I had been thinking that I wouldn’t have a lot to say for this End of Month View post. Hah! The combination of Mil and Fil being here – with their car – and willing to do trips to the tip, plus exceptionally mild weather, has meant I am tired and aching but things have moved on a little. And some of it is even visible.

The progress begins with pink. I quite like pink in the garden now. I even have a Tamarisk, for heavens sake, and I love the deep cerise pink of the achillea (of which more anon.). But the lacecap hydrangea that I moved to the house end of the fence border this Spring has been driving me mad. It is baby pink, and makes too big a statement in a totally wrong way. The house end of the fence border has lots of lime green and acid yellow from euphorbias and alchemillas. A big blob of pink just doesn’t go.

pink lacecap hydrangea

I felt bad, it has really thrived since its move, but I am not one to mess about with soil ph locally to get the perfect shade of blue. Fortunately I have given Fil the border that runs alongside the driveway to play with, since he is rather nomadic at present. He was delighted to have the lacecap, so we moved it, and I think it looks a lot better in its new home.

re-homed lacecap

Best of all, it has created space for a new plant. Perhaps a small, well behaved tree. I have been lusting after an Amelanchier lamarckii for several years now, they seem to be very well behaved, and I really rather fancy planting a multi stemmed specimen in the space where the hydrangea was. What do you think – too close to the house for even such a well behaved large shrub/small tree?

room for a tree

Further along the fence border I took the opportunity presented by planting allium atropurpureum bulbs to move some plants around. I thought I had been reasonably careful about planting distances, though I know that one of my besetting sins as a gardener is to plant perennials too close to one another creating extra work when they start to fill out. But I did it again, so I shuffled things around, which gave me the opportunity of re-planting one of the cephelaria gigantea in front of the phormium that I moved earlier in the month. I am hoping that the flowers of the former will tie in nicely with the variegation in the leaves of the latter.

right hand end of fence border

I am pretty pleased with how the fence border is settling down, I like the feel, and the mild weather means the cerise (magenta?) achillea ‘Cassis’ is still flowering its socks off, as is the knautia, though the aster and even the sedums have almost given up. I am really looking forward to the cotinus that you can just see popping its head up at the back growing large enough to act as a foil for the achillea – and the aster – and then to watching it turn shades of fiery orange and red. Not that it shows much sign of changing colour at the moment.

fence border

It’s too early to plant the tulips that are going in the wall border, so that part of the garden looks pretty much the same except that the cosmos has stopped flowering. I am wondering if it will self-seed, and if so, whether those seedlings will flower even earlier next year, though I will sow seed myself too just in case.

As Autumn starts to take hold and days draw in, I am turning my attention back to hard landscaping. I have to finish the fence, which means clearing enough space at the front end of the garden to put the fence posts. We want to extend the fence further towards the end, though are still debating how far. We want to mark our boundary clearly, and I want a clear space to plant up next Spring. The wall that runs along the lane is falling down, and it is not our responsibility, so we need to make sure that we leave enough space for the wall to get mended (she said optimistically) without messing up my plants. On the other hand, I rather like the idea of opening up the planting at the far end of the garden, making it something nice to look at from both sides as people walk past. Lots to ponder. But in the mean time, lots of very congested plants to dig out – and save where possible.

the front bit

Its strange, fossiking about in amongst plants that were clearly carefully chosen and planted to form a dense and prickly hedge. There is holly, pyracantha, what was once, I think, a hawthorn before it died, plus lots of ivy and gnarly honeysuckle. The landscaping fabric and layer of rough gravel demonstrates that much thought and care went in to this boundary, and yet by the time I came to it, it was weedy, overgrown, full of bindweed, and hiding a wonderful view. In the end I was only able to rescue a pyracantha, which I promptly re-homed in the back garden by my wonderful stump.

I’ve not introduced you to my stump. It was hidden away in the back corner behind a mass of spotted laurel, brambles and bindweed. I have been working away at clearing it (hah!), which in turn has disturbed several sleepily nesting bees and revealed the stump in all its glory.

the stump

moss and rot

fungi on logs

I have several log piles hidden about the garden, but it seemed appropriate to have a small one at the base of what was once obviously a pretty large tree. This corner is deliberately quite wild, and already has wild garlic, a hazel, a cotoneaster and a hawthorn, so the pyracantha should fit in well.

re-homed pyracantha

The mattock made short work of most of the rest, including the remains of the brachyglottis that did not survive being pruned and then getting very, very cold in our wonderful Spring.

partially cleared for fence

the very front

It was lovely, today, working outside without a coat. The thermometer in the back garden read a very balmy 18C when I took a break for a mug of tea this morning. I took a photo, because I just couldn’t believe that Halloween was so warm.


