Posted: 26/02/2013 at 14:15
Nightgarden, your instinct is to get stuck in although my experience says wait, take your time. Let the small plants flower and either then put a marker on them or move them in flower to the place you wish them to be, with a good root ball they will be OK.
You will then have space to work on the larger project of cleaning the ground digging it over and giving feed.
You will also have room to move some of the marked plants along, clump them up into a scheme or divide and spread them. The other way is to discard some of the plants if you wish and plant new ones.
Do all this a bit at a time, clean small areas dig over and fertilise or mulch working along or even in parts of the border, as Rosa said tackle the shrubs first to give space then spend some time on your knees getting rid of the weed.
It will take time though you will have plenty to look at whilst you do it otherwise a full removal and renovation will take much time and effort, you want it to evolve not vanish then appear as something entirely different.
Doing it slowly seeing what is there by letting it flower gives you chance to view the whole border and then move plants for colour or effect, it also gives you time to sit and plan or just look without feeling you should be at it every spare hour.
One bit of advice I would give is after last years wash out, the soil will be hungry, a really good granular feed and mulch will put life back into the ground and gives the coming plants a boost, we all need a tonic after last year, my personal one comes from Scotland.
Good luck Frank.