All Change







WordPress tells me I’ve used this post title before. All Change. It says a lot about my personality in truth. I can’t leave things alone. But the astilbes, and the pinks, offended my eye. So even though it is July and astilbes are moisture loving plants best not moved on the hottest day of the year, they had to go.

The result is, for me, a better balanced border. The dominant blobs of pink are gone and the eye takes in the whole width of the run. Plants at the back of the lower level are more visible now and I’ve taken the opportunity to introduce more colour. Pastels are out. There is plenty of room for them in the transitional areas of the garden where the planting gently merges into the woodland backdrop beyond. Going forward it will be punches of strong colour in the terraces, something more akin to Monty Don’s Jewel Garden.

Swopping mature plants for new means I’ve lost some of the height, which will return next year. I shall also reintroduce the repetition that I’d intended to achieve with the astilbes, using something like alliums: perhaps ‘Purple Sensation’ for early summer, with Allium sphaerocephalon to follow on.



Early August, 2013

Things have improved..



 The far end of the lower level today

Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ is still going strong at the back, together with the only remaining astilbe. Dahlia ‘Karma Chocolate’, left of centre, has just been planted.



Rose ‘Alpine Sunset’



 A moulting Hucknall was determined to get into a picture..

There you go lad.



Agapanthus ‘Indigo Dreams’



 Sanguisorba ‘Tanna’, ‘Snow in Summer’ Cerastium tomentosum, Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’ and Cistus argenteus ‘Silver Pink’



The Jester’s Hat

Peony ‘Bowl of Beauty’ seed head



A touch of bling.

There are still gaps to fill, room for more colour as and when the opportunity arises.


New plant purchases should really sign a contract before they make the journey from the nursery bench to the back footwell of the car:

‘I agree to be moved.

Maybe more than once.

And quite possibly at the wrong time of year.’


Perhaps the best thing I can do for the terraces now is leave them alone to mature.

Put the garden tools back in the shed. And throw away the key.


Linking up with Helen’s End Of Month View (here) at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog. Click through to find out what other gardeners are up to this month.


2018-04-17T09:53:01+00:00July 31st, 2014|Tags: |


  1. Isabelle July 31, 2014 at 10:46 am - Reply

    Absolutely gorgeous photos – is that your house/cottage?! You’ve got someone feeling very jealous over here xxx

    • Jessica July 31, 2014 at 9:03 pm - Reply

      It is our cottage. It needs a lot of work. I fell for the potential rather than the current reality!

  2. Jo July 31, 2014 at 10:52 am - Reply

    I think you’ve got a firm idea of what you want from the border and you’re certainly getting there. It’s good to have a result in mind, I tend to plant and hope for the best.

    • Jessica July 31, 2014 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      It’s definitely trial and error Jo.. the number of times I dig things up and move them around stands testament to that. I do have a vision in my mind of how I want it to look, it’s getting to that point that is endlessly frustrating.

  3. Chloris July 31, 2014 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    Well I thought it was lovely with the Astilbes but it looks great without too. We are all the same we just can’ t stop fiddling with our gardens. My plants are constantly on the move.
    Your Hydrangea looks very healthy, have you had rain?

    • Jessica July 31, 2014 at 9:19 pm - Reply

      We’ve had a bit of rain, more than Suffolk probably, but need an awful lot more. The forecast for tomorrow is looking promising. I just hope the rain arrives, there have been similar promises that just fizzled out. It’s a real eye opener living in the same county as the Met Office. Sometimes the forecast changes at about the same time as they look out of the window.

  4. wherefivevalleysmeet July 31, 2014 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Hucknall is looking like I feel – roll on some cooler weather, and please give my garden some rain – I must admit that I do not tend to move plants around, it takes me all my time just to take away the weeds.

    • Jessica July 31, 2014 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      You are probably far more adept at getting them in the right place to start with Rosemary. I plonk and hope.. knowing that they can always be moved!

