My Garden This Weekend – 9th October 2016

Amarine belladiva
Amarine belladiva

So its been many weeks, no months, since I wrote a ‘My garden this weekend’ post. I won’t bore you yet again with my emotional struggles with the garden and my lack of enthusiasm.  Suffice to say that this weekend I had to really push myself to get on with some of the tasks that are needed.  The patio is full of purchases from the summer that need planting out or I will be struggling over the winter to protect the plants.  However, of course it’s not that simple.  I bought the plants for a particular project – the Big Border revamp – but I haven’t made as much progress as I had hoped.

I think I may have mentioned before that I want to replant the Big Border to benefit from the soil which drains very well. My plan is to use it for the various bulbs that I have a weakness for.  I think last weekend I reported that I had started to relocate some of the peonies to Hugh’s Border and I have added a couple of Miscanthus to the Big Border which weren’t happy behind the shed.


Bits of it are coming together but the main part of the project is to formalise the lower edge of the Big Border.  The path has for some years been edged with Malvern stone found in the garden or logs from  tree pruning.  I have always gardened on a shoestring and never had funds for major landscaping so the garden has developed through hard work and making do with what was to hand.  When the Big Border went in around 4 years ago I wasn’t sure about the path and waited to see where the natural path appeared.  It’s all been a little Heath Robinson.  Originally the path was finished with woodchips but over the years this has disintegrated and the stone edging isn’t strong enough to clearly define the border from the path.  I need it to look smart and tidy.

The trouble is that I have concluded that I need structure and tidiness in my life or I become stressed.  With less time, energy or enthusiasm for the garden this year it has become untidy and this in turn has made it harder for me to re-engage as I just don’t know where to start.  I feel that if I can get some good structure or bones in place then the messiness won’t be so bad – just like edging the lawn makes a huge difference to a garden without you doing much else.  Thankfully funds are a little more plentiful these days and my long-suffering eldest has ‘volunteered’ to help me with putting in some thick wood edging.  Then, probably in the Spring, we will put some wood edging on the other side of the path but probably something thinner.  I will then cover the path probably with wood chip – the cat doesn’t approve of gravel!

img_6741I have moved all the plants along the path edge and the Malvern stone so my eldest can get on with the improvements.  We now have a large pile of Malvern stone to find something to do with. A suggestion has been made that I could use them to create a home for my hardy succulents, alpines and tiny bulbs.  I am resisting using the word ‘rockery’ as I really dislike rockeries but there is a small gem of an idea mumbling away at the back of my mind.


In my bid to take control of the garden again I have seized the day and removed a couple of large shrubs that I haven’t liked for years.  One went from the border above, as did a large persicaria and some common ferns which swamped the area and used up all the moisture.  The photo doesn’t quite show you how much space there is here but  I am quietly excited as it’s quite a big space and will, after some feeding and soil improvement, provide a home for the remaining peonies that need rehoming.

Hopefully with all our efforts this Autumn the garden will be more manageable next year so I don’t feel I need to spend as much time working in it and I can do some of the other things I want to do without feeling guilty or maybe even just sit and enjoy the garden.

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

13 thoughts on “My Garden This Weekend – 9th October 2016”

  1. I don’t think it matters if you do lots or little in the garden, just the fact that you can get out there is good. Sometimes I feel I am neglecting our garden and feel guilty, the I remind myself that it will survive without me! We had a lot of local Charentais stone lying around and we decided to make a pond. Nothing too large and nothing fancy, we wanted a plain rectangular pond that looked as if it had been a part of the property for decades, even centuries. Funnily enough I wrote about our garden in autumn here in France on the blog today!

    1. You are right, the trouble is I am in the house and the garden comes up so near the house I can see all the problems

  2. I think that I must follow your example Helen and be ruthless. I’ve got a couple of large shrubs that are long overdue for removal. It was a fabulous day here for working outside. Is your amarine belladiva in the ground or in a pot? It looks rather fabulous.

    1. Hi Anna
      It’s in a pot as I only bought it the other week at the Autumn show, differing whether to plant out or not

    1. I had the same thought as Diana — a scree garden would make use of your lovely rocks, and unite them all with the addition of gravel (fairly inexpensive). Don’t be too hard on yourself. We all have a pie that can only support so many slices. Sometimes the garden has to be set aside for other things.

  3. You are my kind of gardener! Shoestring.
    You might like to join Fine Gardening Photo of the Day. Affectionately known as GPODers we share pictures of our own gardens. If you want ideas this is a marvellous website.
    Like you, I muddle along, but interacting with GPOD is wonderful. Good luck.

  4. The weather has been so good these last few days it’s hard not to be outside when given the chance. I know what you mean about tidiness. There’s a fine line for me between informality and a mess. Structural lines most certainly do help.
    But you have so much colour in your garden still. It really does look great.

  5. I know what you mean about becoming stymied when there’s lots to do and the garden looks messy – I find it easiest to either work on the bits that annoy me most from the kitchen window (my main view of the garden) and work out from that point or to start at the back door and work along and around. There’s definitely something about a freshly edged lawn, turned over soil or fresh mulch which makes me feel like I’ve renewed the garden and given it a good sort out, even if I haven’t! Good luck with the rest of the peonies and the pile of stone!

  6. Getting out into the garden for any amount of time is a refreshing escape from the mundanity of everyday life, especially if you work in an office! I was wondering, what are your thoughts on synthetic turfing for the lawn? It has proven to be more cost effective in the long run and of course less wasteful of water, but at the same time it’s less motivation to go outside and do a bit of weeding or watering the grass.
    Let me know, great post!

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