Author: Lis Wallace

August Newsletter

Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.

~ Henry James

Let’s hope for a sunny August where we can throw open the doors and windows making the house and garden fully open to each other. Sure, there’s still some gardening jobs to be done but they involve no strenuous labour. The top priority is to water, water, water, whilst the sun is shining and the days are warm and dry.

August is a time of plenty and when it comes to tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and of course courgettes, it is often a time of glut. While vegetables are best eaten fresh, jams, pickles and chutneys will help with any glut of varieties that have enjoyed the growing conditions this year.

Our piccalilli recipe below will provide you with a healthy and delicious accompaniment for the longer winter months ahead – and you can throw in just about any vegetable in the mix! Most of all, don’t forget to sit back, relax and browse through our NEW 2020 Bulb Catalogue…

  • Water, feed, deadhead. Water, feed, deadhead. And keep repeating.
  • Parsley and other herbs sown now will mean that you have a fresh supply for the winter
  • Aubergines will be ready this month. Pick them when they are firm and nice and shiny
  • Continue picking sweet peas and removing any seed heads. Also mulch, feed and water. They’ll be finished all too soon.
  • Keep an eye on the level of water in your pond and top up from the hose when necessary. This will also help to oxygenate the water.
  • Pruning your wisteria this month will not only tidy it up but will also divert its energy from producing tendrils to producing flower buds for next year.
  • Some hardy annuals can be sown now, direct in their flowering positions meaning early flowers next spring/summer.
  • Salad leaves can be sown this month, in fact keep sowing and you’ll be eating salad all year round.
  • Continue to remove side-shoots from tomato plants and boost ripening by giving high potash feed.
  • Harvest beans, courgettes, potatoes, cucumbers, salad leaves, aubergines, etc, etc as soon as they are ready. Home-grown meals eaten outside with friends and family are one of the highlights of summer.

Seeds to Sow in August

Sowing vegetables in August is all about those fast-growing varieties. Think speedy salads and winter wellness, as there are many veg that come into their own at this time of year when the weather can be a little cooler.

If you plan carefully, the veg you sow in August will grow into those autumn dinners for the family, so it’s time to start sowing cabbages, chard, salad mixes, radishes and turnips. Cover cabbages and chard with a cloche to protect them, and you’ll be rewarded with homegrown veg in time for winter.

View Our Veg Seeds To Sow In August

NEW 2020 Bulb Catalogue

Our 2020 Bulb Catalogue is out soon! Featuring autumn and spring flowering bulbs, winter bedding, perennials, winter cropping veg and more.

Here are a few highlights from the catalogue…

On The Cover – Back to Nature

To help you get back to nature, you can now create a mini haven in your own space at home with our brilliant bulb collection! These popular flowers will give a natural and informal look to your garden, with floral displays that you can enjoy for years to come. From pretty English Bluebells to delicate snowdrops, by planting natural plant varieties you will be helping wildlife and attracting vital pollinators in your garden.

Spring Bulbs

A wonderful array of varieties and colours that will look stunning in pots, containers and borders. You’ll find bulbs by variety such as Tulips, Daffodils and Hyacinths… Plus exclusive bulb mixes, colour themed bulbs, our Pick & Mix for £5 a pack offer and lots more!

This year why not try our Bulb Starter Kit – everything you need to get your bulbs off to a great start for only £39.95 (saving £24!).

All Year Round Colour

Who says your garden can’t look spectacular all year round? Don’t let the dreary UK winters get the better of you and your garden, make sure your flower beds look breath-taking all year. Our winter bedding must-haves will flower from autumn until late spring, providing you with gorgeous colours in the cooler, darker months. 

Keep Cropping Through Autumn & Beyond!

Come late August you’ll have started to harvest some of your summer veg and you’ll have empty spaces to fill. Why not fill them with some our later planting crops which we’ve grown on for you in larger pots, ready to plant straight into your garden.

#GrowWithDobies Update

With only 10 days left of our Grow With Dobies Competition we would love for more of you to get involved and show us how you have used your garden or small space as best as possible to grow amazing crops, whether that is flowers or fruit and veg. We know that with growing your own fruit and veg comes much pride and satisfaction and what better way to showcase the fruits of your labour than recognising your hard work and the wonderful produce you have grown through lockdown.

We have 4 categories for you to enter your amazing photos: Growing with Family, Small Spaces Growing, Rustic & Repurposed Gardens, Growing for the first time. We’ll choose one winning image from each category and its owner will receive a £50 Dobies Gift Voucher to spend online.. Hurry the competition closes on the 10th August!

Submit your image here or via social media. Click here for more info and T&Cs.

Here are a few current entries to give you some inspiration.

National Allotment Week

This year’s National Allotment Week is ‘Growing Food for Health and Well-being’, a reflection of the many benefits of growing, cooking and eating your own fruit and vegetables.

The week runs from 10th – 16th August and this year they would like plot-holders to enter their NAW Competition which asks to produce videos and storyboards about your allotment story.

The 3 categories for the competition are:

  • “What my allotment means to me” for individuals (16 years upwards) –  £100 prize – NAS members, non-members free NAS membership plus £50
  • “The history of our site” or “Our site’s projects and plans for the future” for associations – £200 prize – NAS members, non-members free association membership up to the value of £200
  • “What I grow at the allotment” for children (up to 16 years)- £50 prize

National Allotments Week started in 2002 as a way of raising awareness of allotments and the role they play in helping people to live healthier lifestyles, grow their own food, develop friendships and bolster communities.

