End of Month View January 2014

A change of focus for my End of Month View posts this year. The meme is so good at helping me focus on an area of the garden and at least try and move it along, I want to see if it can help me re-balance my attention a little and develop the poor neglected back garden a little. The front garden is never far from my thoughts, not least because I see it every time I walk through the house to the kitchen, or sit at the table having lunch, or seed sorting. There is still a huge amount to do there, but most of it, for next few months at least, is boring rubble and over grown plant shifting, I reckon I will be lucky to do any serious planting out there until the Autumn! I was finding this quite depressing, until I remembered (!) that there is actually more to the back garden than the veg beds, which I will feature separately. So, here is a warts and all tour of my wet and rather bare back garden, with some wishful thinking for how it might change over the coming year…

I’ll start with one of my three stretch goals. The raised area immediately behind the wooden greenhouse.

tiled area

This area spent most of last year covered in trays of plants, all waiting for a home. Then the temporary wood store TNG constructed at the back of it started to teeter, and emergency action had to be taken. The remaining plants now languish on the patio, and we are ordering a skip to deal with the rubbish – there’s a lot more elsewhere to add to it. I have some temporary plastic greenhouses that I aim to use for plants awaiting new homes once I have finished raising seedlings in the conservatory and moved propagation back to the greenhouse. But the tiled area is actually the last part of the garden to get the sun, in the early evening, and I think it would make a lovely seating area, with pretty things in pots. Hah! Bet you it is still chaos come September…

Moving on round, the second big challenge is what to do with the oil tank compound.

daisy corner

The fence blew down at the beginning of December, and ever since I have been playing around with ideas ranging from “just build a new fence” through to covering over the whole area and adding a green roof! The current plan is to build an open shelved store to replace the fence, high enough to hide the oil tank from most parts of the garden – and grow climbers over, obviously. I’d like to add a mini green roof, to learn, because I would like to add one to the new shed we plan to build at some point with all the spare time and energy we don’t have. I can use the shelves as a temporary wood store until we get rid of the open fire, and also store the ceramic and clay pots there. It will mean moving a couple of the plants I bunged in there to temporarily fill the space left when I hacked back the Olearia macrodonta. This allegedly beautiful plant – the daisy bush – requires sun, and plenty of it. It was planted under a trio of sycamores, and therefore canted out towards the grass in a desperate bid to escape the shade. I cut it hard back and it is now gleefully bushy and vigorous. The white daisy-like flowers are very pretty, until they turn to seed, at which point the whole thing looks a mess and the seedheads jump out at you as you walk by. Impossible to dig it out, it is huge, so it will have to be glysophated to death. But the good thing is that there is plenty of scope in this area for some lovely shrubs and perennials, not to mention bulbs. I am aiming for a white and dusky pink theme, and hopefully blogging about it will stop me just bunging stuff in to fill the space. Although I did intentionally plant the pretty bamboo, a white Rosa rugosa, and a Sarcococca confusa. And the very beautiful geum rivale ‘Leonard’s Variety’ which happily flowered for months on end. I am thinking a white flowered hydrangea, perhaps a Japanese anenome, as I want this are to look good in the evening, but I am also putting a plum tree – or bush, rather – in there so there isn’t really as much room as I often kid myself there is.

Acanthus and Griseliina

Moving further along the back border, which is north facing and has heavier soil than elsewhere in the garden, there is a cordyline, which has to go, a very vigorous Acanthus mollis, my wonderful bay tree and a -currently badly hacked – Griselinia littoralis. In my defense, the Griselinia badly needs pruning, partly to bring in more light and partly to reduce the pressure on the hemmed in pittosporum behind it, but blackbirds nested in it from February last year, so I never managed to attack it. So I opened it out in the hope that it would put the birds off nesting in it so that I could have a proper go at it in Spring, but goodness it looks a mess! Not a huge amount of space here, but once I have deepened the border and edged it definitely scope for some new lovelies. Not sure what yet. Which is exciting. But definitely no bunging.

