End of Month View – May 2013


I have to say, and I never thought I would say this, but I am rather pleased with the front garden.  I actually like being in it.  You can see in the photo above that we have filled in the top corner; my son’s turf laying skills are not quite up to the standards of his turf lifting skills so we shall see how it settles in.  The Ballerina tulips have been wonderful, flowering for weeks and only just starting to go over now.  They are being followed by a mix of Alliums that I have been planting in this side border for a few years now.  You can’t really appreciate it but I have added a Cotinus to this border which is just unfurling its leaves and the deep burgundy works very  well with the orange tulips and purple alliums.


Rather too much grass in this photo but it was raining so they were taken quickly.  I think the border at the end of the lawn is filling out and it seems more cohesive now I have added the shrubs.  There are peonies in this border and red flowering shrub salvias.  There were meant to be some deep red irises but unfortunately the ones I bought last year mail order haven’t taken at all.  I wanted to buy some replacements at Malvern Spring Show but the late spring meant that irises were absent so I will have to keep an eye out in my travels.  I have lined the sides of the lawn with Alchemilla mollis  which hopefully in a few weeks will add a lime yellow froth to the scene.


As I am so chuffed with my garden at the moment I thought I would show you some views of the back garden.  Above is the view from my patio of the back/front of the Big Border.  The border is edged by three step-over apples which are growing along the top of the retaining wall. This is their second year and there is blossom on two of them which is very pleasing.  The blossom is echoed, unwittingly, by the erodium planted underneath.


Above is a view of the woodland border which runs off the Big Border.  This view is also from the patio – I did say it was raining.  I am really pleased with how this border has filled out, it was planted two years ago and now needs a little thinning and rearranging. I marked out a path through it back in the winter and now everything has appeared it is obvious that I will have to rejig the line of the path and also move some plants this Autumn.  I also need to remove the flower heads of the hellebores.

So this gives you a little bit of an idea of my garden at the end of May.  If you would like to join in this meme you are very welcome.  There are no rules just post a link to your blog post in the comments box and include a link to this post in your post.


33 Comments Add yours

  1. Annette says:

    So pleased to hear you say that, Helen! And your garden looks very lush too, so the rain’s been good for something 😉 Enjoy!

  2. Never heard of stepover apples. Front and back are looking great. You deserve a pat on the back!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jason and janneke
      Step-over apples are grown to about 3ft tall and the top one or two branches are trained horizontally to form a sort of low fence/barrier.

  3. Janneke says:

    Your garden looks greener than green, just beautiful. Step-over apples? Appletrees against a wall I understand of course but step-over, I wonder what it means.

  4. Yvonne Ryan says:

    It’s looking sooooo nice – all that hard work coming to fruition!!

  5. It’s hard to believe that the woodland border in the last photo was only planted two years ago, since it looks so lush and full already. Mine seem to grow so much slower; I guess because of the shorter growing season and less moisture. It would be so much more satisfying to see things mature quickly.

  6. Lea says:

    This is the first time I have heard the term ‘Step-over Apples’ – Interesting!
    Love those tulips!
    I leave my Hellebores flowers on to collect the seeds. Even though I’ve not had any luck getting them to sprout, I’ll try again this year.
    Thanks for hosting this meme, Here is my End of the Month View
    Happy Gardening!
    Lea’s Menagerie
    Mississippi, USA

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi My hellebores self-seed. I think hellebore seeds need some real cold to help them germinate.

  7. Alison says:

    I am so envious of your woodland border, mine is no where near that established yet. Even in the rain your garden is looking really good.

