How many of you have areas in the garden which are not pleasing? Maybe there are too many self-seeded plants or something has spread too much or maybe you have simply fallen out of love with a particular plant. There are several parts of the one acre garden here which I’ve become increasingly annoyed with. The trouble is that either the weather is wrong or the soil too wet or dry or I’m too busy with the nursery side of things to be able to make any changes. Last winter was too wet to do any significant alterations which was frustrating.

There are few ‘windows’ of perfect gardening conditions here on our heavy clay soil so it is vital to get on with digging and planting on those rare days. For the last fortnight or so it has been ideal, not too hot and not too cold, light winds and most importantly the ground is/was easily workable. One of the casualties from the 2019 winter wet was a large Osmanthus which we removed earlier in the year and gave me an opportunity to plant a Cotinus in the new space. With Sarah’s help I removed a lot of self seeded marjoram, ajuga and other straggly bits and pieces, added barrows of compost then planted some Stachys thunbergii, a pink sanguisorbia, some white iris and some Lamium ‘White Nancy’.

It could have been ten years ago when I planted bottle brush shrub thinking it was just a test to see how well this Australian plant would grow in our wet, claggy soil. The longer it is there the more I dislike it. And will it die? It will not. To add to the dislike of it is that I planted it in the ‘hot’ border, you know the thing with yellows, oranges and reds but this irritating plant has bright pink flowers and manages to clash with everything surrounding it. It will not be there much longer, it is on our list of things to do this week.

Some quite lovely pale yellow bearded iris have been taking up too much space and rarely flower, and those few flowers that grace the border with their presence almost always get battered by wind and rain. There are gone, well, most of them anyway. I planted some Kniphofia ‘Little Maid’ and some Echinops ‘Veitch’s Blue’ in their place. I’m also pulling out most of the Sisyrinchium striatum which is looking spectacularly scruffy so there will be more space for some better plants.

There is a problem though and that is that there has been quite a lot of rain in the last few days and the ground is rapidly getting to wet and sticky to work on. Some years the conditions have been favourable for this kind of work right through til the end of the year but it looks like it won’t happen this year.

Sarah will be here tomorrow, watch out, there will be more digging up done, more gaps created.

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