Plans for 2014


I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. To me it seems that you are just putting yourself under pressure to achieve something which will undoubtedly not be achieved and you will feel like you have failed! But that is just my view. Instead I like to have aspirations and plans which I hope to achieve but with the full expectation that life may throw a curve ball and mean they are put on the back burner. Indeed when I read back through my garden journal from this time last year I was going to create a fern border up the top of the garden but this space was taken over by a wood store for my son and then there was the unexpected decision to give up some of the garden for his workshop which put all the other plans on hold and changed the feel and focus of then garden, albeit for the better.

This year I have a couple of ideas I am hoping to implement. First up is sorting out the corner of the patio. As you can see from the top photo it floods when we have heavy rain. I have had a pond here but the someone somewhere must have cleared some drainage and it dried out. It is now dry most of the year but I can’t risk planting anything here that isn’t a marginal plant. The other problem is that all the dust and detritus from the patio finds it way here and it is a challenge to make it tidy. I also feel that some height is needed here. So the plan is to put in some bricks or concrete blocks in which I can rest a wood plank platform. My eldest and I have worked it out so that any flood water could drain away through a gap below the planks. I then fancy a nice acer in a large pot here.


Then there is the Big Border to come up with an approach for. I feel an inclination to lush exotic looking foliage coupled with some more traditional perennials but it hasn’t crystallised in my mind yet. The far end of the border is partially shady so I will be planting some of the woodland perennials I love here. This is an area that I think will cause much pondering over the coming months.


The other major project we will definitely have to do is to finish the landscaping around the workshop. Guttering and a water butt need to be put in and the wood store which is where the fern border was going to be needs to be relocated to its final position. We want to create a small seating area by the workshop (in the area above) – it’s one of the few flattish areas. I will need to rejig some of the plants and bring in a load of gravel. There should be enough room for a bench.


The original woodland border needs some focus and better planting. This was on the list for last year but was a victim of the Big Border/workshop project. I want to add more shrubs along the fence and rejig the smaller perennials more to the front of the border. Originally when the border was created I intended there would be an informal path through the border but with developments last year I no longer think another path is a good idea. This means the focus of the border has changed but I think what I have in mind will be much better than the original plan.


Then there is the grass path dilemma. This is what was left of the back lawn. It has a camber which means I find cutting it with the mower exhausting and a strimmer justo doesn’t do the job well enough. Then there is the badger and it’s penchant for digging holes in it looking for grubs. Why I don’t know since there is a vast area of grass next door which is neglected and which the badger has to cross to get to my garden! I am toying with putting in a gravel path instead but there is a small voice saying the grass is a nice pause in the chaos of the garden. I suspect that I will still be pondering this in a year’s time.



Finally two projects I did plan and complete last year. The small conifer bed in front of the workshop is looking fresh and there are bulbs beginning to push through the soil. The woodland slope is my favourite area at the moment. I have planted it with ferns and epimediums and again there are snowdrops and special narcissus in here. I am hoping it will look wonderful in a month or so.

So lots planned and filling my mind in the early hours of the morning but at least there will be things to report back on here!

Author: Helen Johnstone

I live in Malvern, Worcestershire and am a very keen gardener. I started the Patient Gardener Blog in January 2008 as a way of recording what was happening in my garden and connecting with other like-minded people. I started a second blog PatientGardener 365 January 2013 in order to try and post a photo a day to capture what is growing in my garden or places I have visited

12 thoughts on “Plans for 2014”

  1. Sounds as if 2014 is going to be another busy year in the garden Helen ๐Ÿ™‚ Is that badger still thwarting your plans? I thought that it had ambled off to plague somebody else.

    1. The badger put in an appearance few weeks back, well large holes appeared so am assuming it ’twas he. Nothing since, hopefully the lack of tulip bulbs may discourage visits

  2. I hope you make some good progress on your plans for this year. I have all kinds of plans too, some of which keep me awake at night. I need to put together a To Do List for myself.

  3. Happy New Year, Helen! I’ve been trying ferns too for the first time this year just gone by. I bought five. Four are fine but the fifth is a complete goner. The ones on either side of it continue to thrive. Very odd. I suspect it’s because I ignored instructions about location on the pot. My challenge, as always, has been to balance current height against future height. (That’s often where things go wrong.) As for resolutions – I don’t even dare plans! Hopes are a bit ok as they count as wishful thinking and I’m good at that. Esther

  4. I gave up on New Years Resolutions a long time ago, I fell by the wayside too quickly! Your plans will keep you busy and I look forward to seeing the results in your posts.

  5. The grass path does look nice, but without a nearby lawn area I can see how it might be annoying to mow. Gravel can be restful too ๐Ÿ™‚
    The bulbs sprouts do look promising, I’m looking forward to seeing all the new ones plus those potted up treasures!

  6. No new year resolutions either, just plans. I think a bench would be a great addition to the yard. Will it have something to look at when you are resting?

  7. All your plans look very exciting Helen! I agree with you about new years resolutions. Your grass path is a bit of a dilemma. I looks really cool! But I can see it must be a pain to maintain. I do like the crunch of a gravel path to walk on. Your corner patio plan sounds great. Looking forward to seeing the results!

  8. I don’t do resolutions either – I’m far too easily distracted! Wishing you well with what ever you get round to doing Helen. Sods law – the reason the badger by passes the neighbours lawn and come’s to yours!

  9. If you want lush/exotic foliage look no further than tetrapanax papyrifer, it’s hardy and looks alot nicer than the run of the mill fatsias. Either that or schefflera’s which are becoming more popular – particularly some of the hardier forms.

  10. I so agree with you about resolutions. I much prefer Making Plans and Making Lists! Much more productive! I look forward to seeing all your plans come to fruition this year !

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