Thame, Toby Buckland, Mark Lane, France Tophill and Arit Anderson. 

Each morning the show will kick off with a tour from one of the world’s leading garden designers, florists or gardening personalities of their own private gardens. Here they’ll be sharing their top design tips, favourite planting combinations and gardening trends with virtual visitors. These leading growers will also host daily potting bench demonstrations, sharing specialist plant expertise, growing techniques and tips on how to keep plants happy and healthy. 

RHS Chelsea Plant Of The Decade

Sadly, the Plant Of The Year competition has also been cancelled, however you can still see our “would have been” 2020 nominations and their wonderful stories online. Our Jacaranda Bonsai Blue and Limonium Dazzle Rocks (replace with this -would both have been )were both entries and will now be our nominations for 2021, along with any others .  

This year the RHS celebrates a decade of the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year competition with winners from the last 10 years. Many have become garden favourites and been sold in astounding numbers many of which are available to buy on the Dobies site! 

This year for the first time the show will also offer an opportunity for viewers to get involved as there will be an online vote for the Garden of the Decade and we believe this will be extended to Plant of the Decade too, but we wait to hear more from the RHS. 

Dig For Victory – 75th Anniversary of VE Day

“More precious than gold to those lucky enough to get a pound of me. That was because you relied on having me brought to you from abroad. Yet if women and older children, as well as men, are sensible enough to Dig for Victory now, you can have me ALL THE YEAR ROUND for only the cost of a packet of seed” – Homefront Food propaganda poster ‘Dig for Victory’. WW2

On Friday 8th May we celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day and to mark the day, Matthew Biggs has written an article for Dobies that looks into the origins and success of the ‘Dig For Victory’ campaign set up during WWII by the British Ministry of Agriculture.

He says, “Now there was a war to be waged on the Home Front; the fight to feed the nation. On 12th September 1939 a ‘leader’ in the London Evening Standard, by young journalist, Michael Foot, concluded with the phrase ‘Dig For Victory’. It rapidly became a rallying cry for all.

 There was an urgent need to educate the public and encourage them to ‘get gardening’. The Royal Horticultural Society began lectures and demonstrations, a plethora of pamphlets, books and booklets were produced, Mr Middleton broadcast gardening advice on BBC radio at 2.00pm on Sunday afternoons.”

In these unprecedented and uncertain times growing your own fruit and veg is so beneficial – from saving money, reducing food waste and your environmental impact, to improving your physical and mental health through gentle outdoor exercise.

For more information, look out for ‘Dig For Victory’ email newsletter and blog post next week!

Customer Update & Link To FAQs

Thank you to all our customers for your patience whilst we work hard to fulfil the current increased volume of orders for seeds plants and gardening equipment.

We are aware how important it is that we despatch orders as quickly as possible so that customers are able to make the most of the time in their gardens. I’m sorry that we’ve not been able to deliver your products as quickly as we would like to. Our staff are working incredibly hard, 7 days a week to despatch goods as quickly as possible whilst also observing government hygiene guidelines.

We are frequently updating our FAQs to include where we are up to with orders and despatch times. Click here to view https://www.dobies.co.uk/customer-services.htm