Now I can think about ordering the timber for the rest of the fence, and can ponder how to edge the beds once I get rid of the grass, how to shape the borders as the garden narrows, and what to plant along the rest of the wall.

There is a gentle curve to the wall, and I want to follow the lines with the border edge as far as possible, and plant a low growing hedge of something evergreen – or evergrey – and pretty. Unless I get rid of the great lumpen forms of the mophead hydrangeas there will always be a bit of a disconnect in the wall border. They will stay another year while I ponder, but I plan to plant at least one teucrium against that wall, to get to know it, and see if that might be what I want to see along there. I’ll need to prune it, to prevent it from obscuring the view, but it is another plant I have fallen for through reading Christina’s blog.

Staring at the garden from above, I keep changing my mind about how to make the front part of the garden work well.



I really like the deep border that runs alongside the fence, but if I carry it on that deep it will eventually meet the other side. Each side of the garden nearer the house is deliberately different in colour palette and feel to the other, so at some point I need to “reconcile” the two with what I do with the very front. And I have lots of lovely pieces of rock to play with. What a good job winter is coming, plenty of time to think, plan, dream, write lists.

Thanks again to Helen for hosting the End of Month View meme, do check out the comments on her EOMV post with their links to other people’s gardens at the end of October.

44 thoughts on “End of Month View October 2013

  1. Hi Janet,

    I’m kicking myself as I forgot to take photos today in the one sunny day we’ve had for what feels like eternity. I finished early today and had planned to get photos for the end of month. Oh well, I’ll pretend yours are mine instead and dream :P

    Hard to believe your perennials are already overcrowded after only one year??!! Impressive :)

    Do you intend on keeping the lawn in the front? No reason, just asking. I’ve been wondering what I’d do with the space there. I’d like to make paths but then I do also love walking/sitting on grass so it seems a shame to lose it. Hrm. This’ll be why I’m not a garden designer!

    1. Hi Liz, funny how it so often works that way, I took a quite nice photo of the beach the other day, got back to the house, turned round, and suddenly the sun was making the tips of the waves glow orange. I stood and watched it rather than racing down to try and photograph it.

      Perennial overcrowding is a *cough* perennial problem for me! ANd I just read Helen’s comment…

      Lawn is on the way out, will still have grass in the back for sitting on and enjoying in bare feet, want the front to be as low maintenance as is possible given my propensity for planting too closely… There will be narrowish gravelled paths and lots more plants instead!

  2. I am laughing that the island bed is still in place! You have done so much since you have moved if, there is such a difference, you should be really pleased.

    I don’t know how old your cephelaria gigantea is but mine, 2 years old, is at least twice the size of yours so you might need a little more space for it

    Thank you for joining in again this month

    1. Hi Helen, laugh all you like, but its demise is firmly planned – I’m just not allowed to do anything about it until I finish the fence!! And you are so right about the cephelaria, I keep forgetting what an enormous plant it makes, there again, I always knew that border would require a lot of editing as it developed, I want to spread the plants down the garden as I get rid of the pond and extend the border.

  3. Your hydrangea is beautiful, but I think your fil will appreciate it more than you! I, too, seem to always be putting in more plants than I have room for. I don’t think I’ll ever change. Good to know I’m not the only one that does that! I especially love your fence border plantings, with all the pinks, reds, purples and greys. Very pretty, and interesting, too.

    1. Hi Holley, I think so too! Glad you like the fence border, it will change a lot as the other perennials bulk up and start flowering, in particular I am looking forward to the daisy flowers of the echinacea, they will add more structure once they start to work.

  4. We had similar temperatures today, except that it rained constantly so no gardening for me. But I was thrilled to come back to warmth since it was quite cold here while we were in London. That stump you found is impressive. I’m fascinated sometimes with what is hidden under the plants–especially in the wild woods. Your fence border garden is looking fantastic!

    1. Such a shame about the rain – we have a lot here now. I love that stump, couldn’t quite believe it when I found it, and so prefect for the wildlife. Glad you like the fence border, I am really enjoying it.

  5. I think your choice of a Amelanchier lamarckii is perfect Janet, I don’t think it is too close to the house and is so beautiful in all seasons; I’m thinking of planting one here if I can find one; they seem to be available as a fruit tree here! your pink border is lovely, beautiful forms and tones of colour, a big success I’d say! Christina

    1. Hi Christina, oh good, that’s all the excuse I need to order one today, I just need to make sure I can get a multi stemmed one, a lot are sold as trees and I don’t want that in this particular corner. Good luck getting hold of one for your own garden, it must get frustrating sometimes not easily being able to get hold of such a wide range of plants. Delighted you like the fence border!

