End of Month View – February 2015


February seems to be ending on some sunny days which make a welcome relief after the recent grey and cold.  It was a delight today to potter in the garden without having to wear a coat.  As you can see from the state of the grass path it has been very wet here and the path is looking muddy.  It does take a lot of wear and I keep wondering about replacing it with a gravel path, a bark one doesn’t appeal.  However, my cat loves the grass – she sunbathes here and if often seen leaping around on it chasing some leaf or twig.  She doesn’t really like my gravel paths choosing instead to creep along the stone edges so I think it will remain but I may lift it and level it.


The border alongside the steps has seen the most work this last month and although it looks rather bare there are lots of plants emerging.  I have also been adding some geraniums and boykinia along the stone edge to try to soften it.  I love the watsonia leaves with the sun shining through them at the bottom of the obelisk it is such a useful plant and really should be grown more.


There is still little to see in the woodland border although I have spotted some narcissus coming through and hopefully the epimediums will start to flower soon. Once plants start to emerge I want to work on improving this area.  It needs more cohesion and really being a woodland border it should have lots of hellebores, erythroniums and spring bulbs right now – something I will need to address.


The other end of the woodland border looking very bare and dull also.  More work to do but also so much potential for plant buying!  I have been doing some on-line shopping so hopefully these purchases will have an impact this time next year.  I should add some snowdrops and eranthis here too or maybe some crocus and some ferns and possibly digitalis but I would also like some late summer/autumn interest.


Another view across the grass path and there has been a change since last month as I have moved a Cotinus into the foreground.  I wonder how useful this view is as the grass path seems to be featuring too much.  Maybe I will find a spot to take a better shoot of the old bog border from for next month.

So there we are at the end of February.  It is looking generally tidy, there are splashes of colour from hellebores and bulbs and so much beginning to emerge through the soil.  I have started to implement some of my planting plans and have other ideas up my sleeve including painting the shed and hopefully over the next couple of months with lighter evenings and possibly more favourable weather I might be able to really make some progress.

Anyone is welcome to join in with the End of Month meme and you can use it as you wish.  We post on the last day of the month, or thereabouts, and some of us show the same shots of the garden every month, whilst others give a more general tour.  All I ask is that you leave a link to your post in the comment box below and link to this post in your blog post – that way we can all find each other and come for a visit.




44 Comments Add yours

  1. mattb325 says:

    The garden is looking lovely despite the vagaries of the winter! I’m always drawn to the picture of the stairs/shed/seat area at the top of the garden, as my back yard also slopes upward and I have a shed and seat to enjoy the view in almost exactly the same corner (but yours looks so much nicer than mine)!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Matt
      Maybe the softer winter sunshine helps!!!! I’m sure your shed and path looks good but I think we are all so critical of our own spaces.

  2. Diana Studer says:

    While we are between and the garden paths are mostly blown sand, the cats prefer the brick edge ‘cat walk’ or the few stepping stones. Didn’t like gravel, and don’t much like walking on the eww sand!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Diana
      My cat doesnt like walking on gravel but she does like lying on it in the sun

  3. Now is a good time to buy snowdrops, winter aconites, and cyclamen coum ‘in the green.’ They should then seed around in future years. I can recommend a company if you need a supplier.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi AP
      Yes I have numerous pots of bulbs waiting to go out but I am waiting to see where the gaps are when the perennials appear rather than digging holes for the bulbs and disturbing the sleeping perennials.

  4. Helene says:

    My cat seems to be the odd one out here, he keeps walking up and down my gravel path every day, even though he could just as easily have jumped into the flowerbed and walked on the bark mulch. But perhaps bark mulch is even worse to walk on than gravel?! He uses the flowerbeds as his toilet, nicely rotated so no area gets too heavily used, and once he is finished he jumps back on the gravel path 🙂

    Your garden looks lovely in the spring sunshine, this time of year is such a good time for putting plans into action, I am looking forward to seeing your new plants for the woodland border.

    Here is my EOMV for February:

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Helene
      Thank you for joining in the meme. My cat is funny as you can almost see her thinking ‘why has she put gravel here, doesnt she know I dont like it’ as she tiptoe across the gravel path

  5. rusty duck says:

    It’s difficult to avoid the garden looking bare in February. I was thinking much the same looking at my own slope this morning. I was wondering if this time next year, when I’ve added more plants, it will look more cohesive. But then again I love my summer perennials and they need the spaces in which to grow. The eternal dilemma of the all seasons gardener!

    More slope shenanigans here: http://www.rustyduck.net/2015/02/28/shall-i-prune-the-pyracantha/

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jessica
      You are right getting the balance across the seasons is so tricky and few of use have space for season specific borders. Popping over to see your slope

  6. Juliet says:

    Bare spaces in a garden are exciting! – you can enjoy planning what to put in them.

