My garden this weekend – 5th May 2013


I probably should be waiting until tomorrow to write this post as we have a three-day weekend but I am a creature of habit and Sunday evenings have now become the time I review the garden over the last week.

For someone who is naturally self-effacing I find it hard to say that I am quite proud of the garden at the moment but it is true.  There was a moment this afternoon as the sun shone down through the branches of the Prunus, highlighting the blossom and glancing off the narcissus below  when I was thrilled with the effect.  After the last few years of just seeing what is wrong with the garden this was quite a revelation.


We have made huge progress on both the major projects this weekend and my body is certainly making me aware of the effort that has been made.  The projects are interlinked and one is dependant on another.  I have to admit that agreeing to my eldest having a workshop in the garden has had the unexpected benefit of him being keen to help me lift the back lawn.  I need somewhere to move all the plants from the workshop site and so the majority are moving into the new bed – when its dug.  The head turf lifter and border digger has worked very hard and we, should I say he, has lifted three-quarters of the turf.  I have followed behind and second dug adding green waste compost.  I have to admit to having a real wobble on Thursday evening when the work started.  I don’t do mess very well and I felt quite overwhelmed by the impending chaos but we sat down and worked out a plan and it has been great.  Working systematically across the back lawn as made it more mentally manageable for me and I have already moved the viburnum and rose (with its accompanying obelisk) that needed moving as well as some other plants.2013_05050022

I have to admit that the weather isn’t ideal for plant moving and the ground is a bit dry but we have rain forecast later in the week so hopefully if I can cosset them over the next few days they will pull through OK.  There was no real alternative as they have to move and we didn’t want to wait until Autumn to put the workshop in.  You can see in the photo above that we have left a grass path.  There is still the bit of lawn that runs down the garden to be lifted, although my son tried to convince me we should leave it as it was just the right size for sun-bathing – he even demonstrated!!  However, he agrees that we need to lift it all so that may get done tomorrow.  My job tomorrow will be working through the slope removing plants I don’t want and then moving those from the slope part of the workshop site across.  The workshop will mean that my daisy slope will be halved but I am content with that as I have gained so much more border to play with.


After this weekend I should be able to concentrate on normal gardening as the majority of the heavy plant moving will have been done.  My son has declared that he is going to finish clearing the workshop site so I don’t need to worry about that which is a relief.  I also managed to find a bit of time to stake the Delphinium which is a first as they normally get staked once they are too tall and it is all a bit closing the door after the horse has bolted.

I think this is the first year when I have really enjoyed working in the garden.  I am more confident with following my instinct and more aware of what is around me and what needs doing.  The word ‘bench’ has been mentioned a lot today as we need to have another one further up the garden.  It will be incorporated into the workshop site and it will be wonderful to have somewhere to sit, aside from the steps, to enjoy the garden.



26 Comments Add yours

  1. Jane Scorer says:

    The thought of all that hard work makes me feel quite peculiar ! Garden projects are fantastic and give lots of motivation to gardening, but it is sooo nice when things get back to normal and pottering- mode can return !

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      I do like garden projects as I spend most of the winter pondering and planning so it is great to see them come to fruition

  2. bridget says:

    Great to have help with all that moving. The late Spring has allowed later than usual moving of plants this year. Your garden is fit to be proud of…it looks great.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Bridget – you are right the late Spring has helped but it is unusually warm this weekend so the plants I have moved aren’t too happy, hoping for rain tomorrow

  3. Your garden is looking lovely. I think you have a good headstart on the workshop area.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Tina
      Well you should see the workshop space today, 24 hours later. Half is already cleared and flattened. We have made huge progress, more than we expected

  4. Don’t be modest, your garden looks great. The flowering trees combine with the bulbs for a wonderful effect.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jason
      The narcissus and cherry do look amazing together. I cant decide if thats because the narcissus are late this year or because I have planted more

  5. Rob says:

    It’s looking great. I love doing bigger projects that really have an impact. Particularly if the project involves creating more planting space!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Rob
      Yes more planting space is always fab. I also have my eye on the area around the workshop which I can see will be excellent for some alpine troughs but I havent mentioned this to my son yet!!

  6. You should feel rightly proud of yourself, it’s looking lovely. What great weather for gardening. My project for the weekend is installing 100m of leaky pipe irrigation to reduce the hours spent watering.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi David – I think I could do with some irrigation at the moment, I am desperate for it to rain given all the plants that have been moved

  7. Annette says:

    Your garden looks great right now, Helen! Was a bit shocked to read that this is the first year you enjoy gardening…maybe you’re a bit to hard on yourself, gardening is no competition and should be pleasure, a possibility to experiment, feel free and crazy 🙂

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Annette – I think I have liked gardening but always been fretting about this or that and not feeling like the garden was coming up to how I saw it in my head but patience has won the day and I am really happy with it this year

  8. I admire your resolve to move ahead with challenging projects. I think about things too long and then the opportunity has passed by. The garden is splendid and the painted fence a perfect backdrop.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Marian
      The painted fence does look good but now I have to do the right hand fence before the workshop goes in 😦

  9. Your garden looks spectacular. You have every right to pat yourself on the back and feel proud of what you’ve accomplished. Do be gentle on yourself–physically and emotionally!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi MHM – oh I am much better at being gentle on myself these days and not worrying about others, took a while to learn though.

  10. David Eugene says:

    Congratulations on your garden Helen! Such a lovely sight specially the flowering tree shading your plot of narcissus. It is really an impressive project you got there too. Good luck with the moving. I am really looking forward on your progress. Happy Gardening!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi David – welcome to the blog. It is a big project but I’m not very good at small ones. In fact I am wondering what I will do next year as all the big projects will be done!!

  11. Cathy says:

    Helen – your garden is showing so much promise already this year and this major project will provide all sorts of opportunities, some as yet undreamed of. I get over the modesty issue by insisting I am just the facilitator and it is up to Nature whether she chooses to play ball or not. Your relationship with your garden will change once you can allow yourself to be relaxed about it and it will give you back as much as you’re putting in – and more. It is good that your son is able to support you by taking the edge off the potential worry about such a physical job.

  12. Alison says:

    It’s looking brilliant – definitely right to be proud of how it looks – isnt it great now Spring has finally sprung.

  13. I was exhausted just reading!! Your garden really does look stunning and proud you should be Helen. It’s wonderful.
    I’m glad that you’ve got lots of your plants moved, I know that was going to be a priority before the work started. I’m often moving things at the wrong time, so long as you keep on top of watering everything will be fine. I’m not sure whether I’m advising you or trying to convince myself. I moved an Azalea that’s full of buds last week, so far so good! I bet it’s not long until you come up with another project 😉

  14. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Looks lovely, gentle and peaceful!

  15. alison rayner says:

    Your latest blog makes such a lovely read and you should be justifiably proud of your achievements; the garden is really coming together and looking gorgeous! In the meantime, I have been inspired by your previous blog to look up the book by David Culp – it’s definitely on my ‘wish list’ now!

  16. I think you are right to be proud; it looks like everything’s coming together nicely, and I like the way the steps and paths somehow makes the garden more meandering and – to me – it appears larger than when there was just a boring lawn.

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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