    1. Hi Sue, it really helps being able to see the garden from above, not aan advantage I really had at the old house. I spend ages just standing at the window staring and daydreaming…

  6. The hydrangea looks more at home there with a playmate. Always get excited when you venture into that top corner and keep trying to imagine what will evolve. Oh yes to Amelanchier – snowy mesipilus will look lovely even in winter with wiry armature and it is a tree that allows for plants underneath without leeching or overshading. Here they are marchmont street trees. [hope you don’t mind the link]

    1. Hi Laura, doesn’t it? They balance each other perfectly. As for that top corner, I don’t think I will manage to get a handle on it until I get rid of the structure round the pond and the giant mutant viburnum – which I think will need dynamite not just a mattock!! Or possibly a mini digger…

      Thanks for the link, lovely pics, I’m excited about having one of my own.

  7. How do you feel having a border described as a ‘pink border’?!! The other comments have been spot on about how well that hedge border (and others) has filled out – I am really impressed. You and the mattock (and the visitors?) did wonders in the wild corner too. And yes, do go for an amelanchier – it will be great to see it from the house. Mine is towards the mid point of my rambles by which time I am not always looking UP and sometimes miss its wonderful changes. I envy you your upstairs view – we have no first floor windows that you can see the garden from and even if we created a window in the loft you would only see a small part of our garden, such is its shape… ps you obviously care greatly for your blue pallet and perhaps ought to make an art installation of it…!

    1. Hi Cathy. Mmm, yes, a pink border. In my garden. Because I planted it that way. And I like it. A lot. Ah well! It feels good to have started taming the wild end, though I am still in at least three minds about what I am going to do there. Which is kind of fun! And that view from the bedroom window is wonderful to have, I could have done with it when I was planning the previous garden. It makes it a lot easier, being able to see the whole space in one go. As for the palette, well, it is rather beautiful, don’t you think?!

  8. Gorgeous view and gorgeous garden, I do love having a ‘virtual’ good look around! Your fence border is amazing!!! What a gorgeous and warm day to be out there pottering too. Also very pleased to meet ‘the stump’ !! :)

    1. Hi Anna, thanks so much, glad you like the fence border, it makes me smile. The stump is rather magnificent, isn’t it, I was really happy to discover it.

  9. A busy, interesting post and photos.
    It’s all really starting to take shape now, and should look great next year.
    I like your tree stump, which is the obvious focal point for a wild corner. xx

    1. Hi Flighty, I am pretty tired now after taking the mattock to all those plants! I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all develops next year, more plants should start flowering, and hopefully I will get to grips with the front end of the garden too.

  10. Yes to the Amelanchier, they are my favourite small tree, bronze leaves when they first come out, white flowers to keep the bees happy, then black berries for the birds, finally autumn tints for you to enjoy, what could be better. Old stumps are wonderful for all the interesting insect life that they harbour, we have a few here, they take so long to rot down, they can be quite a feature with ferns planted in them. You have been so busy with your front garden , playing musical plants again! It is looking really good, I’m not sirprised you are so happy with it.

    1. Hi Pauline, there can’t be many plants that get such universal approval! I am really looking forward to growing Amelanchier. Its going to be interesting watching that stump gradually rot down, there are some lovely fungi and mosses there already, and I am sure it is teeming with life that I remain unaware of because it is right in the back corner. I am looking forward to planting more things around its base, a selection of interesting ferns would be a good start.

  11. The front garden looks amazing from above, and I’m struck by its resemblance to the prow of a boat!
    Maybe the hydrangea will lose some of its pinkness in the new spot. This happened with the first one I moved here. It is a bit of a nondescript colour now, but I much prefer it to the previous sugary sweet incarnation.

    1. Hi Jessica, it does look like the prow of a boat doesn’t it, all the more so since I pruned away the plants that were obscuring the shape. My earliest plans were going to play on that, but I don’t want to look out over a cliche, perhps a few hints here and there though, once the pond has been filled in.

  12. I do love reading your end of months reviews – you always achieve so much and it always looks so good, immediately! I do like all the plants you’ve chose to partner your Continus – they compliment perfectly. I see you have the same problem as I do – I always plant too close and give myself more work. I wonder if there is treatment for this problem.
    Have fun with all your winter projects – looking forward to seeing what you produce.

    1. Thanks Angie, that’s really kind of you, and goo to know you are a fellow sufferer when it comes to planting too close. I’ve been doing it for years now, and however much research I do, however determined I am to be different, nothing changes. Ah well!

