End of Month View – January 2017


This time last year I started the year’s End of Month meme with a post about the front garden.  By the time I had finished writing it I was completely certain that my argument that I had a love/hate relationship with the garden was flawed; I did in fact hate the front garden. Readers were kind with their comments but it was those that extolled me to bite the bullet and just dig up the wretched lawn that really hit home. So I did.


Well my youngest son lifted the lawn over the space of a week in April and then I pondered what to do next.  I had a whole collection of asters and grasses from the back garden that needed a home so I bought some fennel to add height and a couple of Euphorbias for substance.  Walking back and force it soon became clear where the path should go and my eldest son very kindly, with the odd mutter, laid the brick edging and spread the gravel. We also widened the single width paving slab path along the front of the house which has somehow balanced things better. img_9163

In my usual random way I didn’t dig the whole space over and carefully plan things.  Instead I spread the asters and grasses out and planted them hoping for the best.  The asters had lost their labels (a recurring theme over the last few years) so I wasn’t sure which were the tallest or the tones of purple.  Anyway, the first summer was good, not great or amazing, but a decent start for such an unplanned decision.  The smaller bed was full of bright red zinnias some 4ft tall; this spring I hope it will be full of tulips and then I intend to repeat the zinna show.


The bigger bed which is essentially most of the front garden needs lots of work.  I need to work through it weeding and removing the perennial weeds.  I have thought that the space needed a third tree for some years to balance out the other two so back at the beginning of the month I added a Sorbus ‘Pink Pagoda’ and in the process aggravated an old arm injury and so gardening has stopped.  Hopefully if the healing continues as it is and the rain stops I might be able to do some weeding next weekend. I think the Euphorbias are too far forward but I can’t for the life of me remember which ones they are but in the back of my mind they are Euphorbia characias which might be too tall but I wanted them to flop over the path.

Anyway, there are lots to do in this area, plants to re-arrange and plants to add so I thought I would share the progress in this year’s End of Month meme.

The meme has been very well supported over the last few years, even when I have been a little lax in supporting it myself so I am hoping that some of my readers will join in again this year.  You can use the meme however it suits you – all I ask is that you include a link to my monthly post in your post and a link to your post in the comments box on my post.  I think that makes sense and will allow us to find each other.



33 Comments Add yours

  1. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Looking interesting!

  2. Steve says:

    Your front garden is looking great. I like the path and you have obviously worked on the soil which also looks great. More EoMV at https://glebehouse.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/end-of-the-month-view-january-2017/

    thanks Helen

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Steve
      Looking good, enjoy your time in India

  3. It’s good to see the front garden again. I like the new arrangement.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thanks Marian

  4. rusty duck says:

    Oh brilliant Helen! I was hoping we would see more of the front garden this year. Our styles and choice of plants is similar and I will follow it with huge interest.
    I’ll be joining in again this month but the weather down here (torrential rain) has scuppered my plans for picture taking so it’ll be a couple of days late. Apologies.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jessica
      Yes I thought I would show my front garden, bit like airing your dirty linen!!

  5. jenhumm116 says:

    Fabulous to see the transformation. It will be interesting to see how it develops through the year.

    Here’s my EoMV for January:

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jen
      Thanks for joining in

  6. I love how your front garden has developed Helen. There is nothing nicer than having an attractive and interesting entrance to your home. Such a pity so many have turned over their gardens to parking their cars. I was a little tardy in my EOMV’s last year and have a resolution to contribute every month. This is my January post. https://hurtledto60.com/2017/01/31/end-of-month-view-january-2017/

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Ronnie
      I’m lucky as I have parking for two cars adjacent to the front garden – wide frontage to the house – so I don’t have to forsake any garden for cars.

  7. Caro says:

    It’s been really interesting to see how you’ve got on and the decisions made. For a winter garden it looks good and I like the idea of filling the gaps with annuals. I’ve been doing the same with a garden space in the flats where I live and have had to alter my plans to accommodate paths that have naturally sprung up – I find I get the best ideas when working in the garden rather than plotting on paper!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Cato
      I can’t plan on paper at all, I tend to stare at the border and then imagine what I need to add in terms of texture or colour

  8. Sue C. says:

    That’s quite a transformation, Helen. The new look is great and some planting opportunities as well.
    I’ve posted a January end of month view at http://rosecottagejottings.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/end-of-month-view-january-2017.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Sue
      So glad you are joining the meme

  9. Your front garden is looking great and has a lot of interest even in the month of January. It’s nice tagging along and watching the transformation!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Lee
      Thanks, glad you like the front garden although a lot of the colour is from weeds!

  10. halfagarden says:

    Just picked up on this meme! Will attempt to participate with something at the end of Feb. Love your front garden, BTW. Who needs a lawn…

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Gordon
      Please do join in with the meme the more the merrier. Glad you like the removal of the lawn

  11. Linnae says:

    I always like to see how a garden space evolves over time. In my own garden, it’s what keeps things interesting for me! It’s good to see actual plants, too. All I’ve got right now is snow!

    Here’s my link: http://www.ofbooksandblooms.com/2017/01/end-of-january-robins-and-snow.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Linnaean
      Sorry you are still dealing with snow, I would hate that

  12. Cathy says:

    It has been so interesting hearing and seeing your journey with the front garden, Helen, and I am so glad you are happier with it now. Thanks as always for hosting. My January post is greyer than it has been in some years, but that’s British weather for you! https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/end-of-month-view-for-a-grey-january/

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Cathy
      It’s been so foggy and misty here, I almost would prefer it to snow

    2. Cathy says:

      It’s certainly been greyer than some of the wet winters we have had recently, so I know what you mean about snow

  13. Jim Stephens says:

    I can’t imagine you’ve had a moments regret about getting rid of the lawn. Pointless things IMO. It’s looking really good after just a year. Is that Grevillea at the back, looking like it wants to grow big?
    My EOMV post is here https://gardenruminations.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/end-of-month-view-january-2017/

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jim yes it’s grevillea Canberra gem, been in situ probably 8 years or so. I have to trim it back from time to time!

  14. Alison says:

    Hi Helen – the front garden is coming on really well. It has huge potential now that you have your structure sorted. Love the brick edging to the path, it looks great.

    My EoMR is here http://www.blackberrygarden.co.uk/2017/02/end-of-month-review-january-2017.html

  15. Fabulous to see how things are progressing. It is such fun to think that spring is really just around the corner now, all around us there is life, we have our first daffodil in flower, the primroses and violets are looking fabulous and the plum trees are so nearly in blossom. Everywhere we look there are signs of Spring and it is wonderful to be out in the garden again.

  16. karen says:

    I love the brick edged path. It’s all looking lovely, Helen. I’m a bit late with my post due to the incessant rain. Anyway,better late than never. All the best. Karen. http://karengimson.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/end-of-the-month-view

  17. The photos look great. I always love a curving path to lead you into the garden. I always think a well done and proportioned path (not too wide but definitely not too narrow) makes such a difference, as shown in these photos. I try to do this myself but find it hard to give up planting space!

    Is that a yellow wave phormium in the bed? I see it’s a safe distance back, I had to move some as the leaves were laying over the path. The stress caused them to loose a lot of their colour, though otherwise they never flinched.

  18. Andrea says:

    I love your pictures. Nice garden.

  19. I’m late….. The link to my contribution… http://wp.me/p2E4eg-LF

    Thanks for hosting, and roll in Summer.!

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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