End of Month View – January 2015


Another year and the start of another series of End of Month posts.  Time for some new views, projects and pondering.

I plan to start with the view above which is the grass path between the Big Border and the former Bog Garden which is in need of a new name but first of all it needs some sort of identity.  I have some plans for the area on the right of the photo to give it more structure and interest but I think there will be a pinky/red/white theme picking up on the prunus flowers and the berries of the sorbus.  The Big Border still needs some rejigging to get the planting looking right.  The Euphorbia dominates the border and I want to try to tie it in with the planting around it more but I’m not sure how yet.  There are lots of asters and late flowering perennials in this border but I think I want to try to give it interest earlier in the year.  I have added some bulbs but I can’t remember where so I shall be watching to see what comes up and where I need to add more.


This is another view I haven’t included before and shows the whole of the former Bog Garden as well as the newish Hardy Exotic Border.  The tin bath is earmarked to be filled with some white Zantedeschia. It will be interesting to see how much light this border will get now that the willow that shaded most of it has been significantly reduced.  I want to tidy up the planting on the left hand side to try to reduce the impression that plants have been dumped there, which they have to a degree.  I also fancy a bit of sculpture and I have my heart set on some willow sculpture which would be kind of ironic.  The other thing that bothers me is the camber of the grass path which slopes down the garden and is quite frankly hopeless as I find it impossible to cut.  I keep bouncing back and forth between taking it up and replacing with a gravel path or relaying the grass on a flat base.

As an aside I am also hoping to sort out the border along the fence which has troubled me ever since it was created.  The bamboo are doing very well but I need to add some other plants, maybe shrubs, to fill the border and provide a good back drop (and mask the fence).  I just can’t think what and I haven’t really applied myself so I need to make a concerted effort this year.


I am particularly taken with the view up the garden from the patio to the shed so I have decided to include that this year. I suppose the view is mainly of the shed and gravel path which won’t change much during the year but I do put out pots on the steps and I intend to do more.  Also the Stipa gigantea is on the list from removal this Spring.  It has done well for years now and unwittingly was positioned so it catches the afternoon sun especially in the Autumn.  However since I got my darling cat it has suffered from her attacks particularly in the summer when crickets seem to live in the middle.  It is also planted in the wrong place as for years I have had to cut back the leaves which were engulfing every thing including the steps so its going.  In its place I intend to plant things that love the sun and good drainage like bearded irises which I love far more than grasses and maybe some hardy agapanthus.

The other part of the garden I thought I would focus on was the Woodland Border at the end of the grass path.  This is a couple of years old now but has had to have some replanting as I lost an Acer last year which dominated part of the border.


Over the Autumn and Winter I had added a Viburnum, Berberis seiboldii and a Leptospernum myrtifolium.  The border has benefited from the emptying out of one of the compost bins and last week before the cold snap I gave it a good mulch of wood chip.  So now I will be waiting and watching to see what comes up where.  I know there is a large Hosta Sum and Substance in there as well as a couple of clumps of Solomons Seal.  I think this border just needs some tidying along the front edges maybe with some more bulbs for next year but we shall see.


The rest of the Woodland Border which has a number of shrubs in it but as they are bare stems are difficult to see.  I am hoping that the Mahonia in the background will put on some real growth this year.  It was cut back to the ground two years back as I wanted to stop it growing on one stem taller and taller.  It has branched now and is starting to grow but sadly there were no flowers this year.  I also need to tweak the end of the Big Border in the foreground which is quite frankly shabby most of the year.  There is a large Dicentra here which dies back and leaves a gap so I need to think about what to plant with it to hide the gap when it dies back.

So those are this year’s End of Month Views.  Hopefully next month there will be a little more green and less brown and maybe even some new plants added – the greenhouse and cold frame are full of things waiting to go out.

All are welcome to join in with the End of Month View meme (EOMV).  All I ask if that you link to this post in your post and leave a link in the comment box below so we know you have joined in and can come for a look.  You can use it in any way you wish.  Some do as I do and look at one particular area through the year, others do a tour of the garden or feature whatever is pleasing them.

If you want to get an idea of what is where in my small garden take a look at the Garden Plan which you can find from the tab along the top of the post.

51 Comments Add yours

  1. Helen–The Euphorbia is a supperstar and I think you could tie it in better by adding a bit more silver/gray or variegated foliage to this area of the garden, perhaps on the other side of the path too since you plan to have some white blossoms there. The Fatsia provides a nice color connection, a few smaller things could establish a theme…

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Marian
      That’s a good idea, I think you might have hit the nail in the head as I have just realised I am looking at the borders individually and not in terms of how they connect with each other
      Thank you

  2. I also love your path up to the shed, Helen. Funny how the simple things are so often very pleasing! I think it is the natural materials, the gentle curve, the perfect proportions. Good luck with your new planting.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi J
      I think you are right the natural materials are more restful than harder landscaping and I love that sense of journey.

