Clacton Gazette – Come plant with me – Leigh gardeners face off in TV garden competition “Show Me Your Garden”

GARDENERS from Leigh will have their moment in the sun tonight as part of a new Sky 1 TV show.

Show Me Your Garden features three horticultural enthusiasts taking it in turns to visit, appraise and judge each other’s gardens – think Come Dine With Me, but for gardens.

The winner of the show takes home £500 and the coveted golden trowel.

Tomorrow’s show features two gardens in Leigh, with Ray Spencer’s creation in Manchester Drive, and Lesley and Alan Kirkman’s oasis of calm in St Clements Drive.

Lesley said: “I love our garden, it is the most important room in our house.

“We spend more time and money on it than on anything else.

“I do not like straight edges or straight lawns, garden gnomes and people who leave labels on plants.”

Estate agents Lesley, 52, and Alan, 54, have turned their once barren wasteland into a beautiful space for relaxation and entertaining with a low-maintenance approach to planting and a curved deck.

Inspired by Japanese plants, their garden features some very special tropical ferns and palms, all pruned to fit their place.

Alan said: “I like a relaxed garden.

“We would describe ourselves as catwalk rather than compost heap – we like the design element without doing too much hard work.”

Ray, a 58-year-old retired science teacher who lives with his partner Richard, has created a tropical paradise by the sea.

With palms, ferns and other exotic plants, a walk down his 90-foot garden is a voyage of discovery which includes a pond, that Ray installed himself, and a butterfly-shaped bench.

Ray said: “I got into gardening at a very early age, I had a patch where I could grow vegetables and I caught the bug at that stage.

“My garden is special to me because it gives me somewhere to escape to. It explodes with colour and you could be anywhere in the world.

“It’s like me at a party, as the evening goes on I get more entertaining, and as the year goes on the garden gets more colourful and flamboyant.”

The owners of the two Leigh gardens will be taking on Andy and Jane’s garden on the Essex- Suffolk border.

The programme is on at 8pm tonight on Sky 1.