Back border right

Further along there is a Drimys lanceolata, also in need of some careful pruning once it has finished flowering. I want to neaten up the overall shape and clear space beneath it to plant some shade lovers, but close inspection of the pretty little buds reveals that some of the leaves are looking rather unhealthy. Something I need to check out, I guess – any ideas?

Drimys lanceolata leaves and buds

This whole area looks rather bare at present, although the transplanted bamboo and the newly planted Fatsia will soon give us back some privacy, and a second plum tree is going in at the front. Since I cleared the spotted laurel out of here, and ripped out most of the ivy, foxgloves and forget-me-nots have self seeded around, which is rather nice, and I should be able to add some more nice things here too. It is an area very visible from the house, particularly in winter when the veg beds are mostly empty, so the focus needs to be autumn, winter and spring. Bulbs, hellebores, some ferns, perhaps candelabra primulas since it is damp here.

shady corner

We’ve reached the shadiest corner in the garden, home to the magnificent tree stump, which is itself home to interesting fungus and no doubt myriad insect life. Ferns are definitely called for, but there is also a rescued pyracantha for privacy and the birds, a Cotoneaster horizontalis for autmn – and the birds, and a hazel, which eventually will hopefully provide me with bean poles. This is underplanted with wild garlic and some daffs, and because of the way the winter sun catches this area, a Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’. I want to add some evergreen ground cover and more bulbs, and definitely hellebores. Perhaps even the hellebore I currently have in the front garden. OK, last push.

park border magnolia end

The rather grandly named park border (definitely no capitals) is mostly new, and deep, with the lovely inherited acer, a Magnolia stellata, more dogwoods, a hawthorn seedling now being swamped by yet another Acanthus mollis which has leapt in to growth since the conifers were removed, a – still small – mahonia, the beautiful black elder, and currently a rather sad looking Escallonia ‘Donard Seedling’. I think the escallonia is sulking because I moved it and then it got hot and the kitchen was being done and I didn’t water it enough. I feel guilty every time I look at it, and plan to lift it, cut it hard back, and try to nurse it back to health. I will replace it with the plant I originally planned to plant there, the Ceanothus ‘Puget Blue’ I bought to replace the one that hated life in the front garden. Still with me?

I am torn about what to do about climbers on that awful trellis. I certainly want to plant a winter flowering clematis behind the black elder, perhaps teamed with a spring flowering one, but further along the mahonia will eventually hide the entire section of trellis. Perhaps I could use some annual climbers for a few years? It seems a waste to plant something that will eventually be hidden, unless I go for yet another ivy.

This border has a definite yellow theme running through it, or will have once the Edgeworthia chysantha gets settled in enough to flower. I thought it might this year, but no sign of the distinctive downy flower buds, just what I think are leaf buds:

edgeworthia chrysantha buds
I have also planted some yellow aquilegias, though there is no sign of them as yet, and then there is the ever-flowering wonder shrub that is the Scorpion Vetch.

scorpion vetch

I fell in love with this from a picture on Caro’s blog, but can never remember the name – Coronilla valentina subsp. glauca ‘Citrina’. I can also never take a photo of it that does it justice, but it flowers on and on, with a lovely fragrance that occasionally even I can smell. I already have native primroses, daffs, Euphorbia robbiae and some heaucheras to echo the colour of the elder, but there is masses of room still, or will be until the shrubs grow larger. The plan is to use annuals to amp up the colour intensity for the summer while I give serious thought to what more permanent planting to add in.

park border center

rhubarb end park border

The rest of this border is home to a deradful choking carpet of weed, seedlings from borage and Californian poppy, three currant bushes and a gooseberry. Right at the end is the purple hazel I brought with me, planted with deep blue aquilegia alpina and paler blue campanulas. It is also currently home to a clump of the ubiquitous native crocosmia and a very pretty white aster. The aster would just about be ok, the pale pink comfrey, not so much. I am going to move the aster to the back border and the comfrey to near the hazel, and turn this end of the border, round the rhubarb, into a little hot area, adding some red and orange.

