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Your garden in May

Tom Nicholas of Me My Spade and I brings us the second in a series of columns designed to assist you with your gardening endeavours – this month he covers the famous Chelsea Flower Show
Tom Nichols of Me My Spade and I

"We are moving into a new era at Me, my Spade and I"

The month of May is finally upon us, and the sun looks more like an old friend, the shorts are on, flowers are looking full and ready to burst their bud, and the lawn is beautifully lush. With all this in mind, for any green-fingered friend worldwide, May means one thing…The Chelsea Flower Show.

After following the vast crowds from the tube station and walking through the gates into a wonder world of design, the hustle and bustle of the show awaits. Creativity that is dreamt up from one person’s mind, then placed on paper and backed by sponsors, it is time to deliver, and this is what we have all come to see. I can only imagine the stress and pressure the designers must feel when building the gardens they have commissioned.

I thoroughly enjoyed 2015’s show; I saw a lot of planting patterns and plants that we use, and this was a personal highlight.

A prefect, striped and well maintained lawn at a Cotswold home


Garden designer Adam Frost, who won gold for his garden named Urban Retreat, was a firm favourite. Frost’s garden incorporated height as well as depth, water features and cottage-style planting along with modern patterns of design. My favourite part of the garden was behind the large metal structure, a dark area the sun would barely kiss, yet the planting here was exquisite. I am not ashamed to say that I took away real inspiration from his garden and have used aspects of it in gardens we are looking after.

After taking in all the stunning garden displays, you have the stalls, packed with sculptures, tree suppliers, machinery of all kinds and tools to help you complete your garden tasks with the greatest of ease.

A must-see part of the show is the Great Hall; this holds dear to me because I love plants and I love to discover plants I am not familiar with. If you look at my gardens after May you are sure to see the use of new plants I have fallen in love with! The Great Hall is the largest of its kind in Europe, holding thousands of different varieties of plants; I walk around for hours drinking in the scents and colours, longing to be here for the week and not just the day. No doubt this year holds the same high standards as last year and the experience is just as magical; 2016’s theme is ‘memory’, and I for one cannot wait to see what magical designs are being built in south-west London as I write this.

My First Chelsea…

The first time I ever visited Chelsea Flower Show was a real eye opener. I have always had high gardening standards and have dreamt of being part of the Chelsea week one day; however, when I first set eyes on the gardens it made me realise just where I stood in the gardening world, and it lit a fire under me to really raise my professional game. Ten years on from that first Chelsea visit, Me, my Spade and I employees can hold their heads up high and know that we really are of ‘Chelsea standard’, and the gardens we maintain would be classed as good enough to be part of the Chelsea week.

We are moving into a new era at Me, my Spade and I, where we have always designed gardens or flower beds for our clients. When we design a garden, we see the design through from the initial concept; we landscape the garden and maintain it for many years afterwards.

The month of May…

What jobs do we need to complete in the month of May? Well, it is almost a month of fun. May doesn’t have the hours of digging involved, or wheel barrowing compost through to the beds you have just dug over; it is full of jobs that need gentle touches and organisation.

Job 1: Lily beetle

May brings us the amazing lilium, I personally love the lilium ‘Regale’, which is possibly the most fragrant plant in the garden. The downside to lilies is the lily beetle; they are bright red little bugs that drive me mad. It depends on how you feel about killing insects; I hate it, but sadly it has to be done, so dispose of accordingly.

Job 2: The lawn

The good old English lawn is one of the best parts of the garden. You can get away with murder in the flower beds if you have a great lawn with stripes on it, but I must point out that weeds in the flower beds are never allowed, so don’t get lazy! Regular mowing of the lawn is a MUST-DO job in the garden; people leave the lawn far too long, which promotes weeds and thatch, so weekly mowing is needed and don’t forget to mow in different directions, which will also help aid great lawns.

Job 3: Weeding

I have been asked many times for the best method of weed prevention, but sadly the only way to get on top of it is to regularly sweep through the beds and physically remove the weeds. Annoying, I know, but I have seen so many clients that want to try different methods that supposedly will prevent weed growth, but sadly they never work and regular weeding will keep them at bay; slowly you will find fewer and fewer weeds growing, therefore making your life much easier!

Me My Spade and I, based in Oxfordshire and provide specialist horticultural garden services throughout the Home Counties and London. From residential houses to commercial sites which includes full garden design, plant selection, landscaping and installation.


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