End of Month View – October 2014


October seems to have been a wet and windy month but it has certainly been a busy month for me resulting in not much gardening time and of course with the evenings drawing in things aren’t going to improve until the Spring.


I’m amazed at how much the succulents have filled out in the trough in the front garden.  I was worried when I planted it back in the spring that I hadn’t included enough plants but now I am far more happy.


Here it is in situ and I am again pleased with how well the succulents planted in the border have done.  I do need to lift the Aeonium but I am going to risk the other succulents.


The staging area is entering its winter period and is currently home to various pot of mixed alpines.  There are also a number of tender perennials in pots that are being collected here ready to overwinter storage. This area continues to work well and keeps my rapidly growing and eclectic collection of plants in some order.


The patio border is now loosing its summer clothing but I know that there are lots of bulbs waiting to appear come the spring and this is one of the first areas I am going to tidy this weekend.  It is definitely more balanced since I moved the edgeworthia to the left which just shows you shouldn’t shoe horn plants into spaces rather than make an appropriate space for them.

2014_10300021The cottage border hasn’t really changed.  There are still some roses appearing but the plants are definitely shutting down for the winter now so I will give it  bit of a weed and tidy and wait for the bulbs to appear.  I am pleased with how this area has developed over the last couple of years.  When I dug up the back lawn two years ago I was completely intimidated by the space and procrastinated for ages trying to work out where and if to put in paths.  In the end the path showed itself as it was the logical route to the plants.  It was meant to be a narrow access path not a feature but its now my favourite route around the garden and also the cat’s favourite sun-bathing location.

I need to do some tweaking to the Big Border on the right of the path.  Its just a case of re-positioning some of the plants so the lower ones hide the legs of the taller ones.  I find that planting a slope, as this part of the border is, quite challenging as you not only have to take into account the view from the front of the border but also how the plants relate to each other as they go up the slope and in this case the border is also viewed as much from the back so in fact it is a sloping island bed – what a ridiculous idea!  I am still pondering moving the Cotinus at the end of the border.  Its rather large and whilst I know I can prune it I think the rest of the border will work better without it so I am considering a new location for the shrub.


The far end of the Big Border is quite shady and home to several spring flowering woodland plants and a small Magnolia but I need to add some interest for other times of the year – maybe improve the foliage textures and find something to go in the bare patch in front of the magnolia.


Finally my favourite part of the garden – the new seating area.  Its looking a little messy as I have added some fine gravel from the greenhouse which might not have been the best idea but with use the small grit will work its way down between the larger stones and hopefully it will look OK.  The tin bath pond is being emptied over the winter and I will start again in the spring once I have decided what plants to use in it.  It has had Zantedeschia in it but they won’t overwinter in the pond so I will probably store them overwinter under cover.

I think there is still a lot of interest in the garden but mainly from foliage which is rapidly becoming more important to me than the flowers. I do think that there needs to be some stronger structures included to give it winter interest so I will have a think about this over the coming months and see what ideas I can come up with.

If you would like to join in with the End of Month View meme you are very welcome.  There are no real rules, you can use it as you want. You can feature one area through the year or you can do a tour, whatever.  I do find it is very helpful in making you look critically at your garden but also it helps you to see how things have changed and improved over time.  All I ask is that you put a link to this post in your post and add a link to your post in the comments box.





36 Comments Add yours

  1. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Hello Helen’s Puss – glad to see you making use of her lovely seat, looks nice and sunny and peaceful! Yvonne

  2. rickii says:

    You know you got it right when the cat gives it the stamp of approval.

  3. Alison says:

    I’m loving the succulents trough, it’s really developed well. Your no seating area is great. Finding time to sit & just enjoy the garden is really important I think.

    My EoMR is here: http://www.blackberrygarden.co.uk/2014/10/end-of-month-review-october-2014.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Alison
      I love my new bench it’s a great place for a cuppa

  4. hoehoegrow says:

    Gosh Helen your stone trough puts mine to shame, all your succulents look so healthy and are growing so strongly. Mine are virtually nonexistent now, having done ten rounds with the fantail doves!

    Thanks , as ever, for hosting EOMV, I always enjoy a good bit of blog hopping as a result of it !

    My EOMV is


    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi HHG
      Thank you I am glad you like the trough, it has turned out much better than I expected

  5. rusty duck says:

    A sloping garden is really hard Helen, especially when it is viewed from both sides. And how I can relate to the problem of legs!! I rather like the cotinus there, provided it can be kept small. The colour really adds something and has made me think I need more autumn foliage in the terraces too. Maybe balance it with a similar colour at the other end? Here’s my link:

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi RD
      I am dithering about the cotinus and have been for some weeks which probably means it should stay put. I need to find out the best time to prune it

  6. I love looking around your garden, Helen. It is always so full of interesting things and I am always in awe of how you have managed such a beautiful garden despite the steepness. My weekend is going to be one of a tidy up also. This is my End of Month View for October http://hurtledto60.com/2014/10/31/end-of-month-view-oct-2014-surprises-in-the-garden/

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Ronnie
      Thanks for joining in with the meme. This garden isn’t as steep as my last one believe it or not

  7. Anna says:

    Oh I like that splash of silver and red on the left in the first photo Helen. Are those your new purchases the names of which escape me? If so they have really settled in and look as if they have been there for some time. The succulent trough is a joy which has filled out perfectly over the season. What’s happening in the last photo – cat on ground level, plant pots on bench? Now that’s not how it should be 🙂
    Thanks as always for hosting. My end of month view is here :

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Anna
      No the silver is a Euphorbia and I think the red is probably the cotinus. The new plants are put of shot. The pots on the bench are some dianthus seedlings which it appears the cat likes to eat!!

