Come June, I always start to feel that the garden is running away from me; so with only a couple of frantic weeks of lecturing left, I treated myself to a few minutes trying to restore some order in the front garden.
This is the first impression that anyone makes of us as a family, and of me as a designer, so where I am prepared to allow yellow plastic diggers & bald patches on the back lawn, I am more particular with 'my' garden.
When we moved here 10 years ago, we ripped out the tarmac drive (which was peeling back from another tarmac layer), and laid Indian sandstone wheel tracks infilled with slate chippings. This was to reduce the harshness of a paved drive, to allow for water run-off from the sloping back garden, and to squeeze in a few more pockets for planting.
It has been easy to maintain, with a lick of a flame gun (weed wand) every few weeks keeping to worst of the weeds down. However, this summer (ha!), there has been too much rain and wind to be able to scorch the weeds, and nature has taken over.
Kneeling down & lifting rogue roots with a daisy grubber is immensely satifying. I can now spot Thymus serphyllum and am delighted it has finally started to colonise the gravel, releasing a slight herbal scent underfoot (or underwheel). I sowed a packet of thyme a few weeks ago, holding little hope for its' germination rate as I left it outside by the car, but every one has come up & I will be transferring these into the gaps left by the moss & grass once the seedlings are big enough to move. I am keeping the self-seeded Verbena bonariensis in situ for a couple more weeks before transplanting it into the beds for some later summer colour. I fancy experimenting with some more adventurous dwarf herbs along the gaps in the pointing: French Sorrel (Rumex scutatus), Lemon Basil (Ocimum citriodorum), Heartsease (Viola tricolore) & Oregano (Origanum vulgare 'Aureum'), but will be sprinkling seed rather than failing at establishing pot specimens as previous experience has shown. I must remember to sow a few seeds in pots first, so I don't grub them up in a few weeks' time...