  5. Mark and Gaz July 31, 2014 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    The gardener’s in charge and sometimes you have to do things, even at the supposed to be wrong time of the year. I’m sure it won’t mind that much 😉

    • Jessica July 31, 2014 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      It’s easier at this time of year.. the effect is immediately obvious. At least it is for a day or two, until everything starts to wilt! But I’ve put the astilbes on mega irrigation, extra volume drip heads. So far so good..

  6. Jayne Hill July 31, 2014 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Although we’re “not meant to” sometimes moving plants when they are in flower is the only way to go. Wait until autumn when everything has died down and it is all too easy to forget that the nice little clump of neat foliage is going to be a thug again in six months time

    …. my three big Cottage Garden borders are all suffering from “I’ll do it later in the year” which never happened, and now it is so dry that I couldn’t get a fork in the soil to move perennials if I wanted to :{

    But I’m with Chloris – I liked the asilbes!

    • Jessica July 31, 2014 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      I like the astilbes too, just not in the terraces. They look so much better up on the bank, mixed in with grasses. Honest!

  7. Countryside Tales July 31, 2014 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    Looking good….

    • Jessica July 31, 2014 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      Ta. x

  8. Em July 31, 2014 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    It all looks lovely to me but I’m a fiddler too. I just moved something wise name escapes me and it’s now a bundle of limp flat leaves. Oooops.

    • Jessica July 31, 2014 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      Rain coming, and cooler temps. It might yet pick up..

  9. snowbird July 31, 2014 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    It certainly is coming along beautifully. I love the jesters hat and son of Hucknall, how pretty is he?xxx

    • Jessica July 31, 2014 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      All robins are called Hucknall, sons or otherwise, it’s easier that way! The advice is to deadhead the peony, but I want to see if I get seeds and if they are viable. And in the meantime the jesters hats do look very attractive.

  10. Alison July 31, 2014 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    I definitely think that removing the pink Astilbes was an improvement, although I like Astilbes very much. I had to laugh at the disclaimer that you think all incoming plants should sign, it’s true of my garden as well. I can’t stop tinkering.

    • Jessica July 31, 2014 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      The trouble is I tinker too much. Which is why I think I now need to leave the terraces alone for a bit, except for filling in the gaps. I need to assess it again when the plants are more mature.

  11. Pauline July 31, 2014 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    It looks so good Jessica, I think I agree with the move, hope the astilbes don’t mind and go into a sulk! I tend to leave movingthings until the autumn and then can’t remember what I was going to move! I must make notes in the future.
    We have had some long awaited rain today, thank goodness, did it come to you too, I hope so, the garden is so dry for this time of year.

    • Jessica July 31, 2014 at 9:38 pm - Reply

      We had a shower this morning, but it didn’t amount to much. Especially as the sun then came out and dried up the ground. Tomorrow is looking more hopeful though. The top terrace I will do more work on in autumn. Geums need dividing and I’m facing a lily of the valley takeover bid.

  12. frayed at the edge July 31, 2014 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    Much as I like astilbes, the border is better without them!

    • Jessica July 31, 2014 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      I think so. After the wet Spring they just exploded into growth and were smothering other plants. I need that kind of ground cover on the bank, to help me suppress the weeds.

  13. woolythymes July 31, 2014 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    lovely—–as always!!!!!

    • Jessica July 31, 2014 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      Thanks Steph 🙂

  14. Jennifer July 31, 2014 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    I agree that the border is better without them, pretty though they are. It’s all looking very lush but also neat and tidy at the same time.

    • Jessica July 31, 2014 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jennifer. I much prefer the border now. It just needs the new plants to fill out a bit so I get more intense pools of colour. I know all things are relative but it’s not as lush as it could be.. England has been dry, for us, this year.

  15. Cathy July 31, 2014 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    That is one very tidy terrace you have there, Jessica – not a weed in sight! 🙂 Great pictures

    • Jessica July 31, 2014 at 9:46 pm - Reply

      The challenge is to keep it that way..

