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No real change in the last month in the front garden.  You can see there is still a little snow on the lawn.  The snow fell last weekend but the low temperatures meant that it has just sat there particularly in the shade.  Saying that the general consensus today at the garden club was that where the ground is covered in snow it is doing better than soil exposed to the low temperatures and this is true as when the snow has melted new shoots are appearing quickly.

Anyway, as I said nothing much has happened in the front garden.  I have planted a group of Phlomis russeliana in front of the Birch.  My thinking is that the foliage will be good all year round and the grey green leaves compliment the birch particularly when they are frosted.  The grass has also had a cut so it doesn’t look as shaggy as last month.

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I have spent quite a bit of time pouring over gardening books and in particular an A-Z of shrubs trying to find something for the right hand side at the front; the other side of the Grevillea to the Birch.  I really struggle with this corner.  There is a drain in this area and also water pipes with a meter so I have to leave some access for the poor water man plus I worry about roots wrecking the pipes and me receiving a large bill.  I really wanted to plant a bamboo there but haven’t due to the root systems.  Instead I planted some Miscanthus but they really aren’t doing much and my enthusiasm for grasses is waning a tad.  I need something evergreen, with reasonable size leaves to contrast to the Grevillea.  I had been seriously considering a Viburnum and had found a lovely one with red stems which would pick up on the colour of the Grevillea flowers but it was tricky to source.  Anyway, earlier this week in need of some horticultural retail therapy I visited my local nursery.  They had some nice big Viburnum tinus with good glossy leaves but they were pricey and I wasn’t convinced about the flowers.  Then hidden away in a corner I stumbled upon some interesting evergreen variegated shrubs.  They werent labelled so I had to ask the nursery woman who was incredibly helpful – the benefit of going to a small independent nursery and it turned out they were Prunus lusitanica ‘Variegata’, variegated Portuguese Laurel.  I did flinch at the idea of Portuguese Laurel as people can be rather sniffy about it but we agreed it was the ideal plant.  The red stems will pick up on the Grevillea flowers and the white in the leaves will link to the Birch and it was half the price of the Viburnum.

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Elsewhere in the front garden the tulips are coming up along the drive border.  They are Tulip Ballerina and I am hoping they will establish and come up year after year.  I have also added a number of alliums along this edge.  Luckily the tulip crazed badger hasn’t discovered how to access the front garden yet.  I am trying to use strong planting to define the shape of the lawn and then to have more informal planting behind and for the flowers to be strong colours.  That is the idea in my head anyway.

Hopefully I might get to do some more work in the front garden before the end of next month and there might even be some colour.  I have a Cistus to move there which again will pick up on the colours of the Birch and Grevillea and some plants to remove elsewhere.  Aside from the weather I am also being distracted from working in the front garden because of increasingly growing projects in the back garden.  The steps I have been waiting to go in for about 3 years have been started but I will save that for a belated weekend update in the next post.