Category: General

June Newsletter

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.” –  L. M. Montgomery

June is here, heralding the true start of summer and allowing us to bridge the divide between home and garden. All danger of lingering frosts (& dare we say spring showers?!) has now passed. In fact, records are showing that this has been the driest May since 1986 and you’ll be happy to know that this wonderful weather is predicted to continue into June. It’s a great time to get your hands dirty and your plants will be especially grateful for a regular water & feed during this time. We know that many of you are currently growing edibles for self-sufficiency and a good feed is vital for the production of bountiful crops.

Whether you’re at home or at the allotment, your crops will be drawing increased attention from all forms of wildlife – it’s the perfect time to harness all those helpful critters and put controls in place for the not-so-friendly. Tadpoles will be hopping into their final froggy form, and birds will be feeding their young with all the pesky caterpillars and aphids they can find, so spare a thought for these unpaid workers and consider adding a bird feeder or insect hotel to improve your garden’s ecosystem. We’ve put together a Feed & Protect Kit, which protects your plot from many different insects and pests, provides organically certified feed for your plants and, most importantly, is people, pets and planet friendly.

Read on for your monthly jobs to do around the garden, exciting veg varieties to sow now, and, of course, some super summery offers for you too!

Jobs To Do This Month

  • The longer days and warmer soil will be encouraging all things to grow, including weeds! Keep your hoe, kneeler pad and fork handy.
  • Continue to remove the side shoots from cordon tomato plants
  • Harden off any indoor grown plants ready for planting out in prepared soil. Those that have already been sitting in a cold frame will be ready to go
  • Give broad bean plants support and check for signs of black-fly. Remove any growing tips where you find evidence of this pesky pest
  • Grass cuttings can be spread thickly on veg beds after watering to act as a mulch
  • New potatoes will be ready for lifting. They don’t store as well as main-crop varieties, so lift just enough for a meal at a time. Now, where did I plant that mint?
  • Summer bedding can be planted out, pots can be filled and hanging baskets placed in position
  • Cut back yellowed foliage from spring bulbs but mark where they are so you don’t dig them up by mistake

What To Sow Now

Sowing little and often is the key to ensuring a continual supply of veg and of avoiding a glut. So instead of sowing a whole packet spread it out over a few weeks. The following seeds can all be sown this month:

  • French Beans
  • Carrots
  • Salad Leaves
  • Beetroot
  • Lettuce
  • Herbs
  • Pak Choi
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Chard
  • Kohl Rabi

A Big Thanks To The RHS!

We would like to say a big thank you to the RHS for making this year’s Virtual Chelsea Flower Show possible. Bringing one of the most prestigious shows into people’s homes and gardens meant that all that were planning to go (and many who weren’t) got to experience Chelsea at its finest.  With a week of celebration, inspiration and advice, the show brought the joy and escapism of gardening to many around the country!

Once again, thank you to the RHS, the BBC and all of the fantastic presenters that made it a truly memorable week.

Chelsea Flower Show Plant Of The Decade

Every year the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year Competition is open to exhibitors at Chelsea to showcase their exciting new plant introductions. This year the RHS brought together the RHS Plant of the Year winners from the last decade and it was over to the public to vote for their favourite.

On Saturday May 23rd, Viburnum Kilimanjaro Sunrise was crowned as Plant of the Decade, decided by the People’s Choice Vote at the Virtual Chelsea Flower Show 2020.

The Viburnum – Kilimanjaro Sunrise is truly beautiful. This stunning Viburnum was crowned Plant of the Year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2015. The pure white and elegant lace cap flowers are produced in profusion all the way up this stunningly beautiful tiered plant.

Previous Winners

Previous winners of Plant of the Year that are also available include Mulberry Charlotte Russe which won in 2017 and became the first edible winner of the competition, the magnificent Hydrangea Runaway Bride which won in 2018 and the 2019 winner, Sedum Atlantis – a plant for our times…drought tolerant, suitable for small spaces and attractive to bees!

New for 2020 – Leycesteria Little Lanterns

Leycesteria Little Lanterns is a new introduction to the market for 2020 and would have been entered for Chelsea Plant Of The Year. If you’ve always admired the beauty of Golden Lanterns but don’t quite have the space for it, Leycesteria Little Lanterns was made for you! This handsome, compact version of its bigger sibling will light up your garden with its bright yellow-green leaves.

