Primrose and Crocus North-East-Facing-Garden-New-Flower-Bed-Plants-for-Shade-by-Life-with-Holly

My North-East Facing Garden in February

It’s been a while since I updated you on what’s going on in the garden. To be fair, there’s not much going on! We live on a hillside so the garden is sloping. It’s roughly tiered in line with the steps on the path, and has been this way since the house was built around 150 years ago. It’s north-east facing and open to the world with hardly any privacy. Nevertheless, I love my little north-east facing garden and all it’s challenges. This year I’ve decided to remove some turf and make some new flower beds. Here’s what’s happening in my North-East facing garden in February!

Snowdrops North-East-Facing-Garden-New-Flower-Bed-Plants-for-Shade-by-Life-with-Holly


I wrote a blog post a bit ago about my plans for the garden, and I’m happy to say I’ve made a start (only 6 months later!). Our top lawn is nearest the house and at this time of year receives about 36 seconds of sun a day. The houses to the east and south of the garden cast so much shade, then the sun goes behind our house and is so low. Every year I spend ages scarifying the lawn to remove the horrible moss that accumulates and this year was the worst it’s ever been. I finally had enough, complained heartily to Mr R and decided to remove as much of the grass and moss as I could. My idea was to turn the lawn into some flower beds. On my Pinterest board I’ve got a load of ideas saved, and I also found the amazing Instagram account of GNC Garden. This is my dream garden!

Moss in Lawn - North-East-Facing-Garden-New-Flower-Bed-Plants-for-Shade-by-Life-with-Holly

Wondering how to remove turf to make new flower beds?


So, I set to work removing the turf. This was a horrible job that has given me back ache for the last three days. I’m currently walking like an old woman and can barely bend to pick things up. In hindsight a turf stripping machine would have been a good shout, but it was a relatively small area and I wanted it done!


To start with I measured the width of the garden. It’s 15ft, so not huge. I decided I wanted a path with two flower beds either side, and I wanted the beds to be huge. I left a strip of about 2ft down the middle with the rest being the flower beds. I used string (well, old strimmer wire as I couldn’t find my string) and some wooden sticks to mark out the line of the beds.

Measuring for new flower beds North-East-Facing-Garden-New-Flower-Bed-Plants-for-Shade-by-Life-with-Holly

I then went along the lines with my half moon spade to mark the edges. I went along the turf to cut it into sections roughly a spade head wide.


Then it was a case of using a normal spade and lifting the turf. I dug the spade into the side of the grass and used my knee to force it under the grass. I went along the long edge of each section, then rolled it up and put it to one side. I was rushing as I had the school run to do, so it wasn’t the neatest of jobs, but I managed to get it all done in time.

Removing Turf North-East-Facing-Garden-New-Flower-Bed-Plants-for-Shade-by-Life-with-Holly

I had to ask Mr R to move all the turf out of the front garden for me as I could barely move after doing all this! I’m clearly not as fit as I once was.

New Flower Beds North-East-Facing-Garden-New-Flower-Bed-Plants-for-Shade-by-Life-with-Holly

This afternoon I’ve had an hour in the garden dividing some plants (I hope it’s not too early!) and filling out the new beds. I’ve also had a delivery of some box plants and a couple of Hydrangea Annabelle so wanted to get these in the ground. I moved my obelisks and have planted cuttings of my Claire Austin rose which rooted last year against these. I still need to clear the clematis Freckles foliage off one of them though but the rain started!

Planning New Flower Beds North-East-Facing-Garden-New-Flower-Bed-Plants-for-Shade-by-Life-with-Holly

In my beds now there are box (which I’m hoping to make into small balls for year round structure), the Claire Austin roses on obelisks, hydrangea Annabelle, some astrantia, some hellebores and some bulbs (probably snowdrops and bluebells). I’ve got some late tulips on order so I hope they turn up soon and I’ll have enough time to plant them. I’ve also ordered some more astilbe plants as I love their fluffiness!

New Flower Beds North-East-Facing-Garden-New-Flower-Bed-Plants-for-Shade-by-Life-with-Holly

In my seed propagating area (aka my spare room) I’ve got sweet peas, gaura, cosmos and white foxgloves growing. I’m hoping to plant some of these in the sunnier parts and will let the foxgloves self seed themselves throughout the beds because I love them.


Here’s hoping the new beds do well! Thanks for stopping by x


Comments (7)

  • Ris Parker

    15 February 2020 at 1:22 pm

    Yey very British ☕️ 🥰

  • Matilda R

    15 February 2020 at 3:40 pm

    I wish I had my own garden where I could grow flowers and herbs, it would be a dream come true!

  • Rachael Broderick

    16 February 2020 at 12:32 pm

    What a fabulous plan! I’m not at all green-fingered but this post is inspiring!

  • Hannah

    18 February 2020 at 9:48 pm

    Inspiring me to get out into the garden 🥰💕

  • Xoxocb

    22 February 2020 at 11:58 pm

    Wow!! I wish I had a yard to garden in but I would probably kill everything…. hope everything grows great for you!

    1. lifewithholly

      7 March 2020 at 4:59 pm

      Thank you, me too! I’ll be so disappointed if it doesn’t look good haha! x

  • Rachel

    14 March 2020 at 3:51 pm

    Can’t wait to see how they grow in! Fabulous inspiration for this coming spring to tackle my own gardening projects!

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