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Will anything at all grow in the parched dust under my (horrid but necessary) leylandii?

(23 Posts)
linspins Thu 18-Apr-13 16:15:08

We have a hedge, huge and deep, which is pretty ugly but does a fab job of screening the equally ugly houses behind and gives us privacy and shelter. I'd like to grow something pretty...(or anything!!) underneath it, but the ground is understandably dry and dusty. Will anything at all grow here?

Poledra Thu 18-Apr-13 16:18:31

<sits down in OP's garden and waits to steal any advice she gets>

musickeepsmesane Thu 18-Apr-13 16:21:32

No, nothing. I have tried planting ivy and other climbers just outside the dry areas, to make the hedge more interesting and less leylandii

linspins Thu 18-Apr-13 17:09:54

Yeah was worried that's be the case. We've got a path just outside the dryest bit, so can't plant on that. I can see the bottom of the hedge from my kitchen window and it annoys me - what about pots with things in? That would get round the dry/no nutrient bit, although I'd have to water them. Hmmmm....

cantspel Thu 18-Apr-13 17:33:58

nasturtiums as these will grow anywhere including under and up a leylandi.

linspins Thu 18-Apr-13 20:34:45

That's interesting cantspel, I'd thought they would need more water. But nasturtium seeds are relatively cheap so I'll give it a go! Would be nice if they scrambled up inside and flowered through. (mind you, knowing my luck they'll scramble to the other side where we can't see them!)

Milliways Thu 18-Apr-13 20:46:42

We have a clump of a special grass that refuses to die under a massive leylandii in our garden. Also, Euphorbia grows verywhere!

How about this plant?

and this article also has ideas.

My front border has just been devoured by deer sad

linspins Thu 18-Apr-13 21:18:42

Oh yes, alchemilla mollis - I have that elsewhere so i could sprinkle some seeds from that to see what happens. Thanks Milliways. Poor you with the deer problem - not something I need to worry about in my suburb.
Just had the leylandii cut today, it made 8 and a half wheelie bins worth of cuttings. Big trip to the tip this weekend.

Rhubarbgarden Thu 18-Apr-13 23:26:17

Vinca minor would probably work. Very pretty too.

purplewithred Thu 18-Apr-13 23:36:09

I was going to say periwinkle. You could try geranium macrorrhizum (wow my iPad knows how to spell it) which is also unbelievably tough and Not fussy. But not underneath it directly, a bit away, and scrape out the planting area so you can water it and the water doesn't just just run off.

PeggyGuggenheim Fri 03-May-13 14:21:43

I have the answer !we have the exact same setup as you and the answer is hellebores . Not just a solution to this problem ,but an absolutely stunning plant that needs NO work. Mine are six years old ,huge ,vigorous ,beautiful . I have four different sorts and don't know any of the names but they were bog standard out of B&Q. And , they have self-seeded too!

MadMonkeys Sat 04-May-13 08:38:50

I would look at what naturally grows well in dry woodland - vinca minor, euphorbia var robbsi, ivy etc for ground cover and maybe shade loving plants in pots nestled in amongst the ground cover for somethig a bit more exciting - hellebores, hostas, tiarella, epimediums, or someting more substantial in a pot like fatsia japonica, camellia, Japanese Acer if its not too exposed. Then you can give what is in the pots good compost and plenty of water.

Showtime Sat 04-May-13 15:44:03

Agreeing with Peggy - one Corsican Hellebore has spread/seeded around base of too-large leylandii and does look pretty good. Chives were surprisingly successful too, and some standard "Blue Grass", and I plan to move/tryout some Snow-inSummer this season.

linspins Sat 04-May-13 17:11:10

Wow, thanks everybody, loads of ideas. Been out tidying, weeding, and generally getting the area ready for ...something. The wind kept blowing the dust about, urgh. I think I'll need to add a bit of something with some nutrients in it to keep anything alive. But fingers crossed!

LilacBreastedRoller Mon 06-May-13 18:08:47

Making notes... <eyes own dusty strip>.

SleepyCatOnTheMat Tue 14-May-13 19:23:37

An article in an interiors magazine I've just read made think of this thread. It featured a garden in which the owner, fed up of her leylandii, had them cut down and replaced with a laurel hedge. She hired a company that delivered the fully-grown hedge in sections on the back of a lorry and planted it for her.

BeanoNoir Tue 14-May-13 19:27:16

I cut of all the branches up to the fence height, so it's like a tree branch growing up then the bush bit on top. Then put loads and loads of compost on the soil. Now I've got shrubs and flowers growing at the base of them. Moving house now but if I was staying I'd put more trellis up on the fence and encourage rambling climbers up the fence and hopefully beginning to grow over the offending trees. Might not be to everyone's taste but it was a very cheap option that worked for us.

OrmirianResurgam Tue 14-May-13 19:29:47

No!!!!! FUCKING HATE cypress of all kinds! I think the previous owners were planning a cemetery. Have taken out 5 already and / am eyeing up the last 2.

HTH grin

LittleAbruzzenBear Tue 14-May-13 19:31:48

In the 'dark part' of our garden, we have hundreds of bluebells at the moment and they look lovely.

linspins Thu 23-May-13 17:11:42

Sleepycat - I love the idea of a laurel hedge, though I'm not sure it would be high enough for our needs without being too wide. I wonder how thin a hedge you can get - any idea who the company was?
Ormirian, I hate them too. Loads. But they are a necessary evil here, sadly.
BeanoNoir, I've seen someone do that too, cut off branches up to a certain height. Our problem is that we don't have a fence behind it, just a narrow public footpath then ugly housing. I did have a dream the other night that we cut them all down and replaced with a fence and tall bamboo...bizarre dream!

SleepyCatOnTheMat Sat 25-May-13 12:48:08

It didn't say in the article which company she used but I've seen an advert in a gardening magazine for a company that does it called Practicality Brown.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sat 25-May-13 13:07:14

I have a leylandi hedge screening us from the road. We're on a hill so there's a stone retaining wall behind on our side and the leylandi ar road level on the pavement . The stone wall has made it a kind of raised bed and the soil is rubbish. It has taken years but I now have got things to establish. I always dig a hole and fill with compost and each plant does take a long time to establish.

At the moment there's a photinia and rosemary, both growing away from the hedge, a hebe, lots of bluebells, euphorbia, ajuga, a few tulips, iberis, violas, a small daisy type thing (erysium or something ?) and erigon (again, that's an I think) oh and campanula does well and there is honeysuckle in the hedge and there were primroses last month plus a bit of saxifrage lurking.

Maybe dig a border in front, add as much rotted garden compost as you can and do it that way ? I'm doing that in the back and have recently planted a Fatsia Japonica, have a climbing rose cutting and hypericum establishing on a piece of trellis from last year, more primroses, aquilegia, lily of the valley and more euphorbia plus a bit of Heuchura. A dwarf lilac Syringia Josee is going in this weekend and I'm going to try another rose plus some catmint and cosmos . I'm lucky that I've got a bin of garden compost I can use.

linspins Sat 25-May-13 17:47:16

Wynken, your garden sounds lovely!

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