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Not a lot has happened in the garden over the past week – well I haven’t done much but the garden has been busy getting on with it by itself as it has a habit of doing.

I felt quite anxious yesterday since I only managed to grab half an hour in the garden and walking round it I just felt overwhelmed by all the jobs that need doing.  I have decided to redecorate the dining room, which has needed doing for about three years now, and I made this decision based on the forecast of cold and wet weather this weekend.  Of course, there I was painting the ceiling with bright sunshine streaming in through the window and I could feel my anxiety coming back.  This is completely ridiculous as it is only just February and whilst the bulbs are putting on a spurt most of the perennials are keeping their heads firmly down.  The trouble is I feel as though I have finally woken up after being in a trance for the last three years or so since my sister died and everywhere I go in the house or garden I see stuff that needs doing.  I’ve done the bathroom and want to get the dining room done before Spring really arrives and I can focus on the garden.  Of course in the garden I have a whole load of projects I want to carry out but also there is alot of maintenance that has been very neglected and I can’t even think where to start.

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Today having got up early and done the second coat of paint on the ceiling I grabbed an hour and half in the garden before the rain came.  I went for another walk around the garden but this time with a different head on.  I noticed the tulips emerging in the early summer border and it seems that my black  and white friend hasn’t munched as many of the tulips as I thought he had.  It might not be as stunning a display as I had hoped but it should still be good.    But the best thing was that it appears some Trillium seeds have germinated which I sowed back last April – who said I wasn’t patient!!

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As the back grass is still so sodden I decided to confront my nemisis  – the front garden.  The re-design ground to a halt back in late summer when I just gave up due to the rain.  As I said on my End of Month post I have planted quite a few plants in the borders and I was pleased to see that the Salvias were still doing OK despite the recent cold and there were new shoots on the peonies which were unceremoniously moved last year.  I had planned to dig up the three Cornus which are going but instead I ended up weeding and cutting perennials along the driveway border.  There are signs of crocus coming through and I wanted to make sure I can see the flowers when they appear.  There are quite a few gaps in the border as I hadn’t quite decided what to add to supplement what is already there and I really need to see it in flower to decide how to move forward.  Lurking on the patio were 10 pots of wallflower seedlings – all red – so I decided to pop these in the gaps where they would at least have a chance of growing and flowering and would add interest while I consider my options.  Having top dressed with bark I felt a bit more positive about things.

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I am still thinking about how I take forward the idea of losing the back lawn and in particular the need to have some sort of path through the space.  To make it works it would need more steps which is fine as we have already built a number but there is something that is resisting this idea.  I don’t want more hard landscaping.  Due to the garden sloping up from the house when you look at the garden from the house you are very aware of retaining walls etc.  I was struck when watching Monty Don’s French Gardens by a formal garden where they had lifted the paths, reduced maitenance and had grass instead.  I like the sense of the place.  Then today I was looking at the witch hazel and found myself drawn to the mossy lawn and thinking I like this bit of lawn – maybe I could just keep a corner of lawn.  This thought has been running through my head all day and I find myself drawn to the idea of having sort of grass stepping stones through the borders.  They would be more lozenge shape and different sizes and maybe  not all of grass but of other alternatives such as mentioned in Beautiful No Mow Yards.  So the lawn steps would be like reverse island beds and wrapped around by planting.  Well its an idea and may come to nothing but its the first one that has really grabbed my attetion.

I think this time of year is when the best ideas come to mind.  It is easy to see and assess the garden better when you are presented with the bare bones rather than distracted and dazzled with summer flowers etc.

I have a busy horticultural week ahead with a snowdrop trip with two blogging friends and also a meeting of the Alpine Garden Society so no doubt I will have even more ideas by next weekend!!