End of Month View – December 2016

I have to admit that my lackadaisical approach to the blog and to a lesser degree the garden meant that I had forgotten about this month’s End of Month View post until Steve over at Glebe House Garden reminded me. Looking at his beautiful garden and great post put me to shame so here I am trying to do better!

To be honest I have struggled with the meme for most of the year, missing August and July completely.  I think it is because I started off the year with the intention of focussing on the front garden and I wrote a post about how awful it was.  I had intended to tweak and amend the front garden during the year and use the meme to help me improve things.  However, the January blog post led to me deciding to just bite the bullet and dig up the front lawn.  My son asked me today why I didn’t use the development of the Front Garden during 2016 as the theme for the meme and I had to confess that it was because I have a bad habit of not finishing things at the moment and I didn’t want to set myself up.  Anyway, behind the scenes the front garden has been transformed and I love it so maybe 2017 I will share it with you.

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Having decided not to continue with Plan A for the meme I had to quickly find an alternative area to focus on.  I remember feeling that I had covered most of the garden, it’s not very large, over previous years and I should focus on a part I didn’t show much.  The result was selecting Hugh’s Border to showcase – Hugh is the name of the willow owl that presides over the border.  The trouble is that the reason I don’t show this border much is because it continues to not be right and I’m not sure why or even how to address it.  The end of the border in which Hugh resides has been consistently in the shade for years whilst the other end has some degree of sunshine.  The shady end is planted with ferns and shade lovers but there is something lacking; as for the other end well to be frank I have perfected the art of looking over it from the bench to the rest of the garden which shows you how difficult I find it.

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However, now that my neighbours have removed the trees and to be frank scrubby hedge my garden is flooded with light.  At first I found the loss of the boundary plants challenging as I felt quite exposed but after a week or so it became more normal and I could see the huge benefits of the garden being opened up to the sun!  I am hoping that in 2017 I can really embrace this, particularly in relation to Hugh’s Border and finally get my head round coming up with a, for wont of a better word, theme for the border.  Something that will pull it together, give all round interest with some seasonal highlights.  The bench end has a pinky/red colour theme waiting to be unleashed building on the Prunus kojo-no-mai, Sorbus vilmorinii and Rose ‘Hot Chocolate’ flowers and fruit and I am thinking of adding a couple more Amnethela lessionia along the grass path side to mirror the other side and give a sense of movement or journey as you look down the path. In the meantime I think Hugh needs to come in for a bit of a tidy up.

Any one is welcome to join in with the End of Month View meme and you can use it how you wish – there are no rules.  Some people focus on one area, others give a tour of their garden – whatever works for you.  All I ask in return is that you link to my EMOV post in your post (provided I have done one of course!) and leave a comment on my post so others can find you.

 

 

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17 Comments Add yours

  1. Steve says:

    Hi Helen……….that was quick! As always a great blog and interesting read. Should anyone be interested in my End of month View here it is https://glebehouse.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/end-of-the-month-view-december-2016/

    Happy New Year

  2. Jim Stephens says:

    Seems to me Hugh’s border looks just fine for most of the year and that if you have a lot of flowery stuff that dies down in winter it’s bound to look a bit empty in midwinter. Mine’s much worse. https://gardenruminations.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/end-of-month-view-december-2016/

  3. Cathy says:

    Thanks for hosting, Helen – it is always good to have a record of the garden and this meme is such a good way of remembering to do it regularly. Your garden has certainly seen many changes this year with the removal of your neighbour’s trees and next year will no doubt see more. i am so glad that are pleased with what you have done at the front and look forward to its unveiling. My post is at https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/end-of-year-view-the-paved-area/

  4. Sarah says:

    Just came across your blog, Helen, and I’ve enjoyed views of your garden. I was just taking a look at your post about your front garden (when you were unhappy with it) and I actually like the lawn. But, perhaps it’s now gone. Will be curious to see what you done. Here’s a link to an icy view of my garden : http://ofleafandlimb.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-garden-under-ice.html

    Happy New Year!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Sarah
      Welcome, the front lawn is long gone. You can see some pics of it late summer here http://noels-garden.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/japanese-gardens-what-are-we-actually.html

  5. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Nice to see the seasonal changes. As ours subtropical mostly the same athough we do have some deciduous trees and I have pots for flowers. Most of NZ natives evergreen which does not mean leaves don’t drop! Just all the time! And some very tough so don’t compost down very well. The big flaxes we have are great wind breaks and the tuis love the flowers but they get pretty messy strappy leaves and hard to keep tidy. Not suitable for small gardens. Happy New Year and looking forward to seeing your front garden. Just had a swim after attacking a messy bit of garden with finished nastutiums and kaikuia (a rampant rooted grass) so had nice swim. Only25 derees but nice. Been having cold nights so pool not warming up a lot. Midnight we were in the pool watching the fireworks from Gulf Harbour. A tadition here at Sheep and Shag! the blue pool lights on so very pretty and clear starry night.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Happy New Year Yvonne

  6. If I may make a suggestion, I think Hugh’s border needs something large in a fairly central position to hold the entire border together. I have been working on a border in semi shade in my own garden over the past couple of years that had a similar problem, but as soon as I put a schefflera taiwaniana in the middle, the appearance improved dramatically.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi AP
      I agree, I have a Paulowania (although I’m not convinced it is this, was a seedling from someone and I don’t think the leaves are right plus also added an obelisk and rose in Autumn. They don’t show up at the moment. Is the Schefflera evergreen?

    2. Yes it is. It is a plant with character that likes a little shade, and is happiest growing among other plants. Look at http://www.crug-farm.co.uk for details. Although their plants are not cheap, they are a good size and excellent quality (I have just put in my order for 2017).

    3. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi AP
      I’ll look into it but would mean moving, again, some largish plants. I might see how the new occupiers fair this year

  7. Hi Helen,
    Lots of exciting plans for 2017. Lovely post as ever. My contribution is here…. https://thecynicalgardener.com/2017/01/01/end-of-month-view-of-the-garden-end-of-december-2016/

  8. jenhumm116 says:

    Hi Helen – All the very best for the new year – I hope 2017 brings you many happy days in your lighter, brighter garden.
    Here’s my End of Year round up, thanks for hosting.
    https://duverdiary.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/end-of-month-view-yearly-round-up-2016/

  9. bittster says:

    Always a good read, I think the border looks great and it’s quite a wonder when you think about how far this area has come through the years, but I’m sure you’ll think of something better. I never noticed the stone steps before!

  10. Christina says:

    Gardeners are by their very nature critical of their gardens. Sometimes we need to just wait a while to allow plants to grow after we’ve made changes. Maybe designers have the ability to look through the reality of now to how it will look in future! Good wishes for 2017.

  11. It can be very hard to adjust to a sudden change, and digging up an entire lawn and losing all of the shade on one side of the garden are both huge changes. I’m not surprised you felt side-swiped. I’m sure 2017 will be the year when it makes sense!

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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