Sorry, that is a really long post even for me, but what I want to do is gradually develop these borders and use Helen’s EOMV meme to keep me honest and stop me just bunging stuff in without sufficient thought. That will just later upset me, as will repeating too much of what I had in the old garden, a temptation because the aspect is identical!

We spend a lot of time out here in the warmer weather, and once we get the patio done (the third Big Job) there will be more space for vibrant colour (and herbs), but in the mean time these borders need to provide us with more colour and interest.

I’ll finish with the few flowers currently blooming or about to bloom, and a nudge to check out the other EOMV posts via Patient Gardener’s blog. Always really intersting to see what other people are working on or just enjoying.

inherited-hellebore

hellebore-flower

scruffy-primrose

euphorbia-robbiae

late-raspberries
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52 Comments


  1. Great to have a wander around your garden. I think that might be a flower bud on your Edgeworthia – I shall be very envious, mine is still young too & I’m just hoping it gets through the winter ok.


    1. Hi Alison, I thought it might be a flower bud at first, but reading up about it, they are supposed to form around the time the leaves drop, and be like little frosted pom poms by now. Maybe the mild weather has it confused? Either way, I shall be watching closely… Hope yours stays happy, you have good soil so I would expect it to be OK,but it is a little unnerving growing something unfamiliar and on the tender side, isn’t it!


  2. There’s so much potential in your back garden Janet. And once you get started with your plans you’ll transform your space in no time at all! This meme looks like it’s going to set you on the right path to achieving your goals, as handy reference to look back on to and to remind yourself of what to aim for. Looking forward to seeing how your back garden shapes up through the course of this year :)
    Mark and Gaz recently posted Favourite Plant of the Week – Pittosporum tobira ‘Variegata’


    1. Hi huys, yes, that puts it perfectly, loads of potential, just in need of some focused attention. And quite a lot of weeding!!


  3. Hi Janet,

    Wet?? Where’s all the wet?! Looks very dry to me! I think it’ll take weeks for my clay soil to get even close to back to normal.

    Gorgeous Hellebore, no fair that you already have so many blooms on a young plant! Mine must just not like me. I’m lucky if I have three blooms on most of mine. The only one with lots of blooms is ‘niger’.

    I bet you can’t wait to get your teeth sunk into your tasks. I’m going a little stir-crazy here at the moment and it’s not even like I get the chance of gardening at the weekend; I don’t want to damage the soil walking around.
    Liz recently posted Frosty Flowers


    1. Hi Liz, it does feel squelchy under foot, if that is any comfort, but I am lucky, even the heavier soil is more free draining than the heavy clay I used to garden on, and so slightly more forgiving if you tread on it. The helebore that is flowering so profusely was a large plant when I rescued it from its exile in a shallow trough when I got here, so don’t feel too bad. And hey, at least your niger is flowering – mine is having a major sulk!

      I am looking forward to planning and planting, there are just so many things to do, most of which have nothing to do with the back garden borders, hence the desire for focus-through-public-shame!! Hope the weather – and your neck – both improve enough soon for you to be able to do a little pottering.


  4. We’ve had continuous rain for the last two days (there’s even been a severe weather warning!) plus some rain almost every other day mostly in the afternoons. There’s a lot to do in your back garden; one of the problems of taking over an established garden is that you can’t really just do one area at a time; what with all the moving of some plants which means the place where the plant is going has to be ready too!!!!! I hope the meme helps you keep focused; I have to admit that some of your combinations seem risky with plants that need different conditions being planted together, but then that isn’t such an issue in the UK as it is more me, here.
    Christina recently posted Wordless Wednesday – signs of spring


    1. Hi Christina, you are so right about not being able to just tackle one area at a time and get it in to good shape, or at least, I haven’t managed to get things to the stage where I can do that in the back yet. But you have me worried, I must have missed something – which combinations seem risky?! And are they planned ones or actual?!