  16. Anna July 31, 2014 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    How considerate of WordPress to issue such advice Jessica. Blogger doesn’t. I think that minus astilbes and pinks was a wise decision. I can just imagine those plants poised with pen in leaf signing contracts with their new custodians. Just as well that plants don’t read the books as it seems that they can be moved at most times of year and live to tell the tale.

    • Jessica July 31, 2014 at 9:51 pm - Reply

      It may be too early for the astilbes to say they lived to tell the tale, but I’m hopeful. The pinks are still there, albeit their flowers have been stripped off by mice or squirrels. They are just further back, where I hope their colour will add interest but not be so dominant next year.

  17. AnnetteM July 31, 2014 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    I love the photos of the rose and the Jester’s Hat. The rose is so beautiful and the seed head so interesting. I can’t stop moving plants about either. This will be the first year I have monthly photos to help; before that it has been a bit hit and miss. No excuse now not to get it right – hmmm, we never get it totally right do we as plants actually have minds of their own and don’t always like where we put them!!!

    • Jessica August 1, 2014 at 9:24 am - Reply

      In our mild wet climate many of the plants I’ve grown have shot up to double the height suggested on the label. And then I move something only to find it sulking and unhappy in the new position. It’s so frustrating.

  18. Linda from Each Little World August 1, 2014 at 3:03 am - Reply

    I am going to use your contract with my plants. For better or worse, that seems to be my routine. I think we have to move things when we have the time and energy and the plants are in full swing letting us see what’s working – or not. I’ve been redoing a couple of major beds and forgot about the date so I will have to do a catch-up later. Love the peony seed head.

    • Jessica August 1, 2014 at 9:31 am - Reply

      I would guess about two thirds of the plants I move this way survive, eventually. They may be set back for a while. Thankfully the ‘Patty’s Plum’ poppy I moved in Spring is now sending out new leaves, so hopefully it will be back on song next year. I really thought I was going to have to replace that one.

  19. nataliescarberry August 1, 2014 at 3:20 am - Reply

    Looks splendid, Jessica! But then I knew it would when you started working on it. Hugs and blessings, Natalie 🙂

    • Jessica August 1, 2014 at 9:33 am - Reply

      Thank you Natalie. It will get there in the end. What I lack in skill I make up for in persistence!

  20. Sigrun August 1, 2014 at 5:07 am - Reply

    What a beautiful look! You have such a lot of varietys in Agapanthus, last week I’ve baught me ?? Midnight ??, with small leaves. In the moment i love the yellow, orange and red perenials, it is summer!


    • Jessica August 1, 2014 at 9:35 am - Reply

      ‘Midnight’ sounds intriguing, I will look that one up! Yes, it’s those strong summer colours I need more of now.

  21. Helene August 1, 2014 at 5:16 am - Reply

    It is amazing how many times some of my plants have gone walk-about in my garden, and they are still doing fine! Loved what you have done with your terrace, and most of all I love the SIZE of your terrace beds 🙂

    • Jessica August 1, 2014 at 9:40 am - Reply

      They are wide but the top two terraces are quite narrow which makes planting difficult, especially if I want to put in larger plants for height. It can look like they’re all planted in a line. And then how to cover the ‘legs’ of the plants in the middle. That has to be done from the back of the lower terrace.. it’s a nightmare!

  22. CJ August 1, 2014 at 6:52 am - Reply

    It’s looking fantastic Jessica, I’m sure those that are moved will forgive you. Fantastic picture of that robin. CJ xx

    • Jessica August 1, 2014 at 9:42 am - Reply

      They should forgive me because they are now enjoying conditions much closer to their ideal… but it doesn’t necessarily follow does it!

  23. Vera August 1, 2014 at 10:30 am - Reply

    O. O, O. Ooooooooooo. I shall have a garden one day, I shall have a garden one day……I find myself repeating this mantra every time I visit your blog and share you really lovely garden, and those really lovely photos!

