A radical change

Yesterday saw us make the biggest change to the garden since taking out the hedge by the greenhouse, and the biggest in the front garden for over two years. Finally, after eighteen months of thinking about it, we have completely replanted the bed at the front of the garden.

First, though, we had to get plenty of new plants to fill in the space we were planning to create. Not quite as cheap and cheerful as we have managed in the past, but we did get £126-worth of plants for £76. There was an offer on shrubs, £7.99 or four for £20 so we got a berberis, a photinia, an escallonia and a viburnum for £20. We also picked up for half-price a euonymus, a bright yellow santolina, a mahonia called Soft Caress which has lovely foliage, and a very pretty spiraea, plus five lavenders for £20. We did pay full price for an artemisia, but as I’ve been trying to replace the old one and will be taking cuttings from it as well, that was allowable. Just. The big score of the day, for me, was a salvia “Hot Lips” for £3.

So the rhododendron, rose and potentilla have been cut right down to stumps – we decided not to dig them up but to give them chance to come back and be more manageable – and most of the expendable ground cover (lychnis and herb robert) has gone though I fully expect seedlings to start appearing soon. We left in a couple of small grasses and a holly which I suspect is self-sown and was growing up in amongst the rhododendron, and also a lavender right by the gate. We did manage to remove a couple of buckets full of bindweed roots though I’m under no illusions about it – at least now we can get access to the wall where it seems to be concentrated, and we can poison it as soon as it appears. The war of attrition continues!

We were able to add a lot of our own home-made compost before planting, which will no doubt help everything along after years of rhodie demands on the soil. We haven’t been able to plant right into the corner, firstly because there’s a drainpipe there and secondly because of the dense mat of rhodie roots, but we might stand some pots there in the short term till everything fills out again.

So this is a recent pic of the front garden showing how it looked till yesterday:


And this is how the front bed looks now!


A few notable close-ups:


Salvia “Hot Lips”…

... pretty!

… pretty!

Santolina "Lemon Fizz"

Santolina “Lemon Fizz”

The rest of the front garden is full of life and colour, and the bees are still loving the lavenders. Next weekend we are going to trim the ceanothus a bit to try and get it under control, and see if I can get some cuttings in the process.


A few things are showing off in the back garden:







And the lovely Geranium Himalayense is having a second flush of flowers, which the bees are enjoying.


We expected to get thundery downpours by the evening yesterday but they didn’t reach us (slightly to my disappointment as I love a good thunderstorm!) but there should be rain on its way later today. I want it to water in all my new plants!

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