in my garden | gravel garden part 1

A garden is always in transition. Nothing is static, nothing lasts forever. Plants come and go. Designs change. A photo taken today will be unlike a photo taken tomorrow. Petals fall. Seeds drop. New life begins.

A year ago I showed you how the garden had changed in the few months we had lived in our new house. Apart from removing a few of my potted plants and planting them into the soil I didn’t change anything in the garden until this year as it is good to understand what is already growing and how the light changes over the year. The overgrown and rotting raised beds at the end of the garden were replaced last May and since then most of the work carried out has been weeding, pruning, mowing the lawn and tending the veg beds.

Until this spring: when I decided that I wanted more flowers and shrubs in the garden and rather less lawn. I don’t need a lawn, I’m not likely to lie on it, I have no children to play on it and I don’t even need the green of it as we have lovely green fields and hills in the background. So my plan is to remove the lawn over a period of time and replace it with shrubs and flower beds and gravelled pathways.

What I hadn’t realised is how much effort this takes! For now I have removed the lawn from around the large rock (which is used as my bird bath) and also alongside the stone wall on the sunny side of the garden (on the right).

Lawn early May 2016

Now the lawn on the right-hand side has been removed and planted with geraniums, hebes and assorted cuttings that I have taken. Several new climbers have been planted and a couple of New Zealand shrubs purchased.

New gravel area

I shall have to wait a little longer to show you a full picture as I still have one section to complete. My illness, then the wind and rain followed by the excessive heat have stopped me in my tracks, but all being well it will be finished by the end of this month.

But I will show you around so you can see some of the changes.Β 

Vegetable beds: Sadly the ‘Bright Lights‘ Chard have failed to materialise despite two sowings and I only have four kale plants this year. Dwarf beans are growing (second sowing, the slugs and snails ate the first lot) a couple of broad beans are in flower and a couple of courgette plants are finally growing after being munched on for the last two months. We are getting many more strawberries this year and the herbs are doing well with the exception of the chervil and coriander, both of which wilted in the heat. Rocket and other lettuce varieties have also bolted in the heat and I had hardly picked any of the leaves.

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Herb Garden

Sunny side:

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Among the penstemons (all taken from cuttings of the original plant) is lavender, fuchsia, rosemary, osteospermum and a day lily that still hasn’t flowered. I suspect I need to dig that up and plant it elsewhere.

Shady side:

Most of the plants growing here are well established, but I still need to fill in some gaps on the wall. Maybe ajuga or brunnera to add colour. I have planted some heuchera (again from cuttings) and hellebores (from seed) and in the autumn I want to plant miniature daffodils, anemones and crocuses, but the trouble is that roots from trees and shrubs make planting difficult along here.

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Patio: Not much has changed in this area of the garden other than a jet-wash last month. The pelargoniums have been re-potted but in all honesty they are past their best and next year I shall replace them. The white lilies got eaten in the spring, but I hope to have recovered a few bulbs so next year I shall place them all in the conservatory until the plants are ready to flower in order to stop them being eaten. Β The side of the conservatory has altered. I removed the rotten wood edging and put gravel down all over the ground and cut down the overgrown jasmine completely. Needless to say it is shooting madly now! A Dwarf Hebe and some Crocosmia and a half-hardy fuchsia are getting established as is another white climbing rose which last year was a miserable stick with only two small flowers.

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The Patio and tomatoes in the conservatory

The conservatory may be getting a new roof by the end of the summer and it desperately needs painting outside so that’s another job to tackle, but hopefully there will be time to sit and enjoy the garden this year.

I won’t be joining in the monthly challenge for a while, instead I shall bring you monthly updates of the garden. Plus I have a plan to visit the 19 Great Gardens of Cornwall many of which I have already visited over the years, but I’ll go in different seasons and one is the wonderful garden of Tresco Abbey which will involve a trip across the water at some point in the future…

Daily Post Photo Challenge | passing of time


  1. Pete Hillman says:

    Your garden is looking very beautiful, Jude πŸ™‚ I have no lawns myself, but have shrubs and other planting, patio and gravel areas. I would like a wild area but I barely have room for the small pond I have, so that had to give. I will look forward to see how your garden progresses. All that effort will certainly be very much worth while πŸ™‚

    1. Heyjude says:

      I would like a small pond, but that will need someone else coming in to dig for me. Next year perhaps πŸ™‚

      1. Pete Hillman says:

        Sounds like a good plan πŸ™‚ Because my garden is only quite small I was put off putting in a pond, but eventually I gave it a try last year. It’s only a small wildlife pond, but it has attracted a lot of pond life which has been a pure delight to see πŸ™‚

        1. Heyjude says:

          Yes, my reason for wanting one. Frogs would be very welcome here!

