End of Month View – Feb 2011

I have had a change of plan regarding the End of Month View.  I was going to look at the front garden but to be honest nothing is going to happen there this year as I have other things on the go plus I have decided that it isn’t such a good idea to make my house so identifiable. So I’m afraid we are back to what I call the ‘corner bed’.  This is part way up the garden, tucked into a corner by the path that leads to the pond.

I have struggled with this border since it was created two years ago when we removed the collapsing shed.  The real problem is that there is an unidentified Sycamore/Maple tree just out of shot to the right and the roots really suck up the moisture at the back of the border along with the roots from next doors shrubs.

This border was one of four areas I featured in last year’s End of Month Views (September’s above) but I made little progress.  However, Mother Nature has intervened and as I reported in my last post flattened the  Phormium you can see above.  The plant has been lifted and is being nursed back to health but this has left a substantial hole in the border but has made it easier for me to see what is wrong.  I felt that the border was lacking in structure, needed some height and the Phormium was quite a dominant feature  which really didn’t help.  I have spent most of the winter pondering the garden as a whole and how to improve things.  This has resulted in identifying what doesn’t work in each area but as I have a reluctance to dump good healthy plants I have been mentally moving plants around the garden.  I have an obelisk which was adjacent to the patio and suddenly seemed wrong along with its pink rose.  So the obelisk and rose have been moved to the corner border along with another pink rose I have which was proving troublesome in another area.  I have a plant support which sort of matched the obelisk and as the shrub rose is prone to be floppy I decided to use the support and to hopefully create some simplistic structure.

As you can see from the top picture I have some grasses to plant out and I am just deciding exactly where to position each one.  I intend to inter-plant these with white cleome which I am growing from seed (if they germinate) and some white corn-cockle (above).  I want to add another colour to the palette aside from white, pink and grass colour!  I am toying with also including some Campanula that I grew from seed last year.  These are blue and I think they would work well with the corn cockle, there are  slight blue marks in the middle of the flowers,  and also the roses as these are more of a bluey pink than a reddy pink.  I also  have a problem that my appalling memory means that I am struggling to remember what else is in this border.  I know there are some white camassias, a sanguisorba and a white thalictrum but there are definitely other plants so it may be a case of waiting and seeing what appears and then moving them is necessary.

I thought I would also use the End of Month post to show you progress on the allotment rather than bore you with how much digging I have done in another post. So the picture above shows the long view.  As you can see paths have been installed although in hindsight I wish I had gone for a slightly wider path down the middle as I can’t get round the wheelbarrow without walking on the beds which I am trying to avoid.  The photo below shows a closer view of the far end which is the soft fruit area and where the majority of work has been done.  Raspberries are in, as is the red current and black current.  I have still to plant Gooseberries, Honeyberries and a japanese wineberries but due to the ridiculous amount of rain we have had recently the ground is so sodden.

My parents have come to my rescue and done the majority of  the preparation work to date as it only seems to be dry when I’m at work!  So in return I am sharing some of the space with them so no doubt runner beans, which I hate, will appear in the summer!!

So  that’s my End of Month view this month and hopefully in the coming months you will see progress in both the corner bed and the allotment.  Why not join in and do a monthly post showing others how your garden or bits of it develop during the year.  If you do decide to join please do post a link in the comments box below.

Author: Helen Johnstone

I live in Malvern, Worcestershire and am a very keen gardener. I started the Patient Gardener Blog in January 2008 as a way of recording what was happening in my garden and connecting with other like-minded people. I started a second blog PatientGardener 365 January 2013 in order to try and post a photo a day to capture what is growing in my garden or places I have visited

15 thoughts on “End of Month View – Feb 2011”

  1. i love your carefully divided lottie areas. have been struggling w herbaceous borders all pm myself today. here we have bindweed in the long border but i’m leaving it for the summer anyway because the tansy, day lillies, heleniums, rudbekia, and crocosmia make such a lovely show in august and onwards. next winter i will bite the bullet, dig the whole lot up, put wide stretches thick cardboard down, cover with a foot of fresh soil, edge with woven willow and start the whole thing over again.

