Me, My Spade & I - A busy summer
"Whether you love your garden or find it a real burden, there is definitely something for everyone"
It brings me enormous pleasure to write this monthly column, which includes lots of practical gardening tips, what to do now and how to do it, as well as introductions to a vast array of plants you may not be familiar with. I am extremely excited to be walking you through this year’s long adventure, talking you through the seasons, bringing you informative articles on all sizes of garden, gardening techniques, showcasing our landscape projects to inspire you, and most importantly reminding you of the jobs that you need to be doing each month. Whether you love your garden and long for the summer so you can see it come to life again or find it a real burden, there is definitely a garden for everyone. Above all, I hope you will learn something new along the way.
Me, My Spade & I are currently having our best year yet. We have taken on several new clients that want us to transform their gardens into exciting new spaces, we are working on some incredibly exciting new briefs. I have never had the chance to say this, but I am so proud of what we have achieved and how the business has flourished since it started.
Since my last gardening column, we have initiated work in a beautiful garden in Northmoor, close to Witney. We have been wiring the outside walls of the house with our handy and inventive gardening wiring system for the climbers that were planted earlier in the year. In a short space of time, we have already started to put our own stamp on the garden. Over the next year it will be exciting to see the garden change throughout the different seasons; we look forward to sharing some photos in due course.
As well as residential gardens and private clients, we also work with commercial companies such as The Co-op. We maintain almost 40 children’s nurseries that the Co-op own, along with the supermarkets and funeral parlours. This contract alone has created two full time jobs - it was great to welcome my new lads to an industry that I am so passionate about.
We have also started work in a beautiful walled garden in East Hendred, near Wantage. The family who have recently moved to the house are young and inexperienced in gardening but really want to add life and beauty to their outside space. The garden has huge potential; the team have been busy tidying, organising the plants and putting our own stamp on the project – something we do best.
Another nice project has taken the team to a garden in Alvescot near Burford.“What new ideas can you bring to my garden?” was the brief. Stand me in a garden with my sketchpad and pencil and I’ll show you. The owner is really passionate and desperate to make it a showstopper, so you can imagine my excitement when he said I had full freedom - my creative flow was on overdrive I tell you! There will certainly be lots of new plants and landscape improvements to show you over the coming year.
Last but by no means least, we are working in a property that has over 2,000 acres. The team look after the immediate garden surrounding the house but in time we will inherit more and more of the garden and grounds. This is what Me, My Spade & I is all about, maintaining large gardens to perfection, bringing Chelsea Flower Show to your slice of England. No matter what size garden, we bring the same expertise, morals and work ethic to all of our clients. It has been a really smashing summer, I am super proud of my guys and the hard work they bring to the gardens; so this month I want to dedicate my column to Joe, Iann, Shane, Rod, Dom, Alux and Thelma. Thank you guys for helping me bring my vision of a gardening company to life and heres to many more years and new clients to come! (The next round is on me!)
Jobs for the garden in September:
1. Remember to water your Rhodendrons and Cammelias
In the recent warm weather we have had, make sure you keep your Rhodendrons and Cammelias well-watered. It will ensure the buds on the plant are full of nutrients - the Rhodos and Camellias produce their flower buds the year before and they flower. Keeping them well watered will encourage a big display the following spring.
2. Make the most of summer
This is the last of the good flowering times for the year, make the most of it. Deadhead, deadhead then a little more deadheading. I know what you’re thinking: “this is in every month”. It is and I’m unashamed. I’m a plants man and I want the best display possible for you so keep deadheading away.
3. Rake your lawns
Right about now the lawns are looking much greener. With the heat of the summer gone and wetter days a little more frequent, the lawns are looking much healthier. They will need a good strong rake or even a light scarify, the reason being that the blades of grass die off in the heat and this in turn develops in to “thatch”. This encourages moss build-up later in the year, so keep the lawns healthy and create less work for yourself over the coming months by having a little rake of the grass. Keep the stripes sharp for the remainder of the year.
4. Plant your bulbs for next spring
Daffodils, Tulips, Crocus… The list is endless so pick your favourites and get planting, it’s as simple as that! One bulb that is over looked in recent years and is considered a little old-fashioned (but I still love it) is the Hyacinth. It is an early flowering bulb that smells divine, at a time of year that is dark, damp and depressing, give her a try – you won’t be disappointed!
5. Conquer and Divide
Divide herbaceous perennials, plants like Geraniums, Nepeta or Alchemilla mollis. They can
all be dug up and split, so you can generate more clumps of these plants elsewhere in the garden. Alternatively if a clump of plants looks tired or isn’t performing well, you can lift, divide and replant in the same spot. This will regenerate the plant and encourage better performance the following year. My guys dread this time of year and the general mickey take in the gang is aimed at me as I am always insisting we divide plants. We do a lot of planting towards the end of September which may end up a little tedious, but the finished results make a great display and after a few bacon sarnies for the lads to keep them happy, everyone is happy!