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Plants and flowers for a North/north east facing garden

(10 Posts)
DriveMeToTennessee Mon 30-May-16 10:37:50

We are currently doing our garden, it's small, north/ north east facing and was totally covered in decking. We are getting rid of the decking and are going to lay a small lawn with bark and gravel pathways around the perimeter and a small triangular decked area (painted purple 🙂) in the north east corner of the garden. We won't have space for lots of plants and I'm not very good at keeping them alive but I want to make it as colourful as possible outside for the DC. I'm painting the furniture, adding other bits of colourful decoration but can anyone suggest some plants and flowers for pots, wall planters or hanging baskets that will do well in quite a shady garden? There's a bit of sun in the morning but shady most of the day.

TIA if you can help!

Ferguson Mon 30-May-16 19:56:17

Cosmos are quick and colourful; Heuchera in many colours, and virtually present all year round:

Also Fuchsia:

shovetheholly Tue 31-May-16 08:35:32

I made a thread about shade gardens here:

shovetheholly Tue 31-May-16 08:36:44

Oops, posted too soon, sorry! Meant to add: make sure you get turf that is suitable for shady conditions. Lawns can be a bit of a pain to establish because grass tends to like sun.

DriveMeToTennessee Tue 31-May-16 11:13:26

Oh thank you for your suggestions, and for the link to your thread shovetheholly, I will look closely at that.

Good point about the turf- I've mentioned this to DH as knowing him he would just buy the cheapest turf going with about 3 blades of grass in it! 😄

shovetheholly Tue 31-May-16 11:31:06

No problem - another thing: it's much harder to keep plants alive in pots than in the ground (so easy to forget watering, and lots of shade plants tend to like it quite wet). So do think about a border. I know it means a bit of weeding, but in a smallish space that will hopefully not be too onerous and you can do activities with the kids, like growing runner beans or rhubarb (the former tolerate a bit of shade, the latter positively enjoys it).

Also, some herbs are shade-loving. Mint would be one. Put that in a pot though or it'll spread everywhere and you will be cursing! Sweet cicely likes shade, as does angelica (awesome great umbelliferous thing), and chives. I've also had success growing sage in shade, as well as sanguisorba (a kind of edible salad burnet with the most beautiful flowers).

DriveMeToTennessee Tue 31-May-16 16:05:05

shovetheholly thank you so much for your advice.

What are your tips for keeping plants going well in pots? Unfortunately I've not really room for borders alongside the gravel pathways etc- I will probably only have room for a couple of pots of my own, as well as a couple for my kids (I'm doing a little pot fairy garden for my DD and a dinosaur garden for my DS) and maybe some hanging baskets too... What's the key to keeping alive and looking good?

shovetheholly Tue 31-May-16 17:12:44

That's a really good question. I guess the five star treatment would be:

- buy nice, large pots - or trugs (I have great success with these and they are way cheaper than pots of an equivalent size and would give you the colour you want. I drill holes in the bottom with an electric drill)
- buy absolutely huge pots if you want to do anything like a tree or a big climber
- make sure the pots are properly drained (you may need to drill extra holes in some - I don't know why, but some manufacturers just don't have nearly enough)
- use crocks (broken pots or bits of polystyrene) to improve the drainage at the bottom of the pot
- use a decent quality compost, with liquid water retention granules if you're in a dry area. But be aware that different plants need different conditions: acid-loving plants (rhodos, camellias) need ericaceous compost, alpines like grit to be added. This sounds complicated but you just read up what each one needs before you buy it! You will soon get the hang!
- water regularly (most summer days if it doesn't rain) in the evening. Hanging baskets are very, very exposed to drying winds in hotter parts of the country and may need more frequent watering if you are in the south east.
- Bog plants may need a saucer to stop them drying out, but using a saucer with other plants may lead to them standing in water all the time, which causes rot. So generally, skip outside saucers.
- feed once a fortnight in the growing season (from April to September, roughly)
- repot or divide in spring! As plants grow and fill the pot, they'll need the next one up. Leaving them in will lead to all kinds of problems as roots wind round and round, taking up all the space.

shovetheholly Tue 31-May-16 17:13:58

Also, Poundstretcher currently have plastic lightbulbs that are solar powered and light up at night. They come in really bright colours. Maybe you could add some of those to your multicoloured fairyland. They're about 80p each!

DriveMeToTennessee Tue 31-May-16 22:04:20

Thank you so much for all those tips shovetheholly, really, really appreciate it!

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