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Having recently taken possession of a new garden – at the moment about 50m of which is knee high weeds, crumbling brickwork and rotting timber– I am pondering over what to try and keep and what needs to go.

The garden was tended by the same lady for 40 years and whilst not all the plants are to my taste, and some are definitely past their best, I know from experience that some gems can be found in unexpected places. In my previous garden, I retained plants that I would not have dreamed of buying myself but I have grown to love them all the same. Mahonia was one such example, a spiky awkward looking plant but one which I came to appreciate – the sculptural quality of the leaf shape, particularly against a neighbour with a smoother leaf, the way the foliage turns red, the racemes of scented yellow flowers when nothing else is in flower in the dead of winter.

Changes to a garden should not be taken lightly and many of us make small changes, being not quite confident about doing something on a larger scale, however, often we are glad when we did. It is a satisfying feeling to see a new garden develop, perhaps better suited to your lifestyle.

Back in my own new outdoor space, I will try not be over-zealous in removing plants and knocking down walls but will live with it for a while and think about how I would like to use the space and how I would like to feel when I am in it.

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