If the last 13 years have taught me anything at all, it’s that you should work with nature not against it, particularly if like me, you’re a lone gardener most of the time, who is no longer in the first flush of youth.

We brought hundreds of plants with us when we moved here. These are just a few of them.

potted various potted azaleas potted groundcover pots outside the front door

All had been lovingly cared for during the move and stored in a friends garden. On their arrival in Lincolnshire they were carefully planted out and recorded in my gardening book.

The idea was that this book would track and record the progress of the new garden, a bit like ‘The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady’ but it soon became clear that this was going to be a task too far. What I’d failed to realise was that Edwardian ladies had staff, I don’t.

After the first couple of years a lot of the plants had died anyway. This could have been due to a variety of reasons, not least incorrect soil type which is how we lost our azaleas.

All the lovely primulas we put in Flower Bed 1, all gone. With the benefit of hindsight we should have planted them in the ditch where the ground doesn’t dry out in summer.

Anyway, loss of plants, the sheer size of the garden and the volume of work involved in just keeping it ticking over, meant that the penny soon dropped. Forget the book and stick to growing things that like it here.

So that’s why today I’ve been collecting seeds. Rudbeckia and Cosmos both do well here. As do Lupins and Larkspur. For some reason I can’t grow Hollyhocks or Delphiniums, though I have tried several times over the years.

Geraniums grow like fun and seem to stand the harshest treatment. Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ was doing OK until last winter which was just too cold and took out some of my plants. That’s why today I’ve just collected and sown 48 Lucifer seeds.

Add to these dahlias grown from seeds like annuals, bright red pelargoniums over-wintered in pots in the conservatory,  ‘Sylvia’s Sunflowers’, monada and nasturtiums, it’s not a bad selection to build on. Each time I find something ‘new’ that likes it here it will go on the list.

One plant that does really well here, and which I’ve tried to love over the years is Achillea ‘Gold Plate’ commonly known as yarrow. Sadly I just don’t like it. There were 2 huge clumps of it in Flower Bed 1 and today I ruthlessly dug them out.

Next year the space they’ve left will be full of Cosmos, and I can’t wait. I grew some from seed earlier this year and they are pretty as a picture even now.  So I’ll be sowing even more in Spring so that Flower Bed 1 can benefit from their long lasting blooms next year.

Even when you love it, gardening is hard work, so why make it any harder.