End of Month View – October 2013


Finally, there is some progress to report in the front garden.  I have been bemoaning for months the row of descampsia that were planted at the end of the lawn and how they really weren’t giving the effect I had hoped for.  A week or so ago I blogged about finally biting the bullet and removing them and how this really was the right decision to make.

I will be adding some Tulip Ballerina to continue those planted along the left hand side and also some Crocosmia in this area to add to the orange and red spots of colour that are already apparent in the Grevillea and Salvias.


I have already added Fritillaria meleagris along the beech hedge.  It gets very damp here – the soil is heavy clay and I suspect there is a spring running in this area.  I am hoping that the Fritillaria will add to the bulb display in spring.  I am also hoping that the Alchemilla mollis and Bergenia will start to bulk up along this border.


The red highlights continue along the side of the driveway but I have added some dark blue bearded irises in this area which hopefully will add a blowsy look in early summer.  Again there are crocosmia in this border, this time a lovely pale orange one with fawn foliage.

So that’s the front garden at the end of October.  I am sure that when I look back over these posts over the last year there won’t be that much of a change from month to month but this is a newly planted area that I am still trying to get right.

It would be great if you joined in with this monthly meme.  You can use it as you wish – some people look at the same part of the garden month on month, some do a tour of the garden, whatever suits you  but many have found it helps them to really focus on a part of the garden.  However, it would be great if you could link to this post in yours and leave a link to your post in the comment box so we can all come and have a look.


17 Comments Add yours

  1. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Quite autumnal for you – late spring here -we need rain (again) today emptied my bottom layer of worm farm and the worm weez – the worm compost went around the citrus trees and the weez in my palms in pots at my daughters around the corner. Have another bucket and a half which I will save. Chucked some more mulch around, a battle with birds scratching it out. The mulch smells great as quite a lot of marcrocarpa chipped into it. I don’t usually like chip mulch but concrete clay here and some yuk weed mat under!

  2. lornagannon says:

    Hello Helen. I’m sure you will be glad that you did “bite the bullet”! It can be hard but sometimes you have to be ruthless in a garden… everything has to earn its keep. Look forward to future photos when your bulbs appear!

  3. I’ve joined the fun at http://marianstclair.wordpress.com

    I see you have a touch of autumn in the garden too. Removing the descampsia makes a nice difference. Can’t wait to see the bulbs in spring.

  4. Anna says:

    I envy you your ability to be ruthless Helen – wish some of it could rub off on me 🙂 I think that you did the right course of action removing the grasses – the garden does not seem to come to an abrupt full stop at that edge. Look forward to seeing what happens come spring. It seems that you should have some colour and interest for each season which is a hard balancing act in itself. My end of month post is up now here :

  5. Cathy says:

    There is a distinct absence of loose leaves in your pictures, Helen – how come?! With all your additions the borders should indeed be bulking up nicely by mid season next year and I look forward to watching their progress with you. I am continuing to use the EOMV for a whole garden tour but reading yours I can see the advantages to oneself of focussing on one specific area… Thanks for hosting. My tour is at

  6. Jason says:

    You have the right approach. If a plant isn’t giving you what you need, you have to try something new. You’re running a garden, after all, not a home for needy plants! I sometimes tend to go a little too far in this direction, changing plants before they really have a chance to show what they can do. But better that than keeping plants indefinitely that aren’t making you happy.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jason

      You did make me laugh with the idea of a home for needy plants. I really don’t do needy and I don’t have the patience with plants that aren’t performing well so out they go

  7. Hi Helen, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how much progress is apparent when you look back at past posts on your front garden, I think you have done a great job of grabbing it by the scruff of the neck – or should that be foliage – and shaking it in to a really rather lovely space. I love the continuity of colour you are developing, and the simpler planting makes it feel very grown up, somehow. The absence of the descampsia is a massive improvement! My EOMV post is now up too. Thanks again for hosting!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Janet
      Oh I am pleased you agree about the removal of the descampsia. Off to have a nose at your garden now

  8. Alison says:

    Your front garden is looking great and you were right about the grasses, whilst I really like them I can see now why you wanted them gone. I also admire the crisp edges to your lawn, something I rarely do but I always know it looks so much better when I have.

    My EoMR is here http://www.blackberrygarden.co.uk/2013/10/end-of-month-review-october-2013.html

  9. Holleygarden says:

    I think you are getting it just right, Helen. The touches of red are wonderful. I planted some fritillaria meleagris to try this year. After reading your post, I realize now that I should have planted them where they would get more water!

    My End of Month View post is here: http://dreamingofroses.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-changes-i-made.html

  10. Of Gardens says:

    I have descampsia goldtau in three location in my garden. In each location I planted it in large drifts. Only one of the drifts has given satisfaction. One is ok but the third is dismal and I will remove it in the spring. I know I should not be pleased to hear about you taking out your descampsia, but I do like to know others have not had success with it. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Hi Helen, got to be cruel to be kind! Plants have to deserve their place … so I admire anyone who can actually follow that edict !! I always take pity on them at the last moment !
    I have actually managed to do my EMV nearly on time and the link is
    Thankyou for hosting !

  12. Helen I am finally linking in. I do enjoy the meme and thank you for hosting. Your front area is coming along and your tenacity in trying to get it right, looking at the detail of the planting has been a great role model. I am going to be doing a long, serious study of my gardens to work on rearranging and getting them right. This meme will continue to help that work.
    Here’s my link:


    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Donna
      I’m glad you find it so useful although I really dont see myself as a role model just someone floundering along trying to make what is in her head appear in the garden!

  13. ginnytalbert says:

    What a lovely little front garden you have! I enjoyed reading about your activities.

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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