May Newsletter

“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

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

For Peat’s Sake

How and why we have gone peat-free in 2020!

Going Peat Free

This year we have worked tirelessly to ensure that all of the plants we grow ourselves are 100% peat-free! With climate change being at the forefront of everybody’s minds, businesses have been left to question whether they are doing enough? Well, whenever we look at new and innovative ways to improve our sustainability we try to go one step further. 

Because of this, Dobies is at the forefront of an industry-wide transformation! For over 120 years our customers have enjoyed high quality and ethically sourced products. We know we’re not absolutely perfect when it comes to sustainability but we have taken huge steps to becoming a lot better. Now that we’ve started, there’s no stopping us!

Dobies Home-Grown Plants are 100% peat-free

In our nursery in Devon, we have switched to 100% peat-free compost! We’re proud to have achieved this 10 years ahead of the government guidelines – it means next year we’ll be growing close to 1 million plants in peat-free compost.

Because of our efforts to go 100% peat-free, we have helped to push the industry forward. We have worked closely with our growing partners to remove peat from all of our value and garden ready flower plug plants too. With this included it means that 95% of the compost used to grow our plants will be peat-free and we’re working very closely with our other partners to remove peat from that final 5% as soon as possible.

Why Going Peat Free Matters

Undisturbed, peat bogs absorb and store huge amounts of carbon. It’s also a rich and vital habitat for plants, insects and many more species of wildlife. Peat bog mass is being extracted 60 times faster than it lays down, meaning that at this rate it is extremely unsustainable.

Going Peat Free In Your Garden

How can I go peat-free? You might be asking, well you can start by ordering peat-free compost. A totally natural and ecologically friendly product. Your plants will still grow strong and luscious with the knowledge that you are doing your part towards protecting our planet.

Look out for this icon! When you see it, it means the product is 100% peat free and you’ll save 5% off!

Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. 

Totally Tomatoes Terminology

What does Cordon Tomato mean? Well, you’re in the right place to find out! Below we explain some of the terminology surrounding totally tasty tomatoes.

Firstly, there is nothing more satisfying than growing your own tomato plants. From smaller cherry tomatoes all the way up to beefsteak tomatoes and everything in between! But what’s the difference?

Tomatoes are an extremely versatile fruit that can be used in many different dishes so having a couple of plants in your garden can be extremely beneficial. Some varieties of tomatoes will happily grow in window sills or even hanging baskets. From planting tomato seeds, to fully-fledged potted varieties the opportunities for beautifully delicious tomatoes to be homegrown are endless.

Continue Reading