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Heavy Clay Shade Plants please

(25 Posts)
BengalCatMum Thu 21-Jul-16 16:11:50

Feels like the most impossible garden challenge ever.

Any ideas for plants for full shade, heavy clay for on a bank under a large tree?

Thanks flowers

GreenSand Thu 21-Jul-16 18:58:34

Crocus let's you filter by soil and shade. Anything take your fancy??

BengalCatMum Thu 21-Jul-16 19:43:27

I do like the ferns, Bergenia, Tiarella evergreen low maintenance plants and coloured Ivys on crocus. But need something special too.

On crocus can see there is Trillium and Erythronium but never grown them, let alone in clay shade.

Tbh have never grown anything well in sun clay and pretty much nothing in clay shade. I have just moved into bfs house so have new challenge.

BengalCatMum Thu 21-Jul-16 19:44:37

I like Libertia grandiflora but not sure if thats reliably clay shade.

BengalCatMum Thu 21-Jul-16 19:45:57

Liriopes and hostas are nice on crocus too.

Do you chop back hostas?

Beaverlac Thu 21-Jul-16 19:51:37

Euonymous 'Emerald Gaiety'? Lightens up darker areas, and grows in all sorts of difficult places for me, on heavy clay. Great with ferns. Other euonymous too. Christmas box should do well too. Perhaps a rhododendron? The clay should hold the moisture for them, and they like shade. Pulmonaria?

BengalCatMum Thu 21-Jul-16 20:15:41

Ooo thankyou, yes I like Euonymous, it looks great.

Rhododendron seems to much work and clumpy to me; but if everything is failing I will put on 'B list'.

Oh yes Christmas box looks nice too grin

Pulmonaria never tried but looks like it might be nice if I got right variety

Deux Thu 21-Jul-16 20:23:00

I have a north facing border in heavy clay. This is what is planted there and thriving.

Photinia, Holly, euonymus, lace cap hydrangea, box, acer, mahonia, heuchera, ferns, mature pear tree, campanula, peony.

Heucheras are good as they come in a variety of colours.

Deux Thu 21-Jul-16 20:24:36

Oh and camelia. I did have hostas but the slugs got them so they're now in pots.

BengalCatMum Thu 21-Jul-16 20:28:56

Ooo wow, thanks Deux grin

BengalCatMum Thu 21-Jul-16 20:34:09

Wow yes I love the Photinia,

does the lace cap change colour in different soil pH?

Heuchera is great love it

When you say pear tree, in full shade clay? wow grin is it edible to eat, fruits?

BengalCatMum Thu 21-Jul-16 20:35:49

Did just find this page on internet:

Its a list of clay shade plants

BengalCatMum Thu 21-Jul-16 20:39:32

It has Aconitum, but is that not poisionious?

I like Ajuga

Also has astrantia, aquilega, campanula, lamium, hosta, persicaria, but I don't know how to care for these decidious perennials, do you cut in autumn or spring?

BengalCatMum Thu 21-Jul-16 20:44:21

Oh wow, that link also says VERONICA gentianoides x intermedia, which is lovely white tall things.

Beaverlac Thu 21-Jul-16 20:47:27

Perhaps astilbes, of the pulmonarias Majeste and Opal are effective, and a white one, Sissinghurst. Rubra is pretty, but goes mad. Geranium nodosum would certainly grow, and is pretty, but seeds madly.

MewlingQuim Thu 21-Jul-16 20:49:47

I have a border on full shade on clay soil. Growing happily in it is euonymus, viburnum, garrya, holly, carex, alchemila, hellebores, heuchera, box, ribes, ferns (athyrium and polypodium), clematis and honeysuckle.

What sort of tree is your border under? If it is a deciduous tree you will have more choice than if is a conifer. Lots of woodland plants will thrive under deciduous trees but Conifers make the soil awfully dry so it is not just shade you will be dealing with.

Work out what pH your soil is before you think about acid loving plants like rhododendrons (and trilliums?). If your soil is too alkaline they will always be yellow and sickly.

Autocorrect tried to turn soil to soul there. Twice. Despite my phone's efforts, I don't feel I can give any advice about your soul, OP, sorry grin

Haggisfish Thu 21-Jul-16 20:50:27

Aconitum very toxic_mil nearly killed herself weeding it out!! Jasmine does well in ours.

Beaverlac Thu 21-Jul-16 20:51:01

Aconitum is poisonous, but depends if children will handle it. 'Ivorine' would be lovely in a darker area. Lots of plants are poisonous, but I've got several aconitums and had no problems.

Overated Thu 21-Jul-16 20:52:06

Most of the perennial geraniums seem to thrive anywhere, some are better suited to shade eg.

BengalCatMum Thu 21-Jul-16 21:05:04

Think we will avoid Aconitum then. Bfs grandad loves gardening without us asking so we definately couldn't have anything seriously dangerous like that.

Tree is decidious but large and quite a few different ones on the bank.

Love the geraniums, and never knew carex could do shade clay. If so that is exciting.

Viburnum looks really great. Garyya looks mystical too.

Maybe like the white woodland garden theme is appearing here

LegoCaltrops Thu 21-Jul-16 21:08:50

I have a north-facing, high walled, heavy clay front garden (5 feet of dirt). A heuchera & 3 astilbe (astilbes?) have done very well. Also daffodils. I'm off to read those links for other ideas.

StickTheDMWhereTheSunDontShine Thu 21-Jul-16 21:10:30

The one thing that has not died on is in the shadier parts of our property is Ribes sanguineum. It's a pretty substantial bush, though - we planted it at the front as a hedge - north side of house, all of 9' from our house - after we had a winter that killed off everything else in the back garden, after we moved in. The only other thing surviving at the front of our terrace is a hawthorn hedge, but that house is set further back. dandelions don't do too bad, either

Sometimes we raise planters at the back of the house then move them to the shady side while they're looking good - we get a bit of evening sun in the middle of summer which seems to help keep them going for a bit)

Something else to consider is making the most of the tree not being in full leaf until well into April and planting some early flowering bulbs under it. Also noticed campanula in your link above - they do grow rampant in a semi-shady, neglected spot where a house has been demolished, down the road, along with seemingly wild geraniums (the ones Beaverlac mentioned, in fact). They're really pretty and I've seen people stop to take cuttings.

If you can improve the soil on the edges of the shady area, these are quite stunning - we have one next to a tall fence in the back garden, where it loses direct sun at about 2pm

We also now have a mahonia at the end of that border which is on the north side of another, less tall fence, so benefits form less sun and so far so good - again, like with the dicentra, we dug in loads of compost to lighten up the soil.

BengalCatMum Thu 21-Jul-16 21:35:43

Wow thanks everyone, flowers grin

I love the sound of this campanula geranium wild garden; do you think I can plant the spring bulbs in the same place or do you think they should be seperate?

Deux Fri 22-Jul-16 16:09:23

Regarding our pear tree. It was already here when we moved in 12 years ago and yes, it does produce the sweetest William pears. We don't get that many though as lots drop off when they are small. Our neighbours' conifers are planted behind (awful things). If they weren't there I think it would be more productive.

Some great ideas I'm going to research too.

Deux Fri 22-Jul-16 16:11:15

Oh and the lace cap hydrangea is white which brightens up the greenery.

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