The redesign gets started

Encouraged by a drop of sunshine (so much better than yesterday’s dreary grey drizzle) we have spent the day making a start on the big redesign of the back garden. Yesterday we bought gravel and membrane, to make sure we had enough for the new path, and in the end we had just the right amount of gravel, factoring in what we moved from the line of the old path.

So a quick recap – last week it looked like this:

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The plan being to move the gravel path from the right side so that it runs from the centre of the patio in a curve towards the greenhouse and shed, and to have a broad strip of grass either side of the gravel. The flower bed to the right would become a bit wider, at least at the end nearer the house, and we would create a new flower bed out of the left hand side of the lawn. The bed at the far end would basically be left to the lavatera and cistus, which thrive in there to the detriment of everything else, and plants would move from that bed and from the overcrowded narrow bed at the left against the fence into the new areas. Some new plants would be needed, of course (I can always find room for more plants!).

So we started by moving the old gravel and forking over the compacted soil beneath, then J began cutting the turf from the far end of the lawn to make part of the grass strip this side of the greenhouse. I moved several plants from the right hand end of the far bed, and that got covered with turf too, while the displaced plants came up to the right hand bed in front of the greenhouse. I moved pulmonaria, spiraea, cornus, ilex, forsythia and (deep breath) hellebore… the ilex and forsythia went into what had been the far left corner of lawn, but everything else moved nearer the house. Then the new path went in.

So by lunchtime we had achieved this:

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A little untidy in places but you can see it taking shape.

After lunch we decided to go back out for another hour or so and continue taking up grass from the left hand side of the lawn and moving plants from both the far bed and the left hand bed. In the far bed we discovered three hellebores being overwhelmed by cistus and lavatera, so I moved them (another deep breath. I know hellebores don’t like being moved. If they don’t survive I’ll take the blame). I also rescue a couple more cornus and a lavender. From the left hand bed I moved two hebes (both looking sorry for themselves) and two berberis (one in a bad way, the other in danger of taking over and crowding out an azalea). So all of those went into the new bed and afterwards the garden looked like this:

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Next weekend, weather permitting, we will continue (though I might need to buy some more plants!).

A couple of honourable mentions – Mum gave me some of her snowdrops yesterday, so now I have a few in a pot and a few in the ground outside the greenhouse:

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And one of the rescued hellebores was bravely trying to flower, against all the odds:

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Once everything settles in I’m hoping that it will help to make the garden a little more interesting and less functional. It also makes it a little more ours, each time we do something like this, which is very pleasing.

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