        2. Pete Hillman says:

          I have had them, and toads, too πŸ™‚

  2. restlessjo says:

    Oooh, yes please! Desperate to go to Tresco. I’ll have to fly down πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ You have been busy, Jude! Almost as busy as Tish πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ How lucky to have those chunky boulders in your garden- makes a great feature and links you to the landscape. I do like a bit of grass to wiggle my toes in and gravel is horrid for that. The wooden ‘steps’ in the path are a good idea. We have many of the same plants in ours but no veg at all. Would quite liike beans and stuff, but I’m lazy. Thanks for the tour. Much appreciated.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I have my own ‘dancing maids’ it seems, and yes they do link it nicely to the landscape at the rear. I might keep a very small lawn where I hang out the washing, as you say it is nice to walk barefoot on, and the daisies love it too πŸ˜€ I think this will be the last year of veg growing, I shall leave it to Tish! Mine appears to be the slug & snail cafΓ©. I shall concentrate on herbs as most of them survive!

  3. A great accompaniment to vindaloo in the pub I’m staying in in a very pleasant country town. I’m always amazed at how quickly a garden takes shape in expert hands – which yours obviously are. It’s quite beautiful.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you Meg. And can I pinch a forkful of your vindaloo? It has been years since I ate a good one.

      1. No!! Do you know a camel who could cover 500km a day? Off to a remote bush block today, far from reception.

        1. Heyjude says:

          Oddly, I don’t actually know ANY camels let alone one that can go that fast.

        2. I think I got my comments crossed here. Of course you can share my vindaloo.

        3. Heyjude says:

          Too late now. You have probably eaten it all. How are you managing a connection whilst camping in the bush?

        4. Only camped two nights – motelling, hotelling, and with my niece for the rest of the 8 days it took me to get here.

  4. beetleypete says:

    I know what you mean about having a lawn. We never sit on ours, and have to cut it to make it tidy. However, we also have a big gravel area on our driveway, and weeding gravel is a complete chore! Running the mower over a lawn is much easier.
    Thanks for the tour. You have done a great job, and your effort is well-rewarded.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    1. Heyjude says:

      I also have a huge car parking space that is gravelled so I know what you mean! I aim to replace much of the grass with plants as well as gravel so hopefully it won’t be quite so bad! A bit at a time though, so the (reduced) lawn will remain for the rest of this year πŸ™‚

  5. Joanne Sisco says:

    I’m in awe of both your energy and vision in the garden. I’m embarrassed by my lethargy in comparison.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Ah, but you have very many other talents that are definitely not lethargic!

      1. Joanne Sisco says:

        Good point πŸ™‚

        1. Heyjude says:

          πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  6. Oh WOW Jude, it’s looking absolutely amazing. You’re clearly in your element – literally and figuratively. It’s a beautiful, tranquil haven. Now all you need is a hammock for those lazy afternoons after a long day in the garden xxx

    1. Heyjude says:

      Even if a hammock could take my weight, I’d never get out of one!!

        1. Heyjude says:


  7. Elizabeth says:

    Did you haul in those rocks? (My husband would like to know. He is forever bringing rocks into our yard.)What are the 19 Great Gardens of Cornwall? Is there a list somewhere? Thanks.

    1. Heyjude says:

      The rocks were already here when we moved in. They probably came from the hill behind at some point.
      though on the website it only says there are 12.

  8. Lucid Gypsy says:

    It’s looking fabulous Jude, you must be really pleased with yourself!

    1. Heyjude says:

      I’d be more pleased if I had finished what I set out to do! Just been out to check any damage: all seems OK except for the roses.

  9. What a gorgeous garden Jude – it looks so relaxing and peaceful and a testament to all the hard work you have put in since you moved in. Thanks for sharing your delightful photos! πŸ™‚

  10. Tina Schell says:

    Amazing Jude, you’ve created a masterpiece. Thanks for posting these – I have the blackest thumb in the universe and the only way I see flowers like these is if someone else grows them~!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you Tina. To be fair it was a mature garden to start with, but overgrown so the first year was taken up with lots of weeding and pruning. Only now am I beginning to put my own personality into it.

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