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bulbs/plants for VERY dry shade

(13 Posts)
mrsmayitstimetogo Sun 17-Sep-17 22:14:44

There's a huge planter at the end of our road. It's got too rather too many trees in it, and I think it probably sits on old tarmac (40 year old tarmac). It is VERY dry. Even weeds do badly in it - almost nothing grows there in the summer. A neighbour tried nigella and nasturtiums, but few grew.

We did better with bulbs earlier in the year - tulips and daffodils.

It would be lovely to get something beautiful there this year - any ideas?? Needs to be cheap, maintenance free, and not the sort of thing that rubbish clings to!

BartiDdu Mon 18-Sep-17 12:02:50

I think the problem may be the trees, which will drain any moisture away. Are the trees conifers, or something else? It's difficult to grow anything under a conifer, but there are some plants that can cope with growing under/near other trees. You could try googling "plants that grow under trees", if you haven't already done so.

This time of the year, you can try growing cyclamen, which should be ok and you can usually buy these cheaply in garden centres. Anemones may work too, but basically you are looking for plants that flower in winter/spring, while the trees are dormant.

abitoflight Mon 18-Sep-17 12:16:01

Euphorbia robbinae - woodland splurge will grow. Can become a bit invasive but I quite liked it spreading under my conifers and wouldn't have been hard to deal with tbh
Japanese anemones- white flowers now - they spread too and seen some borders taken over by them but not hard to get them out

aircooled Mon 18-Sep-17 13:44:21

Liriope muscari (blue lilyturf) might survive. It has unusual purple flower spikes this time of year.

mrsmayitstimetogo Fri 22-Sep-17 22:11:14

Thank you! Yes, spring-flowering stuff has been best so far - early bulbs were lovely. Trees aren't conifers - I think (haven't ever looked very carefully!) there's maybe a maple, and possibly an ash? It's not a big bed, perhaps 12 by 30 foot; still has I think 4 large trees and until not long ago had 7.

Any really cheap sources of Japanese anemones and the blue lilyturf? I'm not sure anemones wd make it (it's SO dry) but I've seen the other in equally unpromising beds!

Cyclamen I think might get nicked... also not quite big enough for the space, and would be dwarfed by litter...

sunnyhills Sat 23-Sep-17 20:32:52

I have lamium and forget me knots in my dry shade .

Choisya - mexican orange blossom ?

Bizzie lizzies did quite well this summer .

Some hardy geraniums will cope with dry shade .

MrsBertBibby Sun 24-Sep-17 14:43:27

How about pulmonaria? Lovely early flowers, and gorgeous spotted silver green leaves. It's a wildflower so pretty tough too.

Liara Sun 24-Sep-17 21:30:55

I have a shady dry spot in my garden where I have tried every one of the plants listed above and they have all died.

What has survived though, is periwinkles (vinca minor), violets, one or two heucheras (others died), and hardy geraniums. I have bulbs coming through in the spring too.

Liara Sun 24-Sep-17 21:32:15

I should probably clarify though that I am in southern europe and this year so far we have had 6 months without a drop of rain - so I am talking very, very dry (it's somewhere where I can't really water well)

WellTidy Mon 25-Sep-17 13:35:03

I have an enormous weeping ash in my garden and the area underneath that is dry shade. I have heucheras in it which do really well and also cornus alba. Everything else that I've had does really poorly.

mrsmayitstimetogo Tue 26-Sep-17 12:32:15

Liara - I was thinking, as I read those suggestions, that they'd all die! Lovely ideas, but it's SO unfavoured. Big road; litter; rubbish (never fertilised) soil; trees; lack of water - awful!
Periwinkles might well do. Heuchera - do you know which lived? Bulbs are rather lovely in it (a happy surprise!); it's what follows them that is problematic.
Cornus alba - that's the variegated one, right? we have it in our garden and I love it, but I think we need littler stuff (litter; anti-social behaviour-hiding-opportunities etc. etc.)

Liara Tue 26-Sep-17 20:12:27

The heucheras which survived were a purple one (probably palace purple) and a green one with red flowers (I think it's pluie du feu). I had several others with interestingly patterned leaves which didn't make it.

AndromedaPerseus Fri 06-Oct-17 22:40:41

If you know anyone who has Japanese anemones you can get new plants from them in spring/summer as they produce lots of new shoots which you can remove and plant just make sure you keep them well watered.

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