    My EoMR is here: http://www.blackberrygarden.co.uk/2013/05/end-of-month-review-may-2013.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Alison
      My woodland border is based on clay soil with lots of compost added over the last two years – maybe that has helped

  8. Helen your front garden is looking lovely I do like the border with the tulips, you’ve done a lot this year front and back it’s so nice to see it all coming together, the backgarden looks very lush, a lovely lot of texture and pattern in the different foliage,

    thanks again for hosting, my I’m afraid rather long post (I haven’t posted much this month) is posted: http://islandthreads.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/end-of-month-view-may/

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Frances
      I think giving up the allotment has allowed me far more time to devote in the garden and also my mind is more focussed

  9. hillwards says:

    Lovely, the repetitive plantings give it a strong structure, with feature trees and shrubs to focus attention. The back garden is looking very full and lush too.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Sara
      I agree I am going for the repetitive planting in the front garden and trying to have a different feel there to the more wild and lush back garden

  10. Anna says:

    I love the way your cat sneaks into your photos Helen – she is almost camouflaged but has not quite got away with it. Your front garden is looking splendid – the alchemilla will make a great soft edging. How rewarding it is when unplanned plantings compliment each other like the erodium and the apple blossom. I noticed my first iris is showing colour this morning. My end of month view is up now : http://www.greentapestry.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/end-of-month-view-may-2013.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Anna
      Maisie likes it when we are in the garden she gets very antimated, just prior to that photo she was leaping in the air but I missed it with the camera.

  11. It’s looking super, Helen. And it’s so lovely to see a cared-for front garden. I love the stepover apples too. I’ve been wondering about trying these. Did you train them yourself?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Helen
      Yes I have trained them myself its much much cheaper. I bought mine from a specialist grower and told them what I intended to do so they helped me choose the varieties and also advised on training.

  12. It looks lush and lovely. Perhaps you can give me an idea or two with my End of Month View at http://marianstclair.wordpress.com

  13. You have every right to feel chufffed with your front garden, it is looking lovely Helen. The woodland border looks very healthy, you have really worked very hard and it is clearly paying dividends, well done! This is my EOMV for May http://hurtledto60.com/2013/05/31/end-of-month-view-31-may-2013/

  14. Cathy says:

    Everyone has said it all, Helen – and ‘lush’ is definitely the word of the month! You can go away feeling proud of what you have achieved this year. Thanks for hosting – mine is posted at http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/end-of-month-view-may-2013/

  15. Gaz says:

    Looking good Helen, here’s our own garden at the end of May http://www.alternativeeden.com/2013/05/the-may-garden.html

  16. Very well done – the time and effort have paid off. Lovely cat – is it a Bengal? Thanks for hosting.

  17. That has come together so well Helen, no wonder you enjoy your front garden, which must make a lovely change! The back garden is looking great too, testimony to your renewed passion and focus. Can’t wait to see the alchemilla flowering in the front, they will make a lovely contrast to the cotinus even though it is on the other side of the grass. My End of Month View post is up too, thanks for hosting, I really enjoy this meme, more than any other.

  18. I love that color on those tulips…so beautiful. It is a lovely front garden–so welcoming. Thanks for hosting. http://www.thesagebutterfly.blogspot.com/2013/06/my-garden-notebook-june-2013.html

  19. Lyn says:

    You have reason to be chuffed, Helen! Your gardens are looking lovely. I remember that woodland border from last year, and it is so much more mature and interesting now. The apricot and purple scheme in the front garden is a knockout.
    Here’s my link:

  20. Pauline says:

    You can be very pleased with yourself, your front garden is looking super. Love your step over apples, they look really good and I think you will get quite a good crop from them.

  21. Your front garden is delightful – odd you should mention lining the lawn with Alchemilla, I’ve been considering doing that in the back garden (shady side). Your planting in the back garden is just how I like it – full and plenty going on!
    Here’s my link
    Thanks for hosting!

  22. Rob says:

    That’s all looking lovely. It’s great when everything starts to fill in, and it just keeps getting better.

    Here’s my end of month. Thanks for hosting!

  23. Helen I always enjoy visiting…the front garden has really grown into its lovely shape and form…and the back gardens are really lush as well…I’ll be linking in tomorrow.

  24. Ricki Grady says:

    I like the idea of taking stock on a monthly basis, but I tend to do it at the beginning of the month. I like the crisp lines of your front garden, especially as contrasted to the mad, wonderful jumble out back.

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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