Perfect to purchase now and with immediate despatch, it adds more colour to the mix with an abundance of attractive white flowers with purple bracts (from July to September)- a truly beautiful sight and a great way to end the season.

A charming shrub, Little Lanterns is a versatile sun lover, working well in mass planting as well as in mixed containers or on its own in a smaller area. What’s more, it is hardy down to -15C, so it’s ideal for those colder areas.

British bred and great for adding colour and contrast! Little Lanterns has glorious yellow foliage with orange tinged new growth so really stands out in a garden. In late summer to early autumn the long red bracts appear to produce a showy flowering display before turning into berries for the autumn.  Its unique characteristic is that it is really compact and bushy so can be used further forward in a border, a smaller garden or a container as it will add really eye catching look to any display!

Instantly Transform Your Patios & Borders With 2 Litre Plants

After seeing the fabulous displays at the RHS Virtual Chelsea Flower Show we’ve got a real taste for some summer colour in our gardens. 

We’ve created a section within our site with all our available 2 Litre Flower Plants in one place to make it easier for you to find the perfect blooms to fill your beds, borders, baskets and pots!  From dazzling dahlias and tropical cannas, to show-stopping alstroemeria, pretty gerberas and more. 

Offer Of The Month

Summer Cropping Veg Collection

5x 9cm Potted Plants For Just £15

With our ‘Summer Cropping Veg Collection,’ you’ll be filling salad bowls, stuffing sandwiches and even making your own tasty soups and sauces all summer long! This fantastic collection of five potted ‘ready to plant’ varieties will include a selection of sweet tomatoes, crunchy cucumber and incredibly productive courgette.

Perfect to grow anywhere sunny, from a greenhouse to a patio, in containers or even outside in the veg garden. There has never been a better time to ‘Grow your Own’ and with this collection, you’ll be cropping all summer.

Recipe idea: Grilled courgette and tomato salad. Thickly slice a couple of small courgettes, toss in a little olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and cook on a grill or griddle until they begin to char. Roughly chop the tomatoes, add a splash of balsamic and mix through, then add thinly sliced cucumber, combine with the courgette and a few fresh basil leaves and serve with BBQ or fresh buffalo mozzarella!

75 Years Later, We’re Still in This Together

Global events of 2020 have made us think about many things from a very different perspective, with many industries being compelled to innovate through difficult times. We have looked back on the long history of growing your own and have found many similarities to historical events. Our Managing Director, David Robinson, had this to say:

Although the future impact of global events in 2020 is not yet known, we are all just starting to realise that it might profoundly affect all of our lives. Was the demand for seeds driven by concerns about food availability; worries about going out to shops; or was it just something to do during lockdown? Whatever the motivation, our challenge was to try and meet the demand. This challenge became even greater when a number of our highly experienced staff had to self-isolate and the need for ‘social distancing’ in the warehouse meant that we had to do more work, with fewer people.

This isn’t the first time the company has experienced a period of increased demand at the same time as a reduction in staff.  With the 75th anniversary of VE day approaching, several of our customers have reminded us of the times when the British public were asked to ‘Dig for Victory’. Whilst, of course, there are parallels, it would not be right to draw them too closely.

During both World wars, the supply of seeds for people to grow their own vegetables was seen as a vital part of the war effort. Throughout 1915 it became increasingly clear how important the seed industry was, as the requirement for vegetable seeds increased. On 30th December 1915, the seed-growing industry was designated on the list of “reserved occupations vital to the war effort”. Indeed, some staff were disqualified from National Service because the Board of Agriculture considered “the services they are rendering to the country by remaining at work cannot be dispensed with”. Demand for seeds was such that the non-enlisted staff weren’t able to despatch orders fast enough and volunteers were asked to work all through the night (with windows painted out and lights shaded to hide from Zeppelin airship raids).

The adversity led to a delay in processing orders. In February 1917, many prominent seed companies state having thousands of outstanding orders which took almost 2 weeks to despatch. This grew exponentially over the next year. With some orders taking up to a month to dispatch. This resulted in a high number of complaints about delays in receiving orders. With many companies receiving hundreds of letters a day. With modern technology, today’s comparison means that we now receive thousands of emails daily!

