End of Month View – July 2018



I write this end of month post with a sense of relief as July seems to have been a very long and dry month. We finally had rain on Friday after something like 6-8 weeks with only a small downpour one day.  The rain started on Friday and has been off and on ever since.  The garden has perked up, well those bits that haven’t withered away in the heat and this gardener has also perked up.

I thought it would be interesting to show how the garden has changed over the last nine years when I first started the End of Month meme.  There have been some quite drastic changes so it isn’t easy to do a direct comparison but I will do my best.  Above is the view from the top of the patio steps up to my son’s workshop (which went in around 5 years ago). Below is a similar view from 2009, but from the bottom of the steps, showing the garden before the workshop and when I still had a lawn; it was obviously from the greeness of the grass, a wet July in 2009.  In both pairs of photos the rosemary growing over the wall is a useful reference point.

The next pair show the main area of the garden but from opposite view points.  The first photo is now with my neighbour’s delightful trampoline in the background. The plants are looking a little dry around the edges but I have started to tidy up and cut back the dead flowers and foliage.  I think the garden has benefited in the past heat from my dense planting as the areas which have suffered the most are those with the most recent plantings and consequently more soil showing. I think the dense planting has shaded the soil and helped to reduce moisture loss.

Anyway, the second photo from 2009 shows the old sloping lawn and my polite narrow border.  If I have only learnt one thing over the past nine years it is that you need to be generous in your borders.  Narrow borders just don’t work you are limited on space so its difficult to create a range of height and textures.

The next two pairs of photos is the top border which in 2009 was the pond border.  The fourth photo is another view of the border in 2009 and if you peer very hard you can just make out the pond weed on the pond which is one of the reasons the pond went.  It was never a sensible place to have a pond under the large cherry tree and it was a constant battle to improve the quality of the water.  The border planting was some of my best back then but over the following years it faded and struggled and in the end I gave up on it and converted the pond into a bog garden which is the basis of what is in place now except it isnt very boggy due to over zealous puncturing of the liner!

The 2018 photo shows the workshop again and the shrubs that have been added over recent years.  I prefer the garden now and the planting in this border is slowly improving although it has always been a challenging spot. You can also see the stems of the bamboos along the back fence line.  In 2009 the fence was exposed due to us removing an huge laurel bush and I have again struggled ever since with the steep slope and shade of the trees.  You will see in the 2009 photo terracing but this has been removed this year and I am reverting back to the slope and planting up with lots of foliage and texture.





The final pair of photos show the area of the workshop.  Back in 2009 this area was a battle due to the shade created by my neighbours trees which also sucked all the moisture out of the ground.  The shed is set back into the slope to minimise its impact on my garden and it took hours for my son to dig it all out by hand.  The workshop is now very much a key part of the garden and creates a strange focal point. Long term readers will recall that I laboured over what colour the shed should be and almost went mad after a visit to gardens in San Francisco when I seriously considered painting it orange.  I’m glad I saw sense and I am very pleased with the natural and low key finish it now has.  This has been repeated on another smaller shed we have and I am thinking of treating the benches in a similar way.

I hope you have enjoyed a trip down memory lane.  I think it shows my change of approach and an increase in plant knowledge and obsession.

This post demonstrates one of the benefits of the End of Month meme as if I hadn’t started writing it back in 2009 I wouldn’t now be able to look back to see where I have come from.

Everyone is welcome to join in with the meme and you can use it however you like..  All I ask is that you link to this post in your post and leave a link to your post in the comments box below.



18 Comments on “End of Month View – July 2018

  1. Quite the transformation, and how wonderful to be able to compare over what it quite a long period (in ‘online’ terms, anyway!)

  2. Hey Helen! How lovely to be able to look back and see how the garden has evolved over time! I think the removal of the lawn int he front garden and widening the beds in the back has made a huge difference! I would be proud to have your garden- but can see how much effort it must take to keep it looking so neat! I have a small rented garden and it is a complete mess- I think renting a place has always stopped me wanting to do too much to it. Which is sad- as im sure it could look lovely. Can i ask what is in the pot outside your workshed door? A conifer? Podocarpus? It looks lovely!

    • Hi Owen
      so nice of you to say it looks neat when all I see is the work that needs doing. I think renting and gardening is challenging as you never feel its yours. As for the plant, good question, I bought it from Wisley some years back so I will do some rummage and see if I can find a name, but it is long over due potting up.

  3. I like your garden very much and have been following you for the last half year or so. Your approach is very similar to mine which of course is why it interests me so much. You’ve given me many ideas to play with and think about. Finally a real garden! Interesting to compare now and 10 yrs ago, so much good progress and so much learned which is what gardening is all about, for me anyway. Oh and sitting on the steps occasionally and just looking and listening.

    • Hi Marianne
      Thank you for your kind comments. I agree it is a real garden, a place for me to be outside, play with the plants, grow things from seed, try things out and as opposed to a garden which is open to visitors where I think you must feel hampered at times by feeling it needs to be neat and tidy all the time, or at least some of the year

  4. I remember the musings about painting the shed. It has settled in very nicely. I’ve noticed the borders in my parents’ garden have been getting ever wider since they moved in, so clearly they agree with you about narrow borders!

  5. This was so interesting to read, Helen, and to compare photos over the 9 year period. As you say, monitoring our gardens this way shows not only how our tastes have changed but how much we have learned – about plants, about what works and what doesn’t in our gardens, and about ourselves too. It is such a useful meme and I really appreciate you hosting it – thank you! Mine is here: https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/end-of-month-view-august-beckons-2/

  6. I know I asked before, but what is that dark tree to the right in the first picture? Does it happen to be a ‘Crimson King’ Norway maple?

    • Hi. Tony
      I’m afraid I don’t know, it was here when we moved in. I think it is some type of field maple

    • If it is a maple and it is that dark, it is likely a ‘Crimson King’ Norway maple, It is so dark that it looks like a beech to me.

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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