  3. Helen your back garden has changed a lot since I started reading your blog about 4 years ago, your plans have worked well and the new borders are all coming along nicely, yes there is room for maneuver, but isn’t there always a need to edit and add more plants, I like Marian’s suggestion for the area around the euphorbia and I think it looks wonderful though I do see what you mean after I read your thoughts on it,
    I have just posted my end of month view, I am concentrating on my rose borders this year, thank you for hosting this meme I do enjoy it, Frances

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi IT
      I think our gardens change as our interests do and we learn about new plants. I am definitely not the same gardener I was 4 years ago, not necessarily better just different.
      I’m glad you are joining in again this year.

  4. Diana Studer says:

    It’s the invitation to come, walk down this path, that makes an enticing view of the garden. When I look at your path up to the shed I ‘see’ the pots of interesting plants.
    My EOMV is going to bounce between finding out what is in my new garden and plotting and planning what I want instead.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Diana
      So now I will have to make sure I have interesting pots on the stairs!! It shall look forward to exploring your new garden with you

  5. I like the sound of the willow sculpture!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi VW
      I know a willow sculptress which will be handy! 🙂

  6. Jennifer says:

    Could your Stipa gigantea move to the back fence with the bamboo? I can’t remember whether the conditions will be suitable. Regarding the euphorbia, I’ve dealt with that by planting a few interspersed down a path, but that is partly because my garden conditions are pretty limiting to what actually thrives, so I work in a lot of multiples (although different varieties) once I find something that grows.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jennifer
      I thought about moving the stipa to by the bamboos but I just don’t love it enough and I have other plans so it is going. I know what you mean about repeating plants that are doing well especially when your conditions are difficult.

  7. Helene says:

    I like those steps up to your shed, and I do like your shed, it looks very big – at least to someone who doesn’t have a shed, not even a tiny one! There are always changes and tweaking to do in a garden, mine is up for big changes this spring as many plants are swapping places and new plants are waiting in the wings to get a space in the beds. I have so many plants I need to find a space for!
    I look forward to seeing your garden come July or August, I am sure everything will look amazing.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Helene
      I have to admit the shed isn’t mine, it’s my sons workshop. He is a cabinet maker and does wood turning in it.
      I hope the garden loves up to your expectations come the summer.
      Thanks for joining in with the meme

  8. Christina says:

    Dear Helen, I think the End of Month View – meme is an awesome idea and I am looking forward to follow the developments in your garden this year.
    I also have decided to participate in your meme with my humble garden, featuring my White Garden Bed. Here is the link to my first blog post


    Warm regards from Southern California,

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      hi Christina
      Glad to welcome you to the meme, I hope you find it helpful.

  9. rusty duck says:

    Helen your garden looks so much tidier and well managed than my chaos! The green strip created by the path does set off the borders well, but I know what you mean about camber. It’s difficult to tell how bad it is, but it does look quite steep. From experience I have discovered that levelling creates ‘cliffs’ in the border above and between the path and the border below which can be difficult to hide successfully, it all depends on how much height difference there is to lose.

    As for me, I’ve decided to bite the bullet this year and finally tackle the steepest part of my slope, after just tinkering with it really over the last couple of years. Here’s my link:


    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      hi RD
      you are so right about levelling the path and creating cliffs – only another slope gardener would understand this.
      I am looking forward to seeing how hour steep slope develops

  10. Lea says:

    I like the view up the steps to your shed. And there is a bench beside it to sit and think. Thanks for hosting! Here is my EOMV:

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Lea
      The bench only arrived last year, goodness knows why I didn’t put one there earlier

  11. I like your new view of the bog garden and can’t wait to see that tin bath filled with new flowers and added to the landscape. Here is my EoMV in Texas. http://rebeccastexasgarden.blogspot.com/2015/01/end-of-month-view-january-2015.html
    Thanks for hosting!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Rebecca
      Thank you, I look forward to following your garden again this year.

  12. So much green in your garden, Helen, while mine is all white. I like the way you link your end of month view with your plans for your 2015 garden. P. x

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Pam
      I don’t envy your snow at all, I would really struggle with your climate.

  13. Andrew says:

    When I want to change or improve an area of my garden, I take photos of it from April through to September so I can see how it looks at different times. Twice in April and twice in May (when things are growing fast), then once a month for the rest of the season. It’s amazing how this helps as bits can look good in spring and bad later on, or vice versa.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Andrew
      I do find looking at the garden through the year really helpful. It makes you look more closely

  14. Amy says:

    I love the amount of structure you have even with the herbaceous plants biding their time till spring. I’ll look forward to future views up the path 🙂
    My EOMV post became considerably more complicated than I intended so I have just now posted it. Here is the link http://smallsunnygarden.blogspot.com/2015/01/one-minute-in-january.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Amy
      It is interesting how much paths add to the garden. I hadn’t realised until I removed the lawn and replaced it with the border and paths.
      Thanks for joining in with the meme

  15. mossfighter says:

    I read your post and was enthused so decided to join your meme, I hope it will help me concentrate my mind on the large project that I have ahead this year.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi MF
      Welcome to the meme, it’s been going a few years now and there are a number of regular contributors who find it helpful to focus their efforts.

