You ought to know that October is the first Spring month.

~ Karel Capek, The Gardener’s Year

Autumn has arrived! A time for digging and moving tender plants under cover before the first frosts arrive, planting bulbs, bare root trees and shrubs and raking up fallen leaves… October can be one of the wettest months of the year but after such a long dry summer I’m sure few will complain. Lawns will soon start to recover and water butts to fill.

October is the time for woodland walks, foraging and for the first log fires of the season. It’s also time for clearing and washing the greenhouse, of placing nets over ponds to keep out falling leaves and loads of other tasks.

 So, although autumn is here, don’t go getting too mellow, there’s still work to be done!

  • Plant garlic, either directly in the ground or in pots, and keep the area weed-free as it grows.
  • Winter salad leaves can now be sown along with other hardy veg such as peas and beans or winter cabbages.
  • Pull up and compost any remaining annuals. Replace them with winter and spring flowering Pansies, Wallflowers, Bellis and Primulas, not just in the garden but in containers too. Empty tubs are such a missed opportunity!
  • Spring flowering bulbs are still available to buy and to plant so make sure you have enough for a blaze of colour next year.
  • Tulips will be better for having had a late planting as it helps them to avoid fungal disease.
  • It’s time to bring inside any houseplants that have enjoyed summer in the garden. The sudden change in temperature and atmosphere may cause them to shed a few leaves. However, water sparingly and they’ll be fine.
  • October can bring strong winds so check your tree stakes are nice and firm. Moving anything flimsy undercover.
  • Improve the condition of your soil and add nutrients by sowing green manure – winter mix. This has to be one of the least labour intensive, most environmentally friendly and easiest method of improving next year’s crops.
  • Autumn is bare root season so now is the perfect time to order your fruit trees. The roots will work away below ground to get established, so by the time spring comes the trees will be ready to burst into growth.
  • And if the weather is truly rubbish and you need an excuse to wrap up warm inside, get one step ahead and plan your seeds for the 2021 season!

Secure Your Seeds For Next Year!

As the nation has become impassioned in the world of growing your own produce, seed sales have tripled this year for Dobies. New gardens and their keepers have sprung up everywhere, with some rekindling their passion whilst existing gardeners have simply grown more. This trend looks like it’s here to stay so make sure you secure your seeds for 2021 to avoid disappointment, while we keep up with the growing demand.

The Month Of The Calendula

The birth flower for October is Calendula (Pot Marigold) and its cheery blooms are loved by insects and gardeners alike. Calendulas can be used to help repel whitefly from around tomatoes and they can also attract aphids away from your bean plants; hoverflies, lacewings and ladybirds too!

Not only are they excellent to help control bugs but they are edible as well! Petals can be plucked and added to salads or dried to create ‘Poor Man’s Saffron’ perfect for colouring rice or to add to your baking for a natural yellow/orange shade.

… and 2021 is the Year Of The Calendula as named by Fleuroselect, so what better way to get things started than by introducing one of next year’s new varieties.

NEW Calendula Bulls Eye

The Calendula Bulls Eye are a very unique plant, producing beautiful pom- pom style flowers. These magnificent flowers will not only add fantastic frilly shapes to your flower beds and flower borders but add profusions of bright sunshine yellow colours too. These beautiful bright colours contrast well with the dark flower centres, where they get their namesake the Bull’s Eye.

Time For Sweet Peas!

October to early November is the ideal time for sowing sweet peas. The long growing period will enable strong root growth which will in turn produce vigorous top growth. Not only will autumn-sown sweet peas flower earlier than spring sown, the plants will be stronger, the flower stems longer and the blooms more abundant.

When sowing sweet peas rootrainers are perfect, but you can also use the inner cardboard tubes from toilet rolls. Use a standard seed compost and sow 2 or 3 seeds together. As they grow, don’t thin out but plant each grouping, when the time is right, as a small clump. Keep your sweet peas in a cold frame or cool greenhouse and pinch out the growing tips when the plants reach about 10cm, this will make the plants bushier and stronger. Plant out in mid spring and then just wait for those fabulous flowers.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration, why not look at our new sweet pea Fire & Ice. The seeds produce fantastic white, purple and pink flowers accompanied by a strong, yet sweet fragrance. This variety of sweet pea grows with longer stems making them perfect for container and patio pot displays. A Modern Grandiflora type that grows to a height of 151–200cm, you can train them to grow up decorative trellises, obelisks or even arches. Grow them in your flower beds and flower borders for a sweet-scented and colourful display.

Sweet Pea Fire & Ice

Recipe of the Month

Pumpkins and winter squash are synonymous with autumn and October in particular. Being muck loving plants they will have produced a good crop if grown in a sunny spot with plenty of manure. By October the fruits are mature and ready to be harvested, before the first frosts arrive.

