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May Newsletter

“The world’s favourite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.”

~ Edwin Way Teale

A month which is often mentioned in the gardening word, marvelous May has at long last arrived and the trees are greening, the hedgerows are blossoming, the grass is growing, the flowers are blooming, and the seeds are growing. It’s a busy month, and one that kicks off with National Gardening Week 2021!

It’s the time to celebrate all things gardening with the RHS National Gardening Week 2021, and you can read our blog all about it here! It’s packed with garden activities for all the family to be involved in, as well as offering some gardening tips (common gardening mistakes and how to fix them), and pioneering through the benefits and solace found in the garden.

We’ll be celebrating National Gardening Week with some fantastic offers too with deals on plants, veg and equipment over the next few days across our website – so make sure you check out our special offers below!


We’ve teamed up with Aspall Vinegar to help you enjoy the fork to plat kitchen gardeners experience.

For your chance to WIN a selection of Suttons seeds, a copy of Grow Vegetables by Alan Buckingham and a selection of Aspall vinegars. With the knowledge and the seeds to get growing – plus the vinegars you need to dress and pickle your bounteous produce!

👉 CLICK HERE to enter!

T&Cs Apply – Click the link above to read these in full.

Naked Gardening Day 2021

This Saturday, the 1st of May is also World Naked Gardening Day 2021, but if you are tempted to join in then do carefully choose your jobs. Gentle pottering in the warmth and cover of the greenhouse may be a better option than tackling the stinging nettles and brambles!

Speaking of stinging nettles and brambles, 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”.

RHS Virtual Chelsea is returning this year on the 17th – 21st May and is an important date to save! This year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been moved to September for the first time in its 108-year history and to celebrate, Suttons brings you our RHS Chelsea 2021 nominees – fabulous flowers and vivacious veg to inspire you!

May is also certainly the time to turn it up a gear in the garden. Seeds can be sown direct, plants can be potted on, lawns can be mown and if we’re lucky and the sun shines, then watering will be a must. Being based here in south Devon we’ve seen the last of the frosts but for those of you further up country do keep some fleece handy for those more tender plants and fruit tree blossom.

The daffodils may have finished but tree blossoms and many plants will be filling our gardens with colour. And one of possibly the best things about the month of May is asparagus – it’s ready to harvest!

March newsletter top tips of the month

After taking time to relax after Easter it’s now time to carry on with the gardening. What’s more, 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 primrosesweet william, cauliflower, spinach and radish. However, keep an eye on any weeds appearing as they will need taking in hand!

  1. For more growth on grapevines, pinch out the tips of shoots that are two leaves beyond a developing fruit truss.
  2. Depending on growth, regular mowings with the blades set at maximum height may be necessary, remembering to remove any dead foliage beforehand.
  3. If weather conditions allow, runner and french beans raised under glass can be planted out towards the end of the month.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 
  6. As long as your patio is sheltered or undercover, hanging baskets/containers can be planted up with fuchsias and tender perennials.
  7. If soil conditions are not too wet, dahlia tubers can be planted directly into the garden soil from early May onwards for late summer flowering. Gladioli can also be planted at this time directly outdoors for late flowering.
  8. 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. 
  9. Water lilies and other pond plants can be planted up in new aquatic baskets and compost, do not use ordinary compost as it encourages algae and is too rich.
  10. 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. 

Fancy more? As much as our May newsletter is full of handy info, check out our Monthly Garden Advice for more tips, tricks and jobs to do each month!

We even have some May gardening advice from 1906!

May Flowers to Sow

Flowers to sow in May include late sowings of hardy annuals to provide later blooms to enjoy. Provided the risk of late frosts has passed, tender summer bedding plants can be planted outdoors towards the end of the month, but if weather conditions are still wet and cold delay planting until early June. As the flowers on pansies wither, remember to deadhead them to encourage further flowering. It is also a good idea to start weekly liquid feeds and to re-pot any plants showing signs of becoming root-bound.

Pansy Seeds – F1 Frizzle Sizzle Raspberry

Glorious raspberry-coloured blooms with darker blotch and small yellow heart. Flowers November-May. Height 20cm (8”).

  • Grow as Half Hardy Biennial
  • Fantastic frilly flowers
  • Easy to grow

Grasses Ornamental Seeds – Bunny Tails

A sought-after grass, producing the familiar “bunny tails” that are so beloved by flower arrangers. Plants are reliable and uniform – perfect for pots or informal borders. Height 20cm (8″). HA, HP or TP – Hardy annual, Hardy perennial or Tender perennial.

Fashionable and easy-to-grow plants.

Poppy Seeds – Laurens Grape

Quick-growing plants producing spectacular silver-green foliage topped with magnificent plum-coloured blooms, followed by attractive seed heads that can be cut for a vase or left to ‘self-seed’ in the garden. Flowers June-August. Height 90cm (3′).