Impressively, despite the inevitable disappointment at having to wait for seed deliveries, the vast majority of our customers have been remarkably understanding and polite throughout… Gardeners really are a nice bunch of people!

Throughout WWII the Ministry of Agriculture promoted a ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign with everyone being encouraged to grow their own food to supplement their diet during a time of harsh rationing. Open spaces everywhere, from domestic gardens to public parks – even the lawns outside the Tower of London, were turned into vegetable patches.

With food imports reduced as a result of the U boat blockade, the Dig for Victory campaign was essential to keep the country fed, throughout the war and indeed afterward.

The ordering of seed potatoes and vegetable seeds was started earlier than usual in anticipation of potential shortages and increased prices as the War progressed. Seed packing was also carried out early in preparation for potential labour shortages.

Once the War was over, life didn’t return to normal. The country was bankrupt, and unable to resume food imports at pre-war levels so rationing continued long after the war only finally ending in 1954. Bread rationing in fact only started in 1946, after the war. In many ways, food supply was worse on the home front after the war was won, so for many the need to continue growing food at home was a necessity.

During the global events of 2020, it has become increasingly clear that we are living through unprecedented times which will be discussed for many years to come. It’s hard to know when or how it will end and whilst there are parallels between current circumstances and wartime, there are also many differences. Staff at risk have been asked to work from home or take time off rather than being sent off to fight a war!

Requirements for seeds grew steadily through both World Wars. This current circumstance has seen our sales grow rapidly over just a period of weeks. Like many prominent seed companies during both wars we are coping with reduced staff numbers which, like then, has led to order delays and increases in customer communications. The ease of sending a quick email has led to a much greater increase in customer enquiries.

The longer-term implications are yet to be known. The second world war and the slow recovery afterwards created a generation of vegetable growers. Over the years, busier lifestyles; the ease of shopping; the year round availability of fruit and vegetables from all around the world and instantly available fast food at the touch of a keypad have created a generation who are largely detached from the origins of their food. We have seen many new customers buying seeds from us for the very first time. Hopefully, it proves to be more than just wishful thinking that one small silver lining from our current problems will be the creation of a new generation of gardeners who grow and enjoy their own food and pass their new found skills onto the next generation.

The 75th Anniversary of Digging for Victory – ‘Fighting on the Homefront’

“It is the bounden duty of those who have the smallest space to cultivate, to do so intensively, that the brave may be fed and that the lifeline of the Atlantic be not unduly strained”

To mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, Matthew Biggs looks into the origins and success of the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign set up during WWII by the British Ministry of Agriculture.

At 11.15 on Sunday 3rd September 1939, British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain announced that Britain was at war with Germany. With European ports closed, Britain’s supplies now had to come from across the Atlantic. But within hours, the Battle of the Atlantic also began, with the intention of starving Britain into submission. In 1938, 55 million tons of food were imported by shipping and 90% of all onions from Europe – there was a vast chasm to fill. 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 and Lord Dedham, from the Ministry of Agriculture, announced the intention to create half a million allotments, raising the number to 1,330,000.

All available land was to be used to feed the nation; stately home lawns, railway sidings, sports field’s, the moat at the Tower of London, lawns in front of the Albert Memorial, even a bomb crater in the grounds of Westminster Cathedral where all turned over to vegetables. Everyone was encouraged to grow brassicas to replace vitamin rich citrus and bananas and to make their own compost heaps; the introduction of National Growmore in 1942 increased productivity in poorer conditions. They also began to wage war against another arch enemy – pests.

One vital crop was onions. In 1943, the Horticultural Committee of the Red Cross Agricultural Fund introduced a scheme to increase production by forming onion clubs of 12-20 members, who should aim to cultivate ¼ acre between them, to be sold to the NAAFI or Admiralty contractors, with the proceeds going to the Red Cross. If every allotment holder in the country gave 7lbs, 5 000 tons of onions would be produced.

Despite the pressures, an American Professor who visited England, in 1942 was astounded by the health of the people and at the end of the war, the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign deemed a success.

Growing your own is still the only way to capture the flavour, freshness and natural goodness that kept Britain fighting fit until VE day. Let’s celebrate ‘Dig for Victory’ once again.