    I like the view across the grass path to the shed – it gives a more cohesive view of the garden, it’s good to see how different areas fit together. I’ll have to remember that when I’m doing my garden tour as my natural inclination is to crop everything and just show close-ups.

    Here is my February end of month view: http://agardenfullofdodos.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/end-of-month-view-february-2015.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Juliet
      I think we are all good at cropping photos to showcase the good bits which is why I like this meme as it makes you take a step back and look at a wider view and people are always kind with their comments.

  7. jenhumm116 says:

    All looking really full of potential, Helen. And I agree, so lovely to be able to get outside in the sunshine. Like Matt, I always particularly like the picture featuring the steps, lovely with the light shinging through.

    Here’s my EOMV https://duverdiary.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/end-of-month-view-february-2015/
    but could I also invite anyone to offer an opinion on my previous post https://duverdiary.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/advice-please/
    as it’s giving me sleepless nights!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jen
      I like that view too but it is generally all shed and gravel and seems strange to me to include in a post on gardening as there isnt a lot of plant life in that shot!!

  8. Joe Owens says:

    I am with the cat, i prefer your grass path, especially when it is so lush. My garden spaces are so much more open and not so inviting. Your garden looks like a great place to snuggle in and sniff garden smells!

    Here is my snow buried EOMV for Puxatawney Phil’s showcase month. https://chasingtheblooms.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/end-of-the-month-garden-review-february-2015/

    1. Anna says:

      Oh those steps up to the shed and the chair are most inviting Helen although I can’t see you sitting still for long in one spot 🙂 Are you painting the shed another colour or just giving it a new lick of the same colour? Have fun choosing new plants for the woodland border. The late summer/autumn interest is perhaps the most challenging but I’m sure it will look great when you’ve cracked it. My end of month view is now up over at :

    2. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Joe
      I think the grass path is staying not least because I haven’t got the energy to dig it up. I want to concentrate on planting this year rather than digging and creating more mess!

    3. Joe Owens says:

      I can understand that theory Helen. Our gardening time is too precious to waste.

    4. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Anna
      I do sit on the bench and have a cuppa. Its a good spot to look across the garden and plan. I have in mind a dark brown almost black shed with sage green highlights!!!!!! We have a sage green back door to the garage and I want to incorporate the colour more in the garden fixtures to bring things together. I often stain the fences almost black but they have a habit of fading so I am currently researching what to use on the shed so I dont have to do it on an annual basis.

  9. I’m with the cat. I like grass paths.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Virtuose
      I like grass paths too, much gentler all round

  10. Cathy says:

    I can tell you took your photos yesterday rather than today, Helen – far less sunshine here today too and a definite dampness in the air. You have made such a lot of progress here since last year and it really seems to be coming together – you must be so pleased with the stepped area in particular. Thanks for hosting. My EOMV is at https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/end-of-month-view-getting-ready-to-march/

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Cathy
      Yes I knew I was going to be out all day at the garden club yesterday so I took the photos on Friday when it was sunny which was lucky. Lovely sunny day here today now although quite blustery

  11. Alison says:

    Hi Helen, your garden is looking wonderful in the sunshine. We have had some lovely sun just recently.

    My EoMR os here: http://www.blackberrygarden.co.uk/2015/02/end-of-month-review-february-2015.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thank you Alison. The sun makes such a difference at this time of year, the garden seems to shine

  12. When the Continus leafs out it will be nice to see how brings the deeper color around the garden. Your shed and steps with the bench look so inviting in the sunshine. We have the opposite of our typically sunny winter weather this week.


    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Shirley
      Thank you for joining in. I do like different colour foliage and I try to incorporate it in the garden to provide backdrops to the flowers but I am still very much learning.

  13. Amy says:

    The sun shining through the watsonia is lovely, Helen! I dropped watsonia from my order at the last minute; now I’m wishing I hadn’t… Next time 😉 Everything is looking so neat and ready for springtime, and a few blank spaces only lend excitement about what to add.
    Here is my EOMV post – I’m showing one of my bare little, new little beds this month: http://smallsunnygarden.blogspot.com/2015/02/end-of-month-view-dry-corner-in-february.html\
    Thanks for hosting the EOMV!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Amy
      I do like Watsonia. I am aiming for no blank spaces by the summer. I am going for Vita Sackville’s bung them in approach.!!