      1. I was thinking of the black Elder and the Escallonia, the elder will take as much water as you can give it while the Escallonia would prefer dryer conditions and that will take wind whereas the Elder won’t like that so much. But as I said at the end of my comment I do realise that actually in the UK most of this isn’t so important as it is never so very dry and hot nor extremely cold and wet; I believe it has a lot to do with why the British are such keen gardeners – it is basically not so difficult to grow so many different plants.
        Christina recently posted Wordless Wednesday – signs of spring


        1. Ah, so maybe the escallonia is unhappy because it is actually too damp, that hadn’t occured to me, but happily it will be moving anyway. And I am basing my belief that the ceanothus that will replace it will thrive on the fact that one was surviving in almost the same spot despite having to force its way through a thicket of spotted laurel and the shade of the leylandii. Time will tell! Thanks for letting me know though, I love the fact that you always say when you think something might not work, a lot of people are too nice, myself, I welcome challenge.


          1. The old Ceanothus probably liked the fact that the ground was dry from the spotted laurel and leylandii, it also wants to be in very well drained soil so if that’s happy maybe the Elder will suffer? I don’t think there is much point in not being honest, it isn’t helpful. You know the growing conditions in your garden and often there are micro-climates that mean that different plants will thrive than the ones you think will. You know I love how you think about your planting and achieve lovely form and texture so you not I’m not criticising. Your last garden was an inspiration and lots of what you’ve done in the new garden is too.
            Christina recently posted Wordless Wednesday – signs of spring


    1. Hi Sue, thank you, that’s comforting – everywhere I look I see things that need to go in the skip when we hire it. Foolishly I am waiting until there looks as if there might be a pause in the rain…


  5. Janet when you have shown photos of your back garden I’ve thought of it as smaller than your front but this walk around the border shows it is quite large with a variety of aspects and conditions, I look forward to seeing the changes through the year, it can be hard keeping focus when so many other things call for our attention so it is good to keep a record like this to help keep the focus, love your beautiful hellebores and raspberries in January? Frances
    Island Threads recently posted end of month view ~ January


    1. Hi Frances, I think purely on area the front and back gardens are probably about the same size, if you discount the patio, shed and greenhouse etc. The park border is 4m deep, so just that will swallow a lot of plants, although I already have some big ones in there. The raspberries make me laugh, the birds seem completely disinterested in them, and they look almost frozen when you see them up close, they certainly show no signs of rotting or dropping off, most peculiar! And yes, I am relying on the records helping me keep focused and on track…


  6. I think everyone has little areas which they would rather not put on public view, myself included. Focussing on one area at a time helps even though the temptation is to flitter about not achieving anything much.
    elaine recently posted bookworm ~ a year of books …


    1. Hi Elaine, I think part of the problem for me is that so much of last year was spent getting rid of things that were overgrown or just unwanted (hello spotted laurel), and all my creative energies were focused on the fence border in the front garden. Once the edging is in place and the fruit buses are in the ground it should become easier to take one section at a time and make enough difference to be visible.


  7. And I thought I was being over ambitious. I was quite breathless by the time I had completed the tour! Lots of fab ideas and it will be fun to see how you get on
    Helen recently posted End of Month View – January 2014


    1. Hi Helen, I think over ambitious is being kind Helen, it was very theraputic writing it all down like that, but it left me feeling a little panicky. I think I am going to narrow the focus a bit – well, quite a lot really – because otherwise I just can’t see myself getting a coherant look. Or staying sane. Or out of debt… So it has already been an invaluable exercise! And if I do get that tiled area cleared before the end of summer I can reward myself with some pretty things in pots to celebrate. Must just remember not to but the plants for the pots in April, they will just put me on a guilt trip!