  8. Cathy says:

    You must smile when you remember your doubts about removing that lawn, Helen, as this works so well and I too love your path – it reminds me of the one through my woodland edge border. Thanks for hosting – since hosting my Monday vase meme I am even more aware of how much these memes are valued. My EOMV is now posted at https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/end-of-month-view-still-green-and-pleasant/

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Cathy
      You are right I can’t believe how long I dithered about the lawn. Sorry I don’t join on with your meme, I’m not very good at picking stuff for the house

  9. CathyT says:

    Your bench looks so tempting Helen, it seems to nestle down really nicely in the midst of the planting. The garden looks splendid – was it the cotinus that was giving you such eye-catching colour? It’s a really good idea to do an overview. Maybe I’ll get my lazy self to join in too!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi CathyT
      The autumn colour comes from the cotinus and also a prunus

  10. Haven’t visited in a while, Helen and really like the new look. Hemingway Rewritten, huh? Interesting you leave your agave outside. Mine is snug (in its pot) back in the greenhouse now. David

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Dave
      I don’t normally leave the agave put, will probably dig up this weekend

  11. Julieanne says:

    I agree with you about the importance of foliage, although I do love flowers as well, so it’s a balancing act between the two. I think you are doing a good job of it. I’m continuing to love your staging area and succulent trough.

    My EOMV post is here: http://www.gwenfarsgarden.info/2014/10/end-of-month-view-october-2014.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Julieanne
      I like flowers too but I want the foliage to provide the backdrop and interest all year round with the flowers providing seasonal highlights

  12. Amy Myers says:

    Hi, I just found your blog via Jane at Hoe Hoe Grow, and have been enjoying it… especially love the bench with ferns around, not to mention the succulents.
    I found your End of Month View meme inspiring so have made a post for my first month and would like to participate if you don’t mind Here is the link: http://smallsunnygarden.blogspot.com/2014/10/a-glimpse-of-garden.html – if all goes right – I’ve had a lot of computer trouble today!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Amy
      Welcome and I am glad you are joining in, I hope you find it useful

  13. Hannah says:

    I like how green your garden is, foliage plants can add so much. I especially like your seating area, the cat is really camouflaged! I hope my Cotinus will start to get big soon, it is still quite small. I hope to see more “smoke” next spring. It can be tricky gardening on a slope, it looks great!

  14. Hi Helen, that bench area is really inviting, and I find it hard to remember that you ever had a lawn to remove, though I don’t envy you having to make a sloping island bed work, either one of those challenges is “interesting”, but both together?! I agree about shoe-horning plants, I find shrubs particularly hard to space, my Edgeworthia has grown alarmingly quickly, and I have had to give up on some of my plans for perennials around it as a result! I really like your succulent trough, and it works well with the surrounding border planting too. Much better than being isolated on a patio I think. Thanks again for hosting, my post is now up: http://plantaliscious.janetbruten.co.uk/2014/11/end-of-month-view-october-2014/

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Janet
      My edgeworthia hasn’t really grown much this year although it was only planted in the spring, I hope it doesn’t put grow it’s space too quickly

  15. johnvic8 says:

    Love your garden. Thanks for the invitation to join this meme. Please see my first offering at

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      hi John
      you are very welcome, the more the merrier

  16. Alison says:

    I like your succulent troughs very much. I’m hoping this winter that I will actually get around to making a few out of hypertufa. Here’s my EoMV post: http://bonneylassie.blogspot.com/2014/10/end-of-month-view-bottle-tree-bed.html

  17. Your garden has a lovely autumn feel about it Helen. I like the colour the Cotinus adds to that border. Your patio border still looks great. My Kirengeshoma collapsed in a heap courtesy of Gonzalo!
    I have to add that I have truly enjoyed taking part in the meme this year, it has allowed my new bed to settle and grow just as it should without me interfering with it at every opportunity! Thanks for hosting.

  18. jenhumm116 says:

    Hi Helen, thanks as ever for the tour, and for hosting. Love the ferns around your bench.
    Interesting your comment about foliage as I think my favourite photo on my blog this month has no flowers in it. As you say, it’s all about foliage shape and structure, a different challenge to flowering times and colour.
    Here’s my link, sorry I’m late

  19. Chloris says:

    I love the autumnal look of your garden. The stone trough full of succulents is a great idea. I love succulents more and more.
    Thank you for hosting this meme. I am joining in this month, although I am sorry to be a couple of days late posting it. http://thebloominggarden.wordpress.com

  20. Helene says:

    Hi Helen, your garden looks lovely and autumnal right now with lots of interesting foliage – I think I also appreciate foliage more and more as I get more confident as a gardener. I love your bench area, so inviting, and your succulents look splendid….I am still collecting succulents, haven’t decided what to do with mine yet! Here is the link to my EoMV, thanks again for hosting.


  21. Finally, linking in today Helen. I always enjoy this meme as it does help us all look at our gardens with some introspection. I adore the seating area, but the border of the alpine container is really wonderful too. I too am thinking about more foliage, and moving some things, actually lots of things around come next year. This year was a no-gardening year, but a great year to observe. Love the view looking down from the slope…slopes are hard as I used to have many in my old garden. Hope you enjoy the garden review:


  22. Helen, This post is not about my personal gardens but rather some I recently visited, I think you’ll agree that they are appropriate for the end of October: http://astudentgardener.blogspot.ca/2014/10/atlanta-botanical-gardens-scarecrows_31.html

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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