Growing your own fruit and veg has many benefits – from saving money, reducing food waste and your environmental impact, to improving your physical and mental health through gentle outdoor exercise.

Matthew trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, has been a professional gardener for over forty years and is a regular panelist on BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time. He has guested on numerous TV and Radio programs and has written books on a range of horticultural subjects from houseplants to vegetables. He also writes for several magazines including the RHS magazine – The Garden, BBC Gardeners’ World and Gardens Illustrated.

Matthew has lectured at the cookery school of Michelin Starred Chef, Jean-Christophe Novelli, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, was Course Director of the Plants and Plantsmanship course at the English Gardening School and leads gardening tours worldwide. He grows a wide range of plants at home and is fascinated by plants and their stories.

The Dobies Guide to RHS Chelsea

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the most renowned horticultural event in the country. Occurring every year in May it’s a “must not miss” event for the most esteemed horticulturalists and enthusiasts.

The Chelsea Flower Show… But not as we know it!

We had planned to create a ‘Dobies Guide to Chelsea 2020’, with sights to see, things to do and even a little guide to the best nibbles at the show! However, this year, for obvious reasons, the RHS have had to make the difficult decision to cancel the Chelsea Flower Show as we know it. Decisions such as this have only happened a few times in the long history of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. In fact, since the very Chelsea first flower show in 1913, the only time they have cancelled the show is during the two World Wars.

Yet all is not lost! The RHS have been working tirelessly to bring the whole event online, allowing horticulturalists the world over a chance to experience the show from the comfort of their own homes. How will this work you ask? Read on for our guide to creating the Chelsea Flower Show experience wherever you are…


There’s no set dress code at the Chelsea Flower Show, however, many enjoy getting dressed up for the special horticultural occasion. You’ll see smarter gents wearing blazers and light trousers, while many women go for a light, summery dress and extravagant hat.

We feel it would be a shame to miss out on this opportunity, and fully encourage getting the glad rags out at home!

The Daytime

A typical day at the Chelsea Flower Show consists of visiting all the amazing gardens and displays that UK growers have poured their hearts into for the past 12 months and longer! For some, this is a change to display a lifetime’s work. You would be able to admire the unique designs, spot some of your favourite varieties in all their glory, or even discover new & inspiring additions to grow at home. 

Despite not being able to meander round the beautiful displays this year, the RHS will be hosting free garden tours on their website. 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.

Some of the spectacular plant displays that were due to fill the Great Pavilion, the jewel in RHS Chelsea’s crown, will be replicated virtually at home for the world to enjoy.

A Family Friendly Show

The RHS have strived to make this digital event family friendly too. Therefore, they have set up a daily School Gardening Club, providing a wealth of activities for families to get together, play, dig, grow plants and connect with nature. It also aims to inspire the next generation of budding gardeners, with fun worshops including best practices, and growing & maintenance techniques.

Lunchtime at Chelsea

Lunchtime at the Chelsea Flower Show is a truly scrummy affair. We have to admit that we will greatly miss perusing amazing pop-up restaurants and sampling some of the best food on offer in London – from artisan menus to flower show inspired afternoon teas. However, with this year’s show being digital, this one is a little harder to replicate online!

Our recommendation? Prepare yourselves a Chelsea Flower Show inspired picnic to enjoy Al Fresco in the garden! Take your laptop with you too, because the RHS have some lunchtime activities you won’t want to miss out on! RHS advisors are going to be joined by special guests for an interactive Q&A session. These guests have yet to be announced, so we’ll leave it to your imagination! Who would you want a 1-on-1 Q&A with?

Esteemed UK growers who would have been attending the event will also provide behind the scenes access to their nurseries with some even replicating their displays that would have been in the great pavilion. Whatever you have for lunch, the entertainment is fantastic!

The Afternoon

By now you may be growing tired of the large crowds, as you continue to make your way around the displays, typically after having eaten too much flower show inspired cake! However, there is still lots more to do.

This year was meant to have a dedicated area for floristry, boasting a ‘huge makeover’, with competitions being held in the great pavilion. The following categories were being judged:

  • British – Blooms, using flowers and foliage from the UK only
  • Preservation – which will challenge florists to use dried plant material
  • Pollination – plants to attract insects 
  • ‘Beauty of Nature’ categories provide themes for the larger installations

We hope that the Chelsea Flower Show is still able to pay homage to this in some way virtually, whether we see the displays as videos, or the love and dedication which goes into each and every entry.