  8. Great to hear all your ideas. I love the excitement I feel from you about all your plans. I’m sure it must all feel daunting too but you’ve done so much already. I came across Edgeworthia chrysantha for the first time last year and thought it was an incredible plant. My hellebores are only just starting to tentatively open their flowers. They’re always a heartwarming sight once in bloom – a sign spring is getting closer. For some reason my reader has taken to not showing your new posts, so I have unfollowed and followed you again, just in case you wonder when you get the email. ;)
    wellywoman recently posted Kale and hearty


    1. Hi WW, I think some of that “excitement” may actually be panic!! I blame US garden bloggers for the Edgeworthia. Some of them have truly fabulous specimens. I think I need to repeat my mantra more frequently – “Good Gardens Take Time”. And remember to breath. And be very thankful for annuals. Thank you for re-enlisting, and sorry that apparently your reader and my feed fell out!


  9. You have so many ideas, you are going to be very busy this year.It is always a problem when you take over someone else’ garden, no two gardeners like the same thing! Your hellebore is beautiful, I have a few out at the moment, but more will open their buds soon. Pace yourself in the garden, don’t go mad and do too much all at once!
    Pauline recently posted The Woodland In January. EOMV.


    1. Wise advice Pauline, since posting I have already realised I need to drastically reign in my ambitions, I want to enjoy the year not drive myself into the ground! I am really lucky with the hellebore, it didn’t flower last year so I had no idea what I had inherited, or if it would regain some health. it definitely encourages me to shift the ones not doing so well in the front garden into the back instead.


  10. Wow! Thank you for the tour of the back garden Janet, there is certainly a lot going on, and to do. But there are some nice shrubs in there already, which will help. Your M. stellata is looking nice and healthy, lots of buds. It will be a picture.
    rusty duck recently posted Reality Gardening


    1. Hi Jessica, I am so very glad I succumbed and bought the magnolia, I have been smiling at the wonderfully prolific furry buds for several months now, and if I close my eyes I can almost smell those flowers…

      I think I need to take a large chill pill about the park border, I planted the shrubs in there for a good reason, to give them a good head start, so I think filling gaps with annuals and concentrating on the trickier back border is the way to give myself a slight chance at sanity.


  11. Oh Janet – I don’t want to worry you but if you wrote all these down you would have a very very long list….! But at least you do now have a framework to work to having exposed all your ideas to the wider world – perhaps if you did write them as a list and divided them into quick, medium and longer jobs, and ones where decisions need to be made, you could more easily achieve them when you are up to it. I will be looking forward to watching your progress with even greater interest after having seen the real thing last year!
    Cathy recently posted End of Month View: Around the Corner


    1. I know, I know, I am truly insane. It took writing the blog post to realise the true depths of my insanity – I will attempt focus. The park border will be fine this year if I weed it and plant lots of annuals in the gaps. The back border will be the most rewarding area to tackle, and deserves proper attention. *sigh*.


  12. Wow- that’s a heck of an amount of work Janet. I’m sure by just doing this blog, it will focus your attention or at the very least have a check list to cross of when you get somethings done.
    Is it wrong that I so love the area in the first picture? It think it adds the perfect amount of character.
    I wish you best of luck with the ‘non bunging’ – I’ll be aiming for something similar :)
    Angie recently posted End of Month View January 2014


    1. Hi Angie, it has already helped, not least by forcing me to realise I can’t do it all, I need to focus more!! I’m actually good at “not bunging” when I am focused on an area, the bunging happens to the areas that are not getting as much of my attention. That challenge will remain, so I think I must resign myself to some temporary filling with things I have around followed by more focused re-design as and when it is that area’s turn…


  13. You still have raspberries!!! As always Janet I love reading your posts as I can almost hear your brain ticking over brimming with excitement, ideas and so much enthusiasm. That raised tiled area looks just the spot for further contemplation of your estate as the sun sets although I also agree with Angie’s sentiment. Look forward to your February update.