    • Jessica August 1, 2014 at 8:08 pm - Reply

      You are too kind Vera, thank you. Perhaps one day I should be brave and photograph the bits of the garden you don’t normally see….

  24. Jane and Lance Hattatt August 1, 2014 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Hello Jessica,

    Yes, definitely a change very much for the better. Your border now does have greater coherence and the eye can, as you say, take in the whole scene so much more easily. We love the way in which you have used varying foliage to good effect. So much longer lasting than any flowers and of interest throughout the seasons. And, how we adore Verbena Bonariensis. Let it wander at will say we since it looks good wherever it finds itself.

    And, in our gardening days, we were great believers in moving plants whenever one had the time or inclination. The only caution is to care for the plants more when moving in summer as they suffer greater stress.

    • Jessica August 1, 2014 at 8:18 pm - Reply

      I have the usual V. bonariensis up on the steep bank behind the house and I love it too. ‘Lollipop’ is a shorter variety, 60cm high. I’m hoping it will give me the same airy effect but in proportion to the location. I’ve put the relocated astilbes on mega irrigation, so far they seem fine.. they may even be putting on height!

  25. SeagullSuzie August 1, 2014 at 11:42 am - Reply

    How lovely to see your garden again, it’s coming along nicely after all your hard work. I like your plant contract!

    • Jessica August 1, 2014 at 9:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks. Plants have to be tough to survive around here!
      Glad your house move went well. You can settle down again now and enjoy the rest of the summer.

  26. islandthreads August 1, 2014 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    ok, ok Jessica, Mike was right it does look better without the A. Mollis, it’s still one of my favourites though, I love the grass and moving the astilbes has allowed it to be noticed more, beautiful pops of colour amongst interesting and varied foliage, I wouldn’t lock away the tools the weeds would probably take over, Frances

    • Jessica August 1, 2014 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      Yes, he was right. But I haven’t told him so, so let’s whisper it.
      He also doesn’t know that I’ve still got some, because I like it too. I’m growing it in the wilder parts of the garden. He’ll probably never notice it. 🙂

      • islandthreads August 2, 2014 at 8:58 am - Reply

        when I said he was right I only meant on the terrace, you must have some A. Mollis, not only because it’s has beautiful and unusual foliage but most of the larger wildlife like rabbits do not touch it and it can hold it’s own against tough grasses and strong weeds, I was thinking of you having it still in the wilder parts of your garden, your terraces are what I think of as your more formal part of the garden at the front of your house, Frances

        • Jessica August 2, 2014 at 8:37 pm - Reply

          Yes, I also think of the terraces as the formal part of the garden. The plants here need to behave. I want to have a bit of wafting, but in proportion and with nothing that gets ideas above its station. But my style is not really formal as such, up on the bank and out towards the wood the planting will be a lot more naturalistic.

  27. Alain August 2, 2014 at 2:39 am - Reply

    You are right. Removing the Astilbe made a big improvement.

    • Jessica August 2, 2014 at 8:31 pm - Reply

      I think so. I now have my sights set on a bright yellow day lily, Stella d’Oro (?) which is spoiling the balance. So much for locking the tools away..

  28. Janet/Plantaliscious August 2, 2014 at 9:42 am - Reply

    Oh I do like the way you are developing your terraces Jessica, moving the astilbes was definitely a Good Thing, and they are tough so with the occasional drenching I am sure they will be OK. I think strong colours work really well in those beds, and with lovely plants like verbena bonariensis and the sanguisorba to add movement, height, and perhaps with repetition act as glue, you have the makings of something really rather special. You seem to be a little like me, feeling your way forward, experimenting, until suddenly it all starts coming together and you begin to know what to add, and perhaps more importantly, what to remove. And isn’t Karma Chocolate a beauty?