Pumpkin Soup in Mini Pumpkin Bowls

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins


  • 700 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 kg pumpkin or squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • 150 ml double cream

Mini Pumpkin Soup Bowls

  • 4 mini pumpkins
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch salt & pepper


Pumpkin Soup

  • Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large sauce pan, then gently cook 2 finely chopped onions for 5 mins, until soft but not coloured.
  • Add 1kg pumpkin or squash, cut into chunks, to the pan, then carry on cooking for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally until it starts to soften and turn golden.
  • Pour 700ml vegetable or chicken stock into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins until the squash is very soft.
  • Pour 150ml double cream into the pan, bring back to the boil, then purée with a hand blender. For an extra-velvety consistency you can pour the soup through a fine sieve.
  • Add a handful of pumpkin seeds to the pan, then cook for a few mins more until they are toasted.

Mini Pumpkin Soup Bowls

  • Cut the lib off the top of the mini pumpkin and scoop out the inside of the bowl.
  • Brush the inside of the pumpkins lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  • Place the pumpkin bowls on a sheet pan and bake at 180°C for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the inside flesh of the pumpkin bowl is tender when pierced with a fork.
  • Let the pumpkin bowls cool slightly before filling them with soup. Add a splash of cream and roasted seeds for that finishing touch.

Veg Seeds To Sow This October

With autumn upon us and the weather becoming cooler, you could think it’s time to tuck the garden up for the year, but you couldn’t be more wrong! Get one step ahead by sowing hardy veg which will see you right through autumn, winter and into spring.  A little sowing now goes a long way!

Bean (Broad Bean) Seeds – Aquadulce Claudia

The Aquadulce Claudia is a long podded, white-seeded tasty broad bean that’s early to mature, Aquadulce Claudia is recommended for autumn and winter sowings throughout the U.K. for the earliest crops the following spring and summer.

Broccoli Seeds – Stromboli F1

Stormboli F1 first-class variety producing long, tasty, dark green florets. Resistant to blindness from autumn sowings. Sow successionally for a long harvest season.

Cauliflower Seeds – Snowball

Snowball produces cauliflower heads in late June from a greenhouse sowing in January. This Cauliflower variety is well tried and reliable. Summer/Autumn maturing. Heads late June from a greenhouse sowing in January. (20-26 weeks maturity.)

Vailan-Winter Gem

Enjoy the sweetness of ‘Gem’ type lettuce through the winter. The Vilan-Winter Gem is a hardy version of the popular ‘Little Gem’ variety that can be grown with only frost protection, so you can enjoy a steady harvest of tasty lettuce!

Broad Bean Seeds – De Monica

De Monica is a superb, early-maturing variety grows well in low daylight conditions, producing bountiful crops of 15cm (6″) long pods filled with 5-7 tasty, creamy-coloured beans per pod.

Leaf Salad Seeds – Winter Mix

Winter Mix is a leaf mixture that can be sown up to October outdoors, for picking leaves over winter, or sown through the winter under glass or on a windowsill.

Broad Bean Seeds – Imperial Green Longpod

Imperial Green Longpod produces pods some 38cm (15″) long, each containing up to 9 large green beans. We recommend this long podded, heavy cropping broad bean. Suitable for deep freezing. RHS Award of Garden Merit winner.

Cauliflower Seeds – Boris F1

Boris F1 has strong roots and a vigorous growth habit help this robust cauliflower to thrive in a range of soil types and difficult growing conditions. Very flexible – can be sown March-June or in October. Harvest end June-October. Recommended for deep freezing.

Onion (Spring) Seeds – Red & White Mix

A mix of red and white spring onion varieties – fast-maturing onions with excellent flavour to liven up summer salads. Sow successionally for continued cropping.

Offer Of The Month

Winter Bedding

As summer draws to an end, your existing bedding plants will start to lose their colour and flowering will stop. This means that it’s time to brighten up your borders, hanging baskets and patio pots with some winter bedding plants!

Autumn is the perfect time to plant your winter bedding plants out, which means planting them in their final flowering positions. Here they will establish and take over from your spent summer plants, offering fresh new flowers to enjoy.

Discover our range with our Ten Bedding Plants to Create a Beautiful Winter Garden or more information on how to plant out and look after your plants with our Guide To Winter Bedding.

Autumn/Winter Bedding Plant Collections

Garden Ready Winter Bedding Lucky Dip

On the shortest days of the year, what better way to brighten up your garden than with a lucky dip of 60 radiant Primroses and Polyanthus plug plants!

60 x Garden Ready Plus Plants £25     RRP £41.94  SAVE 40% Buy now

Our Selection of Winter/Spring Bedding

The perfect selection of 18 bedding plants for your winter/spring displays at a fraction of the cost! This lucky dip of plants is chosen at random from our amazing range.

18 x 9cm Potted Plants £22     RRP £36.00  SAVE 38%    Buy now

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