To celebrate the 18th year of National Allotment Week we’ve got a fantastic offer on our Autumn / Winter cropping veg plants with 36 plants for only £36! – perfect for sharing with friends and family on the allotment or in your garden.

Make Your Own Piccalilli At Home

Perfect Piccalilli Recipe

This sweet vegetable pickle is perfect for an August harvest, when garden produce is at its peak and there is plenty to spare. This delicious preserve can be made using almost any vegetable but is best with varieties that are crisp and green.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time1 d
Total Time1 d 1 hr


  • 30 g Cornflower
  • 10 g Tumeric
  • 10 g English Mustard Powder
  • 15 g Yellow Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Crushed Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Crushed Coriander Seeds
  • 50 g Honey
  • 600 ml Cider Vinegar
  • 1 kg Fresh veg


  • Wash, peel and chop up 1kg of fresh vegetables such as cauliflower, green beans, cucumbers, courgettes, tomatoes, carrots, shallots or peppers. The secret to a successful piccalilli is to take the time to cut your veg into small, similar sized pieces.
  • Place in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and leave in a cool place for 24 hours. After this you’ll need to rinse the veg with cold water and drain.
  • Blend 30g of cornflower, 10g turmeric, 10g English mustard powder, 15g yellow mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon each of crushed cumin and coriander seeds. Add a dash of cider vinegar to create a smooth paste.
  • Put 600ml of cider vinegar, 150g of granulated sugar and 50g of honey into a pan and bring to a boil. Pour a little of this mix onto your paste, stir well and add the paste to the full pan of your vinegar, sugar and honey mix.
  • Boil for 3-4 minutes to release the spices and thicken the sauce.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and fold you mix into your vegetables, then immediately pack the pickle into sterilised jars.
  • Leave for 4-6 weeks and use with a year


The recipe makes 3 x 340g jars.

Offer Of The Month

Cottage Garden Lucky Dip

18 x 9cm Potted Plants For Only £30 – Save £42!

  • The perfect selection of perennial plants for your summer displays.
  • 9cm potted plants ready to be planted straight into pots & border for instant colour.
  • At a fraction of the cost this perennial plant selection is a great lucky dip of plants!
  • Plants are chosen by our expert team on our Devon nursery.
  • Immediate Despatch For Instant Displays!

The Back To Nature Collection

There are many emotional and physical benefits to gardening and spending time out of doors. You can now reap the benefits with our Back to Nature Collection.

At RHS Chelsea, the Duchess of Cambridge’s ‘Back to Nature’ garden was designed as a tranquil place to retreat from the world. It was a place to play, learn, explore and create special memories. Against a naturalist backdrop of wild trees, shrubs and plants in a cool calm colour palette. 

You can now create a mini haven in your own space at home with our brilliant bulb selection! 

These popular perennials will give a natural and informal look to your garden. With floral displays that you can enjoy for years to come. From pretty primulas to lovely Lily of the Valley (and everything in between). By planting natural plant varieties you will help wildlife and attract pollinators to your garden.

Our favourite Back to Nature varieties

Leucojum aestivum Bulbs – Summer Snowflake

Reminiscent of the well-loved snowdrop. Leucojum has up to 8 delicate white flowers per stem. White bell-shaped flowers with green tips. Known as the summer snowflake flowers are lightly scented.

Crocus Botanical Mix

Crocus Botanical Mix

Our natural crocus mixture contains many fragile but robust-growing varieties. Height 10cm. Bulb size 5cm+. (Bulb sizes quoted in centimetres refer to the circumference of bulbs. All bulbs are sourced from cultivated stocks.)

These delightful botanical crocuses will withstand the coldest weather conditions. Ideal for naturalising, and will flower year after year. Crocuses are among the first heralds of spring. Their cups of vivid colours make such a welcome splash of colour!

Happy Bee and Butterfly Flower Bulb Mixture

Happy Bee and Butterfly Flower Bulb Mixture

Perfect mixtures to attract beautiful bees or butterflies to your garden.

Happy Butterfly Varieties: A mix of butterfly-attracting bulbs. Developed with the Butterfly Foundation to help nature in your garden. The collection comes in a paper bag.

Happy Bee Varieties: A mix of bee-attracting bulbs. Developed with the Beekeepers Association to help nature in your garden. The collection comes in a paper bag.

The ‘Back to Nature’ range is filled with many more spectacular flowers to create a wild and natural aesthetic garden for all to enjoy!

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.

Continue Reading
Dobies newsletter header banner March 2020

March Newsletter

Welcome to March 2020

It’s sow time! OK, so you may have already started off a few chillies and sweet peas, but March is the true start of the busy sowing months. In fact, it’s a busy month for all things gardening, not just seeds. Onion sets need to be planted, winter weeding completed, bare-root trees planted and, should the rain ever stop, the lawn could do with a first mow.

Continue Reading
Dobies February 2020 newsletter header banner

February Newsletter

February is not well-loved. When did you ever hear anyone say it was their favourite month? In February 1587, Mary Queen of Scots lost her head and in 1958 the first parking meters appeared in London. And on top of that, it is often cold, dark, dank and damp. But (thank goodness for a but) the days are getting longer, and the first hints of spring are showing.

Snowdrops and early daffodils are in bloom as are hellebores and, here in Devon, our county flower, the primrose, is cheerfully brightening the grass verges and woodland.

Continue Reading