    • Jessica August 2, 2014 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      Well they’ve certainly had a drenching today! After the rain I went out to check the astilbes and they still look fine. V.bon might be a better bet than alliums for repetition, you’re right, especially as we are still catching mice. Yes, it’s very much about experimenting. And I am starting to see how it might look now. We bought the Karma Chocolate in bud, unseen. Mike read the label and said it “pushed all my buttons”, dark foliage, deep chocolate flowers and he was right. I love it. Although the flowers are closer to deep maroon than brown.

  29. Annie Edwards August 2, 2014 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    so glad to have found a like-minded gardener – I also move plants to suit my mood (or whim, as my husband might say).

    • Jessica August 2, 2014 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      I know just what you mean. I allegedly have ‘whims’ too. I suppose it doesn’t help that I tend to leave things too long and have to call for reinforcements when it comes to the moving. Only last night I heard him recounting a tale to someone on the phone about the wheelbarrow buckling under the weight of a rootball..

  30. angiesgardendiaries August 2, 2014 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    As others have said I’m sure your Astilbe will survive. Tough as old boots Jessica. Unlike your Astilbes that have found a new home – I’ve a couple of purple ones that are going to the big compost bin in the sky.
    It easy to say you are going to let the plant mature but sticking with it will be hard, won’t it? I tell myself that all the time but that itchy trowel always gets it’s own way.
    The terrace as a whole looks good right now and can I add that the rose against the white of the render looks great too.

    • Jessica August 2, 2014 at 9:03 pm - Reply

      Your purple astilbes will have company because I have some orange (and now yellow) day lilies that are going the same way. Christopher Lloyd will be rubbing his hands together in glee up there.
      And the tools are back out already..

  31. elaine August 2, 2014 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    The terrace is showing improvements every time you post pictures – one day you may just think – I am happy with this – perfect.

    • Jessica August 2, 2014 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      Could it be.. next year? I think the same every year and always end up tinkering. But it is getting closer, of that I am sure.

  32. Jay August 2, 2014 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    It all looks so good, I wish I knew how to plan a garden border! I just don’t know where to start.

    • Jessica August 2, 2014 at 10:32 pm - Reply

      It’s all trial and error for me, and a bit of a juggling act because I was trying to keep some of the plants that were here originally, for the sake of economy. In retrospect it would have been easier just to clear the lot and start again.

  33. Amy at love made my home August 3, 2014 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Everything looks beautiful and you are making great progress! xx

    • Jessica August 4, 2014 at 11:19 am - Reply

      Thanks Amy, I’m trying! Rainy week forecast, it may all stop now for a bit.

  34. Simone August 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    I think I like your August terraced border most of all!

    • Jessica August 4, 2014 at 11:20 am - Reply

      It will all fill out again, but hopefully result in something tidier and with more colour.

  35. Chel @Sweetbriar Dreams August 3, 2014 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Your border is certainly filling out with the most luscious of planting! Well done on your perseverance xx

    • Jessica August 4, 2014 at 11:21 am - Reply

      Thanks Chel. This is the easy bit, back up on to the steep slope next.

  36. sustainablemum August 4, 2014 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Your border looks more beautiful each time you post pictures. What a beautiful sight when you step out the door 🙂

    • Jessica August 4, 2014 at 11:24 am - Reply

      I hope it’s progressing in a positive direction. I’m looking forward to seeing it all come up again next year, the moment of truth!

  37. Julieanne Porter (@GwenfarsGarden) August 4, 2014 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    I think change in a garden is good. It takes time to work out what looks best where. It would be a rare gardener (not-so-great gardener?) that planted everything and never moved them, in my view. Although I liked the astibles I can see the top terrace much better, so it was a good move. I enjoyed the close up photos of many of the flowers. The peony seed head is excellent – such fun!

    • Jessica August 4, 2014 at 5:48 pm - Reply

      I don’t suppose I will ever stop fiddling with it, but isn’t that half the fun? I want to try and germinate the peony seeds, if there are any in there. You never know… thanks Julieanne.

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