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Advice re shrubs to plant in heavy shade & moist clay soil please

(27 Posts)
NomDePlume Fri 24-Sep-04 09:24:34

Pleased to see this new topic has appeared

I've got a strip of soil underneath my front window, which borders onto my front lawn, I'd like to plant something in this border which is pretty easy to keep but colourful. As the front of my house is north facing the border never really dries as the house is almost always casting a shadow over the front.

Mine is a new house (1998) and as a result the soil is pretty dodgy quality, heavy clay and then 7 inches down you hit builders rubble ! I'm aware that I'll have to mix top soil / compost into the exisiting soil to give my planting a chance but I'm pretty stumped as to what to grow there.

I'd like something colourful, easy to look after (pruning etc once or twice a year is fine), with a shrubby habit and a max height of around 3ft, so's not to obscure my window.

I've had a degree of success in my back garden with growing things in the poor soil, but I have the advantage of the back being south facing.

Please help !

cab Fri 24-Sep-04 09:36:33

Hardy fuschias?

Issymum Fri 24-Sep-04 09:37:18

I can't advise on the best plant, but have you tried the Crocus web site's plant search function - just put in the soil type etc. and it should come up with a suitable plant. Sometimes it draws a blank if you put in too many parameters.

plant search

I've actually bought lots of plants from this website and they've been very good - prompt service, well-packaged, good plants.

JuniperDewdrop Fri 24-Sep-04 09:40:58

What about using pots?

I have a few plants in my shady clay side (shrubs) but I wouldn't say they were colourful.

NomDePlume Fri 24-Sep-04 09:42:15

Thanks .

I do like fuschias.....

Issymum, thans for that website. I'll check it out later when I've a bit more time on my hands. Just off out to prep the ground for my french lavender.

NomDePlume Fri 24-Sep-04 09:43:34

I had thought of pots, but they are quite hard work aren't they ?

cab Fri 24-Sep-04 09:59:02

Just looking out in the garden I've got a celmisia in a pot that I haven't watered for 5 years. (But I am in Scotland) Hate the daisy-like flowers but the silvery green spiky leaves are lovely. Had it in full shade for a few years and it did fine.

eefs Fri 24-Sep-04 10:02:51

Oh, i have the exact same problem, thanks for posting NDP. I've always hankered after a cottage garden effect, but so far have only found a few plants that will survive and thrive in the clay soil.
So far I've found: Narstishiums (no idea how to spell that) seem to grow very well, my lavander plant is doing well and the fuschias I planted two years ago are still going strong.

NomDePlume Fri 24-Sep-04 10:03:54

Hmmm, that sounds interesting.

My front garden consists of green lawn, some green shrubby thing which is quite nice but I can't remember the name, big tree with red berries and brown bark, so not v colourful at all .

NomDePlume Fri 24-Sep-04 10:05:55

I wanted to plant my french lavender in the space, that's what I bought it for originally. But having read the card when I got home, I realised that it quite likes sun, bugger. So it's now going to make a scented lavender hedge running alonside my new raised herb bed.

NomDePlume Fri 24-Sep-04 10:14:36

The name of that damn shrub is going to bug me now. I know it.... The plant has dark green, glossy leaves like a rhodedendron (sp) but has white/creamy 'flowers' that look like candles/brushes on it at the mo... Sure it begins with an 'L'

NomDePlume Fri 24-Sep-04 10:15:20

LAUREL ! That's it.

Mn, just died for a second

JuniperDewdrop Fri 24-Sep-04 10:18:03

I know it was panick stations!!!

NDP, pots are really easy. I always forget to water mine and with shrubs as long as you look after them in the beginning they can take some neglect. In fact I have some pots that I rarely water. You could always plant some lavender and see how it does? Our lavender is in partial shade and it's lovely

Avalon Fri 24-Sep-04 10:18:44

NDP - some thoughts -

Chaenomeles - also known as Japanese Quince. Flowers in the spring and fruits in the autumn. Best in full sun but will do ok in shade.

Skimmia japonica. Evergreen. If you get Rubella you get great fat flower buds (it's male) and Foremanii gives you bunches of berries. Plant male and female to get berries. It likes acid soil but I find I can get away with planting in normal soil and using sequestered iron occasionally (mix a powder with water).

Vinca - Periwinkle - for evergreen ground cover. Usually blue flowers, can get white flowers and variegated leaves.

Mahonia aquifolium - Oregon grape - evergreen, with yellow flowers in March/April.

Otherwise you could just put out bedding begonias or impatiens (busy lizzies), I think the Guinee (sp) impatiens don't mind shade.

JuniperDewdrop Fri 24-Sep-04 10:18:52

I did mean panic. Blimey my spelling is atrocious at the mo. DS1 asked me how to spell piece the other day and I said peice

cab Fri 24-Sep-04 10:21:38

ndp I would give the lavender a go - these labels are just for optimum growth conditions. Lavenders aren't usually that fussy.
Some other more boring ideas that might work - potentilla, quince and choisya.

NomDePlume Fri 24-Sep-04 10:23:18

Wow Avalon, you sound like you know your stuff . I'll keep my eyes peeled for those when I'm next at the garden centre.

NomDePlume Fri 24-Sep-04 10:27:15

Cab, re lavenders being hardy. That's what I thought, but TBH, it quite like the thought of them near my herbs now.

Also, is there a chace it will deter my cat from using the new herb bed as his own personal loo . Will the lavender have a strong enough smell to put him off ?! We have mint (planted in buried pots) in the bed and he doesn't do it at that end, little scrote...

NomDePlume Fri 24-Sep-04 10:28:19

In fact I may start anither gardening thread with that question.

cab Fri 24-Sep-04 10:32:13

Sorry ndp the lavender in my mum's garden has been hammered by a cat this year - but think it's been dive-bombing birds on it from the tree above so might not be normal .
Talking of birds - they're having a field day in the garden just now - the blackbirds (incredibly bloated from eating the fallen apples I think are having a major war with the wagtails).
You could put in a sacrificial cat mint .

cab Fri 24-Sep-04 10:33:32

duh - you obviously have!

NomDePlume Fri 24-Sep-04 10:33:44

Won't cat mint send him bonkers ?? I've made another thread on this.

cab Fri 24-Sep-04 10:34:41

Oh and not all lavenders are hardy - sorry.

cab Fri 24-Sep-04 10:35:43

Absolutely npd but he might leave the other plants alone

NomDePlume Fri 24-Sep-04 10:37:52

I may have to make a little 'addicts corner' for him !

Argggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh, I should be out in the garden, not on here talking about it !

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