“The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives.” Gertrude Jekyll.
Gertrude Jekyll created some 400 gardens in the UK, Europe and America. Her influence on garden design has been pervasive to this day!
We have all been adjusting to a new way of living in our homes and gardens during the last 6 weeks. That’s seen the garden become even more of a focal point within our lives and that’s not just for the more experienced gardeners amongst us it’s also for the complete beginner.
We have seen a large number of new customers flocking 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 BBC 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.
From everyone at Suttons
Jobs to do this month
May is the month that kicks up a gear as vegetable and flower plants can be planted outdoors into their final growing, weather conditions allowing of course. It is also good to be able to start taking care of lawns to get that appearance we love so much! Now that the soil should start to warm up, with weeds sprouting, it’s the perfect time for sowing seeds such as primrose, sweet william, cauliflower, spinach and radish. However, keep an eye on any weeds appearing as they will need taking in hand!
If the weather allows you to do nothing else this month try and complete the following gardening jobs:
- Lawns will look better for a weekly mowing but if you really don’t want to lose those pretty daisies and dandelions then just mow a winding path around them. The bees and other insects will love you for it.
- It is your duty to gorge on asparagus this month! Even better if it is homegrown.
- Sow cucumber seeds this month, either singly in pots or direct, under cloches. Remember that they will need something to grow up if you want to avoid the fruits being munched by slugs.
- Rhubarb will now be ready, although first year plants are best left alone to mature. When harvesting rhubarb simply pull and twist, no knife required.
- Runner beans don’t just taste great but are decorative too. Sow them now and come July you’ll have vibrant flowers followed by tasting beans. Try growing them at the back of the flower border but make sure you can still get to them for picking!
- Plant out dahlias and cannas – some direct in the ground and some in pots to move around and fill gaps.
- Deadhead daffodils and tulips but don’t be tempted to cut the foliage down too soon. There’s an unwritten 6-week rule! A liquid feed will also help build the bulbs for next year’s flowering.
- Put plant supports in place now before your perennials get too big and start to flop.
- Vine weevils get active this month, so you need to do the same!
- Any containers and pots will now benefit from a liquid feed every 2 to 4 weeks and don’t forget that your citrus plants should by now have switched to summer feed.
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.
Keep an eye on Suttons Hub across the next couple of weeks, there will be more RHS Chelsea Flower Show fun to come.
RHS Chelsea Plant Of The Year and 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 including our Mulberry Charlotte Russe which one in 2017 and became the first edible winner of the competition and our 2019 winner the Sedum Atlantis.
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.
Get Social With US
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?
Do you think your Chelsea picnic is worthy of best in show? We’d love to see! Tag us in your #chelseapicnic and use the hashtag so we can share as many tasty treats as possible.
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! Why not share your ‘stay-at-home Chelsea look’ on our Instagram @_suttons1806, using #chelseagladrags to show the world just how good you look at your own virtual show!
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 Suttons 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.”
Suttons were there right at the beginning of the “Dig For Victory” campaign; distributing seeds to the British public at a time when “growing your own” helped to reduce reliance on imports and kept families fed in times of harsh rationing.
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.
For more information, look out for ‘Dig For Victory’ email newsletter and blog post on next week!
Perennial HortAid-20 Competition
Suttons are delighted to be sponsoring the Perennial HortAid-20 Gardening Competition this year, so we’d love you to get involved!
Perennial is a Horticultural trades charity that remains the safety net for people in the industry. They help individuals working in, or retired from any job involving working with trees, plants, flowers, and grass.
The HortAid-20 Gardening Competition will massively help to replace some of the lost income from this industry due to the current circumstances, while bringing us all together to share the thing we love, our garden! All you need to do to enter is submit a photograph of your garden into one of the following categories:
- Small Garden front or back
- Large Garden front or back
- Community garden
- Garden that normally opens via NGS
- Vegetable garden/allotment
- Best vegetable
- Largest vegetable (photo to include 30cm ruler)
- Container/hanging basket/window box
- Children’s miniature garden (age 14 and under)
- Healthiest houseplant
Perennial President, Alan Titchmarsh MBE, is heading up the judging panel which includes Rachel de Thame, Ann-Marie Powell, James Wong, Jo Whiley, Jim Buttress, Lee Connelly (The Skinny Jeans Gardener), Lesley Watson and Michael Perry!
The overall winner will receive a gardening hamper and all category winners will win the chance to meet one of our celebrity judges and a signed certificate – once we’re all allowed out again of course!
Our Marketing Director, Hilary Cutler says, “Suttons is delighted to sponsor the HortAid-20 Gardening Competition with Perennial to support their fundraising activities during this challenging time. With everyone spending more time in their gardens than probably ever before we are looking forward to seeing the entries, from all generations and gardens large and small.”
How To Enter
It’s easy to enter the garden competition. Simply click here https://shop.perennial.org.uk/collections/events-workshops-awards/products/hortaid-20-gardening-competition to purchase your entry for just £5 and then when you are ready email your photographs to GardeningCompetition@perennial.org.uk by 15th August 2020.
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.suttons.co.uk/customer-services.htm