Now, Chelsea Flower Show can’t be complete without the highly renowned awards – the most famous of which must be the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year Award.

This year the RHS celebrates a decade of the RHS Chelsea “Plant of the Year” competition with a public vote to decide the “Plant of the Decade”. Many of these award-winning varieties have become garden favourites and been sold in astounding numbers. Details for voting are not yet publicised, but you’ll be the first to know when we do!

The Great Plant Sell-Off

The ringing of the bell at 4pm on the final day signifies the start of The Great Plant Sell-Off. You’ll see the show descend into very British organised chaos, while people assemble makeshift shopping trolleys and the blazer sleeves are rolled up to the elbow. It’s everyone for themselves, as many try to get their hands on some of the varieties which have been wowing visitors for the entire show.

We didn’t want you to miss out on the opportunity to get your hands on new and exciting varieties, so why not visit our website to see our would-be nominations for Plant of the Year and a selection of fantastic plant offers, to have a taste of Chelsea delivered to your home?!

RHS Chelsea Flower Show Programme & TV Listings

As you may know by now, unfortunately, The RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been cancelled this year but fear not. Many of the best things about the show are heading online and to our tv screens. We have put together a ‘virtual’ calendar to keep you up to date with all the wonderful things going on during the week of RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Monday 18th May – RHS Members Day

Kicking off the virtual Chelsea Flower Show experience is RHS Members Day. Expect exclusive Chelsea Flower Show content designed for RHS members only. RHS President Sir Nicholas Bacon will officially open the online show with a welcome message with Vice President Alan Titchmarsh. 

RHS members will have the opportunity to join Monty Don on his usual morning routine. Taking you on a tour of the famous Longmeadow garden, he will be showing everything from feeding the chickens to exclusive glimpses at unseen areas of the garden too. Definitely not something to miss out on!

Throughout the day there will be several professional and celebrity designers showcasing their talents. So learn from the best, A top celebrity designer will be demonstrating how they create a modern floral display, helping you bring beautiful blooms of seasonal foliage and flowers into the home. 

Go behind the scenes of Raymond Evison’s Guernsey nursery with a tour from the Clematis specialist himself. This exclusive access will show off the very best Guernsey’s flowers have to offer! Make sure to watch Rosy Hardy’s potting bench demonstration too. Rosy Hardy of Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants will be showing you the best practices to create beautiful displays.

What’s On TV

BBC1 15:45 – Making the Most of Colour – Make the most of colour in your garden, no matter the size. Nicki Chapman is hosting this colourful spectacle. 

BBC2 20:00 – Best of British – Celebrating the best of British at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Monty & Joe meet with the designers & passionate plants people that make the Chelsea Flower Show a quintessentially British affair.

Tuesday 19th May – Perfect Plants

The most decorated female designer in RHS Chelsea Flower Show history, Sarah Eberle will be welcoming visitors into her naturalistic woodland garden with the benefit of sharing some of her top tips for gardening this summer. 

Co-designer of this year’s M&G Garden, Charlotte Harris will take viewers on a lockdown tour of some of London’s public parks. The show will focus on highlighting the value of having inner city green spaces and showing some of the best performing plants for urban gardens. 

Ian Drummond, leading indoor garden specialist accompanied by expert gladioli grower, Rob Evans will lead Tuesday’s potting bench tutorials. Showcasing some of the amazing skills present at Pheasant Acre Plants. 

There’s more, You will be able to ‘virtually’ meet the David Austin Roses team who have been displaying their award winning roses at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for 37 years!

What’s On TV

BBC2 7:15 – Making the Most of Colour – Make the most of colour in your garden, no matter the size. Nicki Chapman is hosting this colourful spectacle. 

BBC1 15:45 – Making the Most of Space – Nicki Chapman & the tema will be offering tips & tricks on how to make the most of space in your garden. 

BBC2 20:00 – Around the World – Meet the fleet of plants people and designers that travel thousands of miles from all over the world to bring innovative & creative ideas to RHS Chelsea Flower Show every year.

