It’s December and my garden looks a complete mess. Which means I feel the compunction to dig something up. I realise this is just transference and if I was more methodical and thoughtful about my garden ‘design’ I would save a lot of time, money, effort and heartache. However, I recently realised I’m not good nor really interested in designing my garden. My garden is like a garden centre without the black pots. I’m always shifting things around or digging them up. I also have a total passion for buying plants which requires room. One day my husband asked if the garden would ever not be a work in progress. Luckily, I didn’t have to answer as at that moment my three year old started earnestly trying to break a window with a plastic watering can. It was never mentioned again and I think we both knew the answer. I realise that my garden is like a guest house. I love plants but I find that some develop unforgivable flaws and then they start to out stay their welcome. There are four that I have decided I will dig up, give away and not have back again for years until I have forgotten why I disliked them. My absolute worst is Iris, they are such disappointing plants. At first they start with the most dramatic sword-like leaves that are so striking it’s fantastic. Then they get ravaged by slugs with a week or two and look horrible and torn. Next it’s the flowers – amazing and intricate and then they moulder on the plant and look revolting. So you have tiny slithers of joy and literally months of ugliness. The same is true of Peonies and Lychnis. The peony flowers for such a short time and then it’s just a dull green bush. The neighbour has a beautiful red one that I can just look at when it’s flowering and feel delighted that I don’t have it the rest of the time. Thirdly, Lychnis – one of the brightest and best colours in the garden. It’s amazing with the crimson blooms against the grey leaves, but as it finishes flowering it just looks unbearably straggly. Finally Santolina. I love the yellow dot flowers, they are so unusual in their simplicity, but then they change from being neat, bright things and become over-blown and brown as they go over. It’s like the process of aging highlighted in a single flower and as I’m over 40, I’m rather sensitive to that. Also, the neighbour’s cats always sit on it, flattening it’s middle horribly. I go and get my shovel.