  2. I do agree with you about Phormiums, Helen. I thought I liked them, I’ve certainly never disliked them but they are difficult to combine with other plants. Mine has also suffered from the extremely cold temperatures this winter; i.e, it might be dead, and I might be happy. Unlike you I will leave it where it is to see if it recovers or not. If it does I’ll move it in the autumn to somewhere more suitable. Lottie is looking very organised, lucky yoy to have parents to help. Christina

  3. The lottie is looking fab!

    Cleome are sometimes slow to germinate and get going – you have reminded me that I must sow mine for the cutting garden.

    I think Phormiums are difficult to integrate well into mixed planting – but they look quite good in pots.


  4. Hi Helen, allotment is looking very workable, and your paths are way neater than mine so I’m envious! This wet weather is playing havoc with digging and planting plans in allotments up and down the country. Thank goodness for parents – or in my case parents-in-law. Really glad we are going to get regular updates of your allotment. Re phormium, sounds like a blessing in disguise. Am greatly comforted that I am not alone in having a lousy memory for what I’ve planted where. I am determined to take more general view pictures this year to help with this. Love the sound of the roses and cleome. My EOMV post is up too. Thanks again for hosting, such a good idea.

  5. Great paths in your allotment – I have a tendency to make mine too narrow, and really appreciate how nicely yours divide up the plot. I also like Karen’s idea of placing phormium in a pot – and it does leave you with a nice open space in the middle of the border for different plant effects. Looking forward to seeing where you plant out the grasses and how the border develops – I have also been re-arranging hardware (obelisk type structures) waiting for the planting-out weather to improve. Thx. once again for hosting EOMV. My latest posting can be found at http://anjacouto.blogspot.com

  6. It’s so encouraging and inspiring seeing what other people are doing, and I’m very envious of the allotment…

    May I join in? I’m a relative newbie blogger and I missed last month; in fact, I missed actually posting yesterday too – life just got in the way – so mine is a start of the month view this time:

  7. Hello again Helen, I agree with Karen re the phormium. Ah.. but I do like it when a forced change opens up a new idea and I am a huge fan of going up – especially in a small area. I like the forced change you’ve made 😀

    I also agree with you re dumping healthy plants and not making your house not identifiable. I am guarded there too. I’ll enjoy watching your allotment progress. I never considered allotment paths like this. As for my pond progress… lol… you’ve embarrassed me here 😉

  8. Oh, I echo the comments about your allotment paths…it looks very tidy. I’m planning on doing something similar in my veg garden as soon as it dries out; hopefully in a few weeks. How large is your allotment?

    Something that has been very helpful for me in remembering what I’ve planted where is to take small videos of my garden. My camera has the capability of taking short (2min?) videos, so I try to make a point of doing a garden tour video a few times during the growing season. They are quite boring, with my narrative of what is planted where, but I find I always need to refer to them later.

    Again, thanks for hosting! Here is my EOMV post. Happy March!

  9. Mike – I do feel better about my memory, if you cant remember as a professional gardener what chance so I have!

    Hanni – glad you have joined in. My allotment is a half plot which is big enough for me. Its long and thin

    Shirl – thanks for joining in again, I’m glad you like the allotment path. I’m off to read your EOMV post as well

    Kate – you are more than welcome to join in, the more the merrier.

    Anja – thanks for joining in again. Glad its not just me that is moving things around

    Janet – glad its not just me that cant remember things, I had hoped that my photos would help but not in focus enough!!

    Karen – Cleome seeds in the propagator so hopefully they will germinate well

    Christina – have decided to try dividing the Phormium as an experiment

    TheFlowerFarmer – love the idea of your border plans

  10. Helen, dividing the phormium could work really well. I did it with a monster plant last year, and although one piece has suffered from the cold winter, even it has strong new growth, and the rest are romping away. Good luck!

  11. It’s so interesting seeing how other people are expressing their passion, and I’m very envious of your climate. I’m from Montreal area (quebec, Canada). Winter is long and cold. Nice to visited your garden.

  12. Even if you get Phormiums planted in a good place the cold winters are making their survival a bit of a lottery. I have lost the ones on one side of the garden but not the other.
    Your allotment is looking ready for action – nice that your parents are helping even if it means a glut of runner beans!

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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