    1. Aren’t the raspberries ridiculous?! As for my poor brain, it has swung from excited to despairing, I think I need to reign my ambitions in for this year and accord a smaller area more focus. If I can. After all, there’s still the kitchen garden to plan and plant, and I have Big Dreams for that too, slugs permitting. I do like the idea of actually being able to sit on the tiled area, not least because it provides a completely different perspective on the wider garden. Now if it would just stop raining so that I could at least do some tidying… Much pondering of books and catalogues ahead!


  14. This was an interesting tour of your garden Janet – gives us a good idea of the layout. It’s particularly of interest to me because it is so completely different to my rockery garden! I love all the shrubs and your ideas too – especially of a Japanese anemone which I think would be perfect! Beautiful Hellebores… I’m still waiting for mine, but the buds are looking promising!
    Cathy recently posted Butternut Gnocchi


    1. Hi Cathy, yes, I think my front garden has more in common with your rockery than the back. I am enjoying playing with shrubs again, it has been a long time, my previous garden was very mature so all the tinkering was with perennials. Glad your hellebores are showing buds, two of mine remain stubbornly bud free, I think I need to move them to somewhere with richer soil.


  15. Well, you have most definitely got your work cut out for you. I have a tendency like you to just bung stuff in without much forethought, usually because I buy it without much forethought, and then desperately need to get it into the ground somewhere. I hope the EoMV meme will keep you from doing that. I’ve been wanting an Edgeworthia for a couple of years now, I get reminded every winter, then neglect to buy one, and then remember again the next year when everyone starts posting about them again. I hope you do get to experiment a bit with doing a green roof, that could be an interesting post.
    Alison recently posted End of the Month View, January 2014 – A Vast Hodgepodge of Ugliness


    1. Hi Alison, happily I have little opportunity to buy without forethought nowadays as all my plant buying is online, much less opportunity for that spontaneous falling in love thing that has you persuading yourself that you know the perfect spot, until you get home and realise that spot is already crammed… But I think the meme will definitely help me stay focused and stop me neglecting the back garden, whch is what happened last year as I was concentrating on the front.


  16. A most enjoyable read. There’s obviously plenty to keep you well occupied for a while.
    It’ll certainly be interesting to see how it all changes and progresses through the year. xx
    Flighty recently posted That was January 2014


    1. Hi Flighty, I don’t think I will ever be bored in this garden, there is always so much to do!


  17. I have a bad habit of throwing things into a bed to fill it up, instead of really planning it out, so I wish you the best in resisting that urge. Your hellebores are just gorgeous. Mine have just begun to put out their first little bud, and I’m so excited to see this sign of early spring. PS: You’ve inspired me to show the “wart” of my garden, in hopes that I won’t continue to neglect it.
    Holleygarden recently posted Magic Needed


    1. I have had such a lovely time since I wrote that post, remembering what I originally wanted to do with those beds and coming up with some tentative plans – definitely no bunging! I am really glad you decided to join in, I have always found it a really good way to keep track of progress, and really helpful too as people always have interesting comments and suggestions.


  18. I think editing an existing garden must be a lot more challenging than creating one from scratch. I love your honesty and relatability and have put you in my Blogger’s Spotlight. I really like the idea of building a green roof over the oil tank. What a cool way to solve a problem. :)
    Casa Mariposa recently posted Plan B


    1. Oh thank you, what a lovely comment! I think you may be right about the relative challenges,, although I was lucky enough to inherit some lovely plants that I was unfamiliar with, and to have screening from the very start. I hope I get to do a green roof, even if it is only a small one.


  19. That’s a lot of work, but a good run round it!
    (One word of caution on the roof over the oil tank – the tanks don’t last for ever, so don’t do anything you can’t demolish. My tank had to be replaced recently which involved emptying it into an emergency tank, craning the old tank out – and new tank in – up and over the wall. Plants inevitably got mangled. I’ve protected / screened the front and one side of my tank with skimmias which I prune aggressively, but there’s nothing over it now.)
    Kate recently posted Questions for this gardener…


    1. Thank you Kate, that is a really good point about the oil tank. I had pretty much given up on the whole “roof the entire thing” idea on the grounds of expense, but I do like the idea of having a roofed area for pots, bits of wood and compost. So a small green roof, sown with shade loving hardy pretty things.


