Ok, I guess you learn loads when we get going. I lifted the lilac earlier and it was mucky and soaked at the base. The soil in that corner is very poor, rocky and heavy and soaked. I put in gravel, then loads of compost and soil mix and replanted. We'll see if it helps.
After doves comment on shoots appearing from under the soil rather than on the stems I had a good look at the raspberries. They are dead...I mean the best tinder money can buy. It's weird as the black currant and gooseberries are going great right beside them. So maybe they were bad when I purchased them last autumn?
Artjak I don't think it's a soak away . although it is very wet. I took a picture of the horrible soil taken from underneath the lilac. I just think rain ends up there eventually as the garden is sloped downward. I'm beside the mourne mts so our ground is damp anyway and being Ireland we get everyone's share of rain, usually.
Overall I'm quite confused now. Will I buy another raspberry and plant?
In my minds eye I think a raised bed around the base of the garden to avoid all this damp soil, but that sounds like a big job. And I have some lovely trees growing away as is., how would you put the soil in around them. I'm not afraid of a bit of work, more of making a mess of it.