  16. It seems those steps and the view are popular Helen. I love them too! You’ve so much that you want to achieve I look forward to reading about and seeing your efforts. I’m sure you’ll get lots done. If not, there’s always next year, right 🙂
    Please to join in again this year. Thanks for hosting.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Angie
      It is interesting how popular the steps up. I suppose we all love the idea of exploring and the anticipation of where something takes us. Thank you for joining in again this year.

  17. Alison says:

    You’re garden is looking good Helen, this time of year the structure shows really well. I’m looking forward to seeing the tin bath developments.

    My EoMR is here http://www.blackberrygarden.co.uk/2015/01/end-of-month-review-january-2015.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thank you Alison. The tin bath is loathed by my eldest as he has drilled and filled holes in it twice because of my indecision!!
      Thanks for joining in again this year

  18. Cathy says:

    There is so much promise in all your changes, Helen, and I am sure it will all gradually fall into place. I love the paths that transverse your garden and your plan really helps me to put them and the whole garden into perspective. Would you mind me asking you to put an actual link to your map in the text so that I can click from one page to another as I read the post without losing either of them? My EOMV ramblings are at https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/end-of-month-view-ready-and-waiting/ Thanks for hosting – it’s really appreciated 🙂

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Cathy
      I will try and remember to include a link to the map in the EMOV post in future. Thanks for joining in with the meme again

    2. Cathy says:

      Thanks Helen and for the meme too of course

  19. Thank you for hosting this, Helen. It’s a great way to monitor progress and motivate ourselves to get out there in the cold and get digging… the thought of next month’s EOMV really spurs me on! Your garden’s looking good… looking forward to seeing it develop over 2015.

    My post is at https://edinburghgardendiary.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/end-of-month-view-january-2015/

  20. jenhumm116 says:

    Hi Helen, like a number of others I love your views (especially the steps) and your plans.
    Wishing you well with your hopes and dreams for 2015.
    My link is below:

  21. Juliet says:

    I’ve finally managed to post my first end of month view – it’s here: http://agardenfullofdodos.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/end-of-month-view-january-2015.html

    Like everyone else, I love your steps up to the shed – they are very inviting, especially with the bench at the top. And it’s a really good idea to post a plan of your garden – is that new or have I missed it before? I’m planning to do a “garden tour” series of posts about my new back garden this year (the front is my end of month view) and have been thinking about doing the same – it makes it much easier to put the photos of different areas in context – though I doubt mine will be as colourful or as artistic as yours!

  22. I finally have something to EMOV about! Looking forward to making progress in the back garden at https://marianstclair.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/end-of-month-view-january-2015/

  23. Hi Helen,
    Thanks for a great post.
    I’ve had a go at End of Month View. Heres mine…. https://thecynicalgardener.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/end-of-month-view-january-2015/

  24. Julieanne says:

    I rather like that view that incorporates the former bog garden and the Hardy Exotic Border, it sits really well. And that path looks so inviting.

    Have you thought of training a fruit tree up part of that back wall? And with that grass path, maybe change it to something like the path up to your shed? That kind of camber can be awkward, particularly when wet.

    I shall look foward to seeing what you decide and how your garden grows in 2015.

    My EOMV, with a new focus for 2015, is here: http://www.gwenfarsgarden.info/2015/02/end-of-month-view-january-2015.html

  25. Helen I do love the borders around the grass path and up the stairs near the bench and shed. It will be lovely to see how these areas grow and change. I have a few areas I will be focusing on as well that i started with last month and continue in this month’s post. Glad I have time to focus on planning as we are buried in a big storm today and likely to stay buried until late March.

    Here’s my link:


  26. Sheila says:

    Thank you so much for hosting this Helen. I love looking at your garden – it always looks so good in winter, not something I can claim of my own garden! I’m a little late but here is my own contribution: http://greenridgechronicles.blogspot.ca/2015/02/end-of-month-view-january-2015.html

    I hope the link shows up – it didn’t seem to post last month.

  27. Cathy says:

    Like everyone else I enjoyed your paths – they really do lead the eye in your garden (liked the woodland log-edged one in particular). They don’t seem to do it in mine (I’ve noticed by the way friends move around!) I sympathise over the ‘cliffs’ -quite often here I seem to end up with a plant that doesn’t like wet feet sitting at the bottom of the ‘cliff’. You get rid of one issue and create another!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Cathy
      I put the paths in where I walk rather than the other way. I tried imposing paths but found I was taking a different route

    2. Cathy says:

      Ah – maybe that’s where I went wrong – I put them in where I wanted other people to walk!

  28. I’ve enjoyed your blog and would like to enter the End of the Month view: I’ve linked to it (at least I hope I have – do tell me if the link isn’t working) in the opening paragraph, rather than in the title:http://www.themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk/marriage-and-february-gardens-have-more-in-common-than-you-think/ – it is a post entirely photographed in the last week of January 2015. I hope it qualifies, and thank you for running the meme.

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.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s