  20. It’s good to outline the big plans at the outset, even if it does feel a bit daunting. Now you can concentrate on little stages, and next winter be quietly surprised by how much you – and nature -achieved in the big picture :). You are developing a very cohesive garden; I’m still all about the ‘bunging’! :D
    hillwards recently posted Gold


    1. Don’t believe you about the bunging, or at least, you have a very good eye for what you bung! I did feel as if I had a sever case of indigestion after writing this post, but a number of concentrated hours of pouring over past notes, plant pictures etc has reminded me of the overall feel that I wanted, and I now even have the beginnings of a plant list. One step at a time, and enjoy the process. I think with gardening it is all about the journey, to be corny for a moment, even if sometimes the journey is rather soggier than we would like.
      PS Am about to sow ‘Stereo’ broad beans because I wrote down that you found they grew really well for you, so fingers crossed that they like North Wales and not just the Softy South ;-)


  21. Holy cow Janet. You certainly have a large area you are redoing. So many great ideas including the green roofs. I am looking at all my gardens this year and I am not focusing on one at this point. Eventually I will look at a plan but now it is maintenance and observing. I plunk down plants without thinking as well so slowing down should help….looking forward to your plans this year.
    Donna@GardensEyeView recently posted Simply the Best Natives-Pearly Everlasting


    1. You made me laugh out loud Donna! I spent an hour or two panicking after I had published that post, but then I spent some time with my notes, remembering what I had dreamt about for this area last year, and suddenly felt much better about it! I even have a list of plants, though there are a few things I need to check out and probably tweak. I hope you really enjoy having the luxury of time to re-aquaint yourself with your garden and dream up new plans. As for mine, I made a bit of a start when the sun came out briefly yesterday, and got half the fence stained. Already looks more coherent!


  22. Hi Janet
    So much going on, nice big garden, your progress will keep us interested for a long time to come. Whats this teasing us with what looks to be an out of season raspberry.
    Alistair recently posted A Winter walk in our new neighbourhood


    1. Hi Alistair, there is certainly plenty to keep me busy here, years worth before I am at the tweaking and maintenance stage! Its a challenge gardening in such a different kind of location, with different climate and soil conditions. Lots to learn. As for the raspberries, they taste terrible, no wonder the birds have left them alone!


  23. “With all the spare time and energy we don’t have”–ha, this made me laugh:) Winter is such a great time for making plans and dreaming–I’m lucky if half my winter plans get accomplished by the next fall:) But it looks like you have done some serious thinking here, Janet, and I’m sure it will all be lovely once it is finished. Good luck on sticking to your plant choices–that’s one of the hardest things for me. I start out with a color scheme and plan, but then I see something I simply “must have” and wind up plunking it in an open space, no matter whether it fits in or not.
    Rose recently posted The #1 Japanese Garden in the U.S.?


    1. Hi Rose, half these crazy plans by this time next year would be a miracle! But hey, its good to have ambition, right?! As for the “must have” plants, it is really hard to avoid – I am hoping that if I start with a fairly coherent framework I can start to break it later. At least lots of the plants are new to me anyway, this being such a different environment, and I am constantly reminded that the gardens I love the best always have a degree of rhythm and repetition, of form if not of actual plants. We’ll see! One can never avoid falling in love with new plants…


  24. I enjoyed the wander around your backgarden, Janet and finding out about your plans it. They do sound exciting, even if you have given yourself some hard work! I must admit I do often leave ivy here, not only to conceal any unattractive objects but also because it’s so good for wildlife. If only it didn’t take over!
    The hellebores are lovely. They are a favourite flower of mine.
    Wendy recently posted The Prittlewell Prince, a Few Thoughts on Museums…and More Winter Birds

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