It wasn't weed free, as you can see, and the lawn wasn't perfect, but the flowerbeds were full of colour and the lawn was flat and green and much the same height as the flowerbeds.
Gradually the balance of my work became less and less teaching and more and more artwork. Artwork isn't paid nearly as well as teaching and by the time I stopped teaching altogether, about 6 or 7 years ago, I no longer had time for the front garden at all because I needed to work very long hours to make enough income. (I have always managed to keep up with the vegetable garden at the back of the house.) Mike used to mow the lawn and for a couple of years we did give it some attention, but it was a losing battle and the quality has deteriorated, while the level has risen above that of the flowerbeds. I'm told this is because of lack of traffic on the lawn coupled with busy worms. I've had a friend do a little weeding some years, but not enough to keep on top of things. Gradually the beds have become infested with grass.
Now at last I am working part time and always planned that when this day came I would return to tending my front garden. Too late! It's actually now beyond me and my back. I fall into the flowerbeds from the raised lawn and because I still have some plants I like, it's almost impossible to remove the grass from around them. Mike was also in charge of tree pruning but that too had got beyond me as I'm not able to lop through branches as thick as the ones he tackled and the small trees had become bigger and straggly and past what I could deal with. I'm almost ashamed to post photos of what it all looks like now.
And as for the quality of the lawn ...
So 2016 is the year of the Big Garden Project. In May a landscaping outfit are coming to rescue the front garden and after that I'll be able to work on it myself.
Today I feel the project has actually begun. An ex-tree surgeon friend spent a couple of hours removing dead branches and giving a long-overdue cut back to the tamarisk and the smoke bush, so here is the first 'after' photograph of the Big Garden Project 2016.