Wednesday 20th May – Health & Wellbeing

Wednesday is all about health & wellbeing and the importance of keeping your plants healthy. 

Enjoy talks from multi gold medal winning designer and presenter of Gardeners’ World, Adam Frost who will be explaining how he considers plant health. He will be showing us all round his stunning Lincolnshire garden too!

For a more exotic touch to the day, Renowned Chelsea favourite, Japanese designer  Ishihara Kazuyuk will be providing insight into his beautiful garden at home in Japan. 

A real treat to finish Tuesday off, one of the most celebrated British florists, Nikki Tibbles will be showing us how to create magnificent seasonal bouquets. We can only hope to have something that resembles the beautiful bouquets Nikki produces as the founder of Wild at Heart.

What’s On TV

BBC2 07:15 – Making the Most of Space – Nicki Chapman & the tema will be offering tips & tricks on how to make the most of space in your garden

BBC1 15:45 – Making the Most of Nature – Nikki Chapman & the team will be showing us how to make the most of nature & natural spaces in our own gardens.

BBC2 20:00 – Trailblazers and Trendsetters – Join Monty Don & Joe Swift as they tour the most famous flower show in the world in search of the trailblazers & trendsetters! Also showing his inspiration is fashion designer Paul Smith!

Thursday 21st May – Grow Your Own

Cut flower expert Sarah Raven will be taking visitors on an all access tour of her garden at Perch Hill in East Sussex. Focusing on which flowers are ready cutting.

The Chelsea pensioners will be showing what they have been busy in their allotment during the lockdown period.

Demonstrating how to use flowers & foliage in creative ways, celebrity florist Larry Walshe will be showing us how to use flowers to create chic garden table settings. Vegetable grower Medwyn Williams will be sharing his top tips on growing vegetables at home.

What’s On TV

BBC2 07:15 – Making the Most of Nature – Nikki Chapman & the team will be showing us how to make the most of nature & natural spaces in our own gardens.

BBC1 15:45 – Making the Most of Your Budget – Make the most of your budget in your garden as Nikki Chapman & the team show you some interesting & innovative ways to use your budget.

BBC2 20:00 – A Better World – Join Monty Don & the team to celebrate plants & the positive power they bring. The team will be focusing on the designers and growers striving for a better world with the creations they bring to the flower show.

Friday 22nd May – Wildlife & Environment

Garden designer Tom Massey will be demonstrating how to create an organic wildlife haven.Taking inspiration from his design for The Yeo Valley Garden he intended for this year’s show, he will demonstrate some aesthetic tips & tricks on a smaller scale. Follow award winning designer Ann- Marie Powell around her Hampshire garden as she shares her top tips for designing beautiful displays.

Friday’s expert will be Sienna Hosta giving a tour of the stunning plants that have been grown for this year’s show. 

Leading the potting bench demonstration will be the team at Newlands Nursery. Showing us how to make the most from chilli pepper plants and ensuring a constant supply for all our culinary uses.

What’s On TV

BBC2 07:15 – Making the Most of Your Budget – Make the most of your budget in your garden as Nikki Chapman & the team show you some interesting & innovative ways to use your budget.

BBC1 15:45 – Making the Most of Your Time – Nicki Chapman and the team help you make the most of your time in your own garden, including ideas for low-maintenance lawns.

BBC2 20:00 – Legends and Legacies – Monty Don, Joe Swift and the team look at the legends and legacies that have made the Chelsea Flower Show the greatest event in the horticultural calendar.

Saturday 23rd May – Small Space Gardening

Saturday marks the final day of the virtual show. Dedicated to indoor gardening & growing plants in small spaces.

Andy Sturgeon, last RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winning designer will be giving us a tour of his own courtyard garden. Sharing design and growing tips as he goes for those smaller outdoor spaces.

Orchids are one of the UK’s favourite house plants. So as a homage to this, we’ll be able to meet with McBeans Orchids, the UK’s oldest orchid nursery and winner of over 70 RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medals!

Finally, Andy’s Air Plants and London-based interior planting duo, RoCo will be showing us how to propagate all different kinds of plants that will help transform any indoor living space you want to fill with stunning plants.