  • Hardy Annual – sow direct outside
  • Deep plummy purple flowers
  • Attractive silver-green foliage

New Flower Seed

Sweet Pea Seeds – Supersonic

The Sweet Pea Seeds – Supersonic is a truly magnificent variety of sweet pea. A new and improved ‘jet set’ type with a re-selected habit, creating a beautiful, more compact plant. This makes the Sweet Pea Seeds – Supersonic ideal for flower pot and container displays to add not only a flurry of colour but sweetly scented fragrance too!

May Veg to Sow

In May, seeds can be sown outdoors but for an early crop, sow two seeds per deep pot in the greenhouse or on a windowsill, thinning out to leave the strongest seedling, for planting outside in late May or June.

Baby vegetables are very popular with children and are great if growing space is limited. Many can be sown at this time and, with the exception of sweet corn, can be grown in containers and grow bags on the patio as well as in the vegetable garden.

Callaloo Seeds

Developed by James Wong – A delicious spinach-like vegetable with a rich, earthy, broccoli-like flavour. Extremely versatile in the kitchen and decorative in your garden. Origin: India.

Sow May-August. Harvest: June-October. Tastes like: A mix of spinach, broccoli & watercress.

Carrot Seeds – F1 Purple Haze

The first hybrid purple carrot combining great taste and a vigorous growth habit with a colour that will brighten up mealtimes and could be a good way to encourage children to eat vegetables!

Sow March-July, and store maincrop roots in dry sand or soil. (12-20 weeks maturity.)

Squash Seeds – F1 Hunter

An early ripening butternut variety providing a very heavy crop throughout late summer and autumn. Fruit are a lovely buff colour, with fine-flavoured orange flesh, and store well.

Average fruit weight 800g – 1Kg. Trailing type, but shorter than American bred varieties.

New Veg Seed

Patty Pan Seeds – Greendisc F1

Patty Pan ‘Greendisc’ is a unique squash with mottled green/lime skins. Productive, compact plants, fruits hold their mottling until quite big, then they go solid green (up to 35cm wide). Ideal for beds and borders, reach heights of 51-60cm (20-24″); spread 91-100cm (36-39″).

Harvesting from August to October, this squash variety will produce nutty, firm-fleshed fruit. Suitable to harvest small and used like a courgette or leave to grow larger and stuff with your favourite ingredients and bake them for a healthy dinner.

Offers this Month – May Newsletter

Whether you’re looking for bumper bedding packs, tasty fruit and veg or garden furniture to sit back and enjoy your outdoor space, we have an offer for you which you can check out straight from our May newsletter. You’ll find the best offers from our catalogues, alongside last-minute deals and exciting seasonal sales.

Social Posts of the Month #MySuttonsJourney

We like to feature our gardening community in our monthly newsletter and reflect on some of the social posts you have shared with us every month. This month’s gardening antiques included the likes of glorious tulips, giant leeks, troublesome seeds and sunshine on the plot!

Below are our top 5 social posts of the previous month and if you would like the chance to be featured in next month’s newsletter, simply tag us and use the hashtag #MySuttonsJourney. 

Follow us on our social media pages and if you tag us with our hashtag, you could be featured in our next monthly newsletter!

There are lots of ways you can mark National Gardening Week 2021 (April 26th – 2nd May) by doing a little good in your garden, and we’ve been thinking up a few of our faves in our May newsletter. National Gardening Week is a great opportunity to do something different in the garden or an excellent excuse to spend the week outside – but no matter how much or how little time you have this week, there’s plenty to be doing!

Build Your Own Bee Hotel

Let’s start with our insect friends. It’s not often that we stop and think about our garden as their home, so it’s a great idea to channel your energy into making things easier for them this National Gardening Week 2021. It’s important to remember that bugs are natural pest controllers in our gardens, so why not make a home for solitary bees from tubes and tunnels in boxes?

Your bee house can be a simple as popping straws into a tin can – but we have an easy guide for you and a great way to get the kids involved. Once you’ve made your bee home, hang it at chest height in a south-facing position and they should come and enjoy it during spring.

  • Step 1: Start by using a clean tin can or another cylinder, opened at both ends, and thread through a length of thick garden string so that you can hang up your bee hotel.
  • Step 2: Next up you need to fill your frame. You can either use hollow plant stems or bamboo canes, but if you do not have either of those you can use paper or card.
  • Step 3: Either use a piece of thin card or a few sheets of paper and wrap around a pencil and secure with a bit of tape. Make sure your paper rolls are smaller than the length of your can to give protection from the rain.
  • Step 4: Add some twigs sticks or straw to offer a home for other insects too!
  • Step 5: If you want to get creative you can decorate the tin can or cylinder with some bright colours to attract bees to their new home.
  • Step 6: Finally, choose a location for your hotel, an open sunny spot is best, and secure so it doesn’t move around in the wind. A really great way to teach children about the importance of bees!

Our National Gardening Week 2021 blog includes guides to creating your own compost café and how to help our garden birds too!

