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.



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

33 thoughts on “End of Month View – January 2017”

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

    1. 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.

  2. 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. 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

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

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

    1. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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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