So, enjoy another glass of Pimms in the garden, dress to impress, and let’s make the most of this situation by celebrating that which makes us happy at the darkest times. We’d also like to extend our gratitude to the RHS for innovating and continuing to provide us with an avenue to explore the horticultural world from home.

Finally, we’ll be posting daily “Virtual Chelsea” updates, so make sure you’re following our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a week of horti heaven! See you at the show…


RHS Chelsea Plant of the Decade Award

The Dobies Guide to RHS Chelsea

RHS Chelsea Plant of the Decade Award

We only enter the RHS Chelsea competition if we have a truly sensational plant; to date we’ve entered twice and been fortunate enough to win on both occasions – in 2017 and 2019! This year the RHS celebrates a decade of the RHS Chelsea “Plant of the Year” competition. Many of these award-winning varieties have become garden favourites and been sold in astounding numbers.

RHS Chelsea Plant of the Decade Award

The Chelsea Flower Show is celebrating 10 years of ‘Plant of the Year’ awards this year. Commemorating this achievement with the ‘RHS Chelsea Plant of the Decade Award ’. Many of the ‘Plant of the Year Award’ winners have become garden favourites and sold in astounding numbers.

How Will it Work?

The coveted RHS Chelsea Plant of the Decade Award will be decided by gathering all of the winners from the past 10 years and leaving it to a public vote to decide their favourite. 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. Nevertheless, you can find more information about previous winners that are contenders below.

A Timeline of the Last Decade of Winners

RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year Winners

2019 – Sedum Atlantis

Sedum Atlantis is a plant for our times; it’s drought tolerant, suitable for small spaces and attractive to bees. Its striking foliage forms rosettes of serrated green leaves with thick, creamy margins and tips that turn a pink blush in the autumn. The pink tinged flower buds open to bee-magnet yellow flowers. New leaves emerge in a beautifully creamy white, before developing into an attractive green with striking white borders and gradually forming a half metre wide cushion of drought resistant leaves. To top it off, this plant then covers itself with a foam of bee and butterfly magnet yellow flowers from July through to September.


Sedum Atlantis is extremely versatile and is just as happy in a hanging basket, window box or pots for indoor displays as it is outdoors in rockeries or borders. Beginners and time-poor gardeners will love its drought tolerance while bees love it for its pollen! However, like all plants, they do still need water, so ensure they don’t dry out completely in dry spells, particularly when your plant is first establishing. Flowers July-September. Height 15cm (6″); spread 30cm. (12″)

2017 – Mulberry Bush Charlotte Russe

We know it can be tricky to find these fruits in supermarkets and you can now have all the joys of growing your own mulberries without the hassle of keeping a large tree! This dwarf, compact variety only reaches a height of approximately 1.5 meters, making it suitable for any garden. It’s self-pollinating, fully hardy and fruits on both old and new wood, so you can be pick mulberries within the first year – from May right through until September!


Choose a sunny position and a good fertile ground adding multi-purpose compost. The soil should be moisture-retentive and free draining. It’s also perfect for growing in a pot! Wherever you choose, the plant may still need watering for the first year or so and during periods of dry weather.

Only prune dead wood or inwards growing and crossing branches or longer shoots, to keep the plant in a nice rounded mound shape. Flowers May-September. Height 150cm (59”); spread 150cm (59”).

Other Winners of RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year

2018 – Hydrangea Runaway Bride

A real showstopper! What sets it apart from other varieties, is its unique ability to produce flowers from every leaf joint resulting in a great flowery show with many more blooms than almost all other varieties. What’s even better is that it continually reproduces flowers from early summer through to September.

Shop Runaway Bride Here

2015 – Viburnum Kilimanjaro Sunrise

A stunningly elegant Viburnum! Pure whit lacecap flowers are produced in profusion all the way up this beautifully tiered plant. As summer progresses, the flowers take on a pink tinge and in autumn the foliage turns to a lovely orange colour and red berries form, which later turn black for an additional season of interest.

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2014 – Hydrangea macrophylla Miss Saori

The Hydrangea – Miss Saori has been bred by one of the most highly respected Hydrangea breeders. This Hydrangea plant was a worthy winner of the 2014 coveted Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year Award. This unique Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Miss Saori’ produces beautiful white flowers with vibrant pink tips, creating magnificent displays of colour all through your garden.

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