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the most prestigious horticultural event in the country, starting in 1913 at London’s Royal Hospital, Chelsea. The Chelsea Flower Show is a showcase of all that’s new and exciting in the industry, and hosts awards such as RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year & RHS Chelsea Product of the Year. To kick things off and give you an insight into what to expect this year from us at Chelsea, here’s a quick look at some of our 2021 nominees.

Join Suttons this month for inspiration, past winners and the ones to watch!

Here’s A Look at Some of Our Plant of the Year Nominees 2021

Show-stopping, high-performing and breeding breakthrough varieties to inspire you!

Polemonium Golden Feathers Plants

The bright golden variegation on this brand-new perennial makes it a real showstopper. The broad golden edge to each leaf is what helps to make this plant unique and stand out in the garden all season – even when not in flower.

The lavender or lilac-coloured flowers are set off wonderfully by the foliage.

Limonium Plant – Dazzle Rocks

Completely unique in the genus– a breeding breakthrough that is the world’s first ultra-hardy Limonium gmelinii with a really high flower count.

 A strong and sturdy, compact, hardy perennial plant that will flower and look stunning for many months.

Jacaranda – Bonsai blue

New and exclusive to Suttons,
the world’s first compact Jacaranda!

Jacaranda – Bonsai Blue is truly a beautiful plant and we are fortunate enough to have complete exclusivity in the whole of Europe!

After more than 10 years of careful selective breeding, Mr Sakai in Japan has finally perfected the early years flowering dwarf Jacaranda that you see here. So thanks to his efforts, we can all enjoy this wonderful plant in our own gardens or patios.

Stay tuned for more from us this month, as we have many more nominees going ahead!

Grow Your Own Herbs This Bank Holiday

In our May newsletter, we also like to give you tips on what to grow next! Growing herbs are essential for every gardener and cook. They are simple to grow in your garden borders, window boxes or decorative container. As well as being pretty, fragrant and endlessly useful in the kitchen, herbs also smell wonderful and attract wildlife to your garden. 

Herbs aren’t only for those who cherish a kitchen garden on their plot, as they are easy to grow regardless of the size of your garden or weather conditions. There are quite a lot of herbs you can choose from, but lavender is used for its aromatic, sleeping and therapeutic qualities. Whereas Culinary herbs such as basil seedschives are for grazing and adding to a huge range of dishes. Shrubby herbs like rosemary and thyme, are grown for multiple uses but also add to the structure and character of your garden.

Annual & Biennial Herbs Perennial Herbs
Basil Oregano
Coriander Mint
Borage Horseradish
Lemon GrassComfrey

These Are Some of the Most Familiar Herbs in Allotmenteers Kitchen Gardens!

How to Grow Herbs From Seed

Most types of herbs can be sown in February and March in a heated greenhouse and many annual and perennial herbs can be sown outdoors from April to June. You can grow on in pots until the end of May/early June once the danger of frost has passed. The plants can then be planted outdoors in the garden or grown in pots or large containers on the patio.

Watch out for mint! Mint is invasive and if planted in the garden border it should be planted in an old bucket or large pot with the bottom removed to restrict the root spread.

  • Germinate: For the best results, germinate most herbs at the beginning of spring in a seed tray and place in a heated propagator. 
  • Soil Preparation: Generally, sow herb seeds in peat-free compost, mix with some silver sand for sharp drainage, a covering of vermiculite on the surface may aid even germination. Be sure to label your seeds. Herb seeds can vary so always check the seed packet for growing instructions.
  • Pricking Out: Once your seeds have germinated, and your seedlings have produced their first two leaves, prick out, gently holding them by the leaves and levering them out with a dibber.
  • Potting On: Pot them into individual pots or cell trays.
  • Going Outside: Gradually acclimatise your new herb plants by airing them outside during the day. A cold frame is a perfect place to raise your herb plants as it can be opened during the day and closed at night

Herb Compost Requirements

When potting herbs on it is fundamental that the compost is free draining. Many herbs come from dry, arid environments. Mix peat-free compost with horticultural gravel and a gravel mulch on the surface will aid the herb plants to progress. Feed your herb plants as they start to grow, a good tonic like Seaweed extract will help Mix your herbs among veggies and flowers in a cottage garden style. This varied planting is incredibly effective. Herb Wheels are another popular way to grow these plants as well as troughs and window boxes. To keep herbs healthy clip new growth regularly.

Allotment Tips – May Newsletter

Do you or someone you know own an allotment and want to find out helpful hints and tips each month? Lee Senior is an experienced horticultural writer, RHS Yorkshire in Bloom judge and horticultural consultant, who writes a monthly entree on allotment tips each month for Suttons blog. Besides our April newsletter, Lee tackles everything from growing veg, controlling pests and making the most out of your sheds, greenhouses and garden tools.

We hope our May newsletter gives you plenty to get busy with, puts you in the right direction in flowers, lets you know what veg to be planting right now, and gives you some bank holiday inspiration to get active in the garden!

Join the Suttons community today and take us with you on your gardening journey – #MySuttonsJourney

In addition to our May newsletter, browse our latest blog posts for gardening advice, how-to guides and insights into new products.

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