Still not a huge amount to do other than continue to clear out dead growth and uncover bulbs.

It’s giving me time to puzzle on a few challenges. And to want to buy too much.

Snowdrops

We can’t walk on half the lawn for fear of stepping on them. That’s not a complaint really.

Every time you move a pile of leaves, you find more clumps.

Snowdrops outside the kitchen window

The recent cold snap put a pause on things, but it’s warming up again things are on fast forward again.

The display with aconites is especially gorgeous, and barely getting starting.

Hellebores

Like the snowdrops, they are coming up everywhere now. Red, pink, white and two pale green ones.

Most are still in the slow process of opening, but these two are early bloomers.

Dark pink hellebore in the sunshine
Pink speckled hellebore

Three puzzles

Puzzle 1: Why plant one thing when you can plant five? This photo illustrates the challenge.

Three box bushes practically on top of each other, a hydrangea (inside the fence) and other small trees in front and to the side/foreground. Too much in one place. You lose the view of the other side of the stream and the stream itself. Nothing else can grow.

I need to figure out what needs to come out, what needs to be replaced with something else to stabilise the bank and what just needs to come out.

Repeat around the whole garden.

Puzzle 2: what can I plant in the bank of the stream that creates interest and stabilises the soil?

Right now the banks don’t have much on them, other than dead weeds from last summer. I’ve cleared what I can from above. I’m going to need to get hipwaders to clear the rest from the stream itself.

One of the life-projects of this property is how we can play our part in restoring some life to the stream.

Puzzle 3: turning this area down by the stream into a sitting space. It’s a little sun trap now, but I suspect when all the trees get their leaves back, it will be a lovely spot in the hot summer. And the view up the stream is a delight.

Winter suntrap spot