  13. Hope that the aches and pains soon ease Janet. No wonder that you’ve been out in the garden so much when it’s still so warm on Anglesey – much cooler here on the banks of the Mersey. I’ve been lusting after an amelanchier for several years too and am now getting to an age where I better start satisfying my lusts :) I do not have much concept of space so unable to work out the distance between your house and where you intend to plant the tree but it looks roomy enough. Is it potential damage from the roots that concerns you? I also suffer from that same plant too closely syndrome but probably better that than lots of bare earth. Love your fence border – you are entitled to be pleased with yourself.

    1. Hi Anna, I was actully glad that it was wet today, I needed the excuse not to garden! I did find myself sitting outside in the late afternoon planning the nw patio though, but that shouldn’t add to the aches and pains! I concur with the need to satisfy (plant) lusts, some things just shouldn’t be deferred particularly trees, as they need time to settle in and become proper trees. Might as well maximise your time to enjoy it!! I think I am going to have to give up on the idea of NOT planting too close, I really do hate bare soil in any quantity, and anyway, I rather enjoy moving plants around. So glad you like the fence border, it has been lovely getting so many nice comments about it, and really spurs me on to think about how to use the rest of the space.

  14. So many lovely things to focus on Janet! I think the curve on the right of the lawn is lovely and could imagine curves on the left too (but then I’m a curvy kind of person!). The rockery idea would be ideal in that position. And grasses (?), although you want to keep that beautiful view of the sea open. I also think the Amelanchier would be a good idea in the spot you’ve chosen. When we moved to our property we had loads of tree stumps, but after 8 years most have now rotted away. They look great as a feature though. Happy dreaming and planning!

    1. Hi Cathy, sorry, I somehow missed this comment of yours! I have thought about curving the fence border too but I also want lots of planting in the middle area, and then the garden narrows dramatically. It could still get curvy, I don’t think I will know until I get the pond filled in and the area around it cleared so that I can see what I am working with. As for grasses, yes, always lots of grasses! I love the dynamic element they add, and the seedheads in autumn and winter are magical. The Amelanchier has been ordered!

  15. I agree that your fence border is looking great and I did love to see the overhead view of your garden and of course your lovely view of the sea beyond. I like this mild weather, although the strong winds are back, unfortunately. Tomorrow will mean more branches down and disruption in the garden.

    1. Hi Wendy, thank you! Yes, we even got some storm damage here last night, though minor compared to that suffered by lots of others. The surfers are out today enjoying the waves! Hope all is well with you, no bad damage.

  16. You have done so much work to make this garden yours. I love the border with the knautia. It’s one of my favorite plants. How are you going to get the rest of the stump out without getting stung?

    1. Thank you! I love kanutia too, it seems to go with pretty much anything, aand flowers for months and months, making bees so very happy. We’re leaving stump in place, its not in the front garden,but tucked away in the back, sorry, obviously didn’t make that at all clear!! it should carry on providing a haven for all sorts of wildlife.

  17. Janet you have done an amazing amount in just a short time, it all seems to be coming together though you still have decisions to make, Frances

    1. Hi France, thank you, it has worked well for me motivation-wise to concentrate on the portion of the fence border rather than trying to make progress all over the front garden. My attempt at bite sized pieces!!

  18. Janet, I’ve seen many views of your garden before, but I don’t remember seeing this long a view of your front garden, at least not since you first moved in. What a fantastic view with the lane leading down to the sea! I actually like the hydrangeas here, but I understand they might not fit in with the design you have in mind.

    I have the same trouble with planting perennials too close together–I keep telling myself that one of these years I’m not going to buy a single new plant–just divide and move everything I have. Ha! Something tells me that’s never going to happen:)

    1. Hi Rose, I suspcet that, although I have taken lots of photos of that view, I haven’t included them in a blog post since we first moved here. The hydrangeas in the wall border have me in at least two minds, and for now I enjoy their brash exhuberance – and their maturity – enough to just plan round them. This might change in time, but for now they get to stay. The lacecap just didn’t work for me, but I think it looks great in fil’s border.

      I am happy to not be alone on the plant-cramming side of things, although I know I also need to propagate many of the plants I have to get the repetition I crave! Thank goodness for the power of division!!

  19. Janet how different it looks that front view but it is coming along nicely. I think a small tree or shrub will look nicely in that bed near the house. Of course I like special garden art/supports that will showcase a climber as well.

    1. Hi Donna, I am thinking about adding some scultural elements to the front garden, but until I work out how I want to do the hard landscaping once I get rid of the grass and pond, I won’t know what will best fit in. I will go for a small tree in the hydrangea gap in the mean time, it will work really well with the rest of the fence border.

  20. Your garden is so lush and beautiful, and the view of the harbor is so absolutely awesome. It appears to be such a wonderful spot to enjoy hot herbal tea and the passing of the day.

    1. Hi Charlie, it is a magical spot, and beverages of any sort are enhanced by the sea view!

Comments are closed.

Back To Top