Empty borders - what can I plant, and when?(8 Posts)
I've just had my front garden ripped up creating a hard standing driveway with borders 60cm-1m wide on each side. It looks horrible and sparse right now and I'm desperate to start planting.
Mostly I want some low maintenance evergreen shrubs that will establish quickly and including some with a bit of height. Can I plant at this time of year?
Forgot to mention we are in London so frosts few and far between, and it's north facing.
Do the beds get much overhead light or are they in the shadow of a wall or fence?
I planted my long, narrow north-facing bed in Herts this year with:
Skimmia, fatsia japonica, spotted laurel, euonymus, hellebores, heuchera (purple leaf), miniature fern, cyclamen and primula vulgaris (these were self seeded so I split them and distributed).
Everything has taken really well. I think they're all suited to north-facing beds but someone may correct me
I'd recommend using a mixture of light, dark, variegated and golden greens, combining architectural shapes such as the fatsia japonica with bursts of colour at ground level (cyclamen and primula - you may get away with other bedding plants if the light is sufficient).
I thought I'd read on other threads that you can get away with planting in November as long as the ground isn't frozen or waterlogged. I don't know if it's ideal though. Maybe the plants need longer to establish their roots before the first frosts.
Like others I find the RHS website invaluable for cross-referencing. The plant fact sheets are excellent and tell you which aspect is best suited.
Does anyone know whether you can get away with planting tulip bulbs in north-facing beds?
If so that could be an option between the shrubs and you would have a nice spring display.
Thank you that has given me lots of food for thought!
The beds get early morning sun particularly in summer but are in shade from the house most of the day.
It sounds similar to my bed, categorised here
We can get away with plants suited to partial shade which definitely opens up options. Being in the SE also helps
I forgot to mention climbers. I have a golden variegated ivy and a star jasmine (trachelospermum jasminoides) - both evergreen - going up the fence. Several varieties of clematis thrive in shady, sheltered conditions www.britishclematis.org.uk/qa_habitat.htm#NorthWall
You could grow them up an obelisk if you lack structures. Bear in mind most are deciduous and will lose leaves in winter.
My idea for next year is to buy at least one wooden trellis-style obelisk and paint it a pretty, muted garden shade - maybe soft lilac or sage. I'd like to grow a summer flowering clematis up it, or honeysuckle - instant height in the flowerbed!
The idea being that it would lend a bit of colour and texture (nestled amongst the evergreen shrubs) in the winter once the clematis has been pruned back. As you can tell further research is required!
If you can mix compost, sterilized manure or leaf mould into the soil it should make it more acceptable to roots, especially if they are container grown, and not bare rooted.
Yes, hellebores are good, also pulmonaria that come in pink/blue, white, or dark blue, with spotted or silver leaves and are very tough:
Bulbs planted now might catch up for spring, and you may get them at discount prices as garden centres try to get rid of them - haggle over the price to get it down, if you are bold enough!
if you don't get much light, perhaps look at heucherella, heuchera and tiarella? These are pretty shade loving (depending on the type). I found a late Dutch honeysuckle that is happy in shade plus lily in the valley is shade loving (although poisonous).
Foxgloves can be lovely (also poisonous).
I have just suggested garden on a roll on another thread (they are not paying me commission, honest!) and it looks like it might be an option for you here:
Garden on a Roll
You would have to hold out until Easter though, I think, to get them in during decent weather.
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