  14. I see the beginnings of spring in your garden, Helen. And I’m impressed how tidy it looks. Mine is still under a foot or more of snow, and more forecast for tomorrow, so I’ll wait until the snow has gone before I start participating in you meme. Just off to check out some other spring garden blog postings. P. x

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Pam
      Oh dear I would find all that snow quite depressing. I hate the cold. Stay warm and hopefully by the end of March you will be able to join in with the meme

  15. christina says:

    Dear Helen, there is definitively a friendly springish atmosphere in your garden at the end of February! I hope you don’t mind be saying this, but honestly, I love your grass path and would not replace it with gravel, because especially at this time of the year the green of the grass adds so much color that is pleasing, soothing and cheerful to the eye. I don’t think the grass path needs to be in perfect condition to have this positive effect. I would be afraid that gravel would create a completely different and rather dull mood in your garden in this area. Maybe as you said you might want to try to lift and level the grass path first, before you replace it with gravel and see if it is easier to maintain?
    I love the idea of painting your shed and I am very curious to know what color you have in mind. I also very much like the look of the main bed (old log border?) in your last photo to the left of your shed.

    Here is my contribution to your End of Month View February meme:


    Thanks for hosting!

    Warm regards,


    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Christina
      You are right about the path. I think the discussion this post has prompted has made me decide that it stays for all the reasons you state.

  16. I agree with Christina,I like your grass path. I have got gravel paths in my more formal areas,but I do have bark in what I call my woodland area…edged with logs ( not log roll edging). It seems softer and more natural and in keeping with the types of plant that I grow in this area. Unfortuately grass would soon get soggy and muddy here in times of prolonged wet weather, bark seems to absorb it better making it nicer to walk on.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Sue
      I do have bark paths but I get fustrated with them as the birds throw the bark around and being a slope it tends to slide down one end, although this would also happen with gravel. The decision has been made the grass is staying

  17. I’m envious of your warmer and sunnier days. We’ve had just the opposite in Texas – with freezing rain the past couple of weeks. How exciting to have new plants popping up. It will be fun to see the changes from this month to next month! Have fun filling up your empty spaces with new plants! Here is my EoMV: http://rebeccastexasgarden.blogspot.com/2015/02/end-of-month-view-february-2015.html

  18. Helen Johnstone says:

    Hi Rebecca
    I don’t think we have been much warmer than you recently. Hopefully now we are in March the weather will start to improve

  19. Angie says:

    I have admired those steps since you and your son put them in last year. Although needed, they do make a nice feature, I think.
    Your garden is looking very tidy. I was mirroring your comments re February in my post and am already thinking about what I can do to improve things for next year. Proving just how useful this meme is Helen. Thanks for hosting and I look forward to seeing how you planned works come on in your following posts.
    There’s my link.

  20. messmelissa says:

    Your garden looks amazing for February, very nice pictures. I’m joining your meme with my first post for the back bed in my backyard. Thanks Helen!


  21. Chloris says:

    A really interesting post, I love seeing what other people have being doing in the garden. I am joining in this month. I am sorry I am a day late. https://thebloominggarden.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/end-of-month-v…-winter-garden/

  22. Tina says:

    I think your garden looks great for the end of February–quite lush, though I’m sure that lushness will increase with the warmer days and longer rays of the sun. I’m curious about your Cotinus–do you know what species it is? I also have a small one that I planted about a year ago. It’s a native to Texas and is Cotinus obovatus, American (or Texas) Smoke Tree. Mine is leafing out, I assume yours is as well?

  23. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Oh my gosh – so many comments – Way down here in Northern NZ it is VERY DRY still. Just had a weekend on the Corromandel. so glad no longer a farmers wife! Beautiful beaches, water so lovely, clear and warm! NZ shingle roads up the Peninsula, luckily tourists were being very careful! (We have had 10 deaths in the last month of tourists or NZ’rs caused by tourists) we are left hand drive. like Britian. Amazing bush regenerating after our ancestors cut id down for shipping masts and then goldminers destroyed also. Also Route 309 a shock with introduced weeds going rampant! Back home the irrigation working at last and the first thing I did was water my beans – still beaning! Yum! Forcast warmer than usual for next 2 months so lots more watering on the agenda! Luckily we are on town water Lots of water restrictions elsewhere. Some here at Whangaparaoa only on tank water (their choice) so have to be extra economical, bucket under shower etc to then water garden! The Garden centre is advertising planting daffodils – rubbish – too hot yet – leave until May at earliest!

  24. Looking at your neat borders makes me want the snow to melt quickly. Instead it is snowing more here. So I dream and plan. I really enjoyed the views from some different angles and especially with the sunlight at that angle. I especially love the view from the bottom of the steps. You can see all the work you have done there.

    Here’s my review of a garden that I will be working on this year. It is a rather untidy and has become more of a wild area that needs some TLC:


  25. Julieanne says:

    The sun coming through the Watsonia is lovely – they look like crocosmia leaves and makes it feel like summer! Your garden looks very neat with plenty of hints of what’s to come.

    Here’s my Feburary EOMV on my Long Shady Border: http://www.gwenfarsgarden.info/2015/03/end-of-month-view-february-2015.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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