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Dwarf deciduos shrubs

AngieRAngieR Posts: 347

I got a bit over enthusiatic whilst lifing the canopy of the Heptacodium recently and to make matters worse, whilst I was weeding underneath yesterday (the reason for lifting as I couldn't really get in there) I managed to snap off yet another low branch!!  It now looks rather odd!


I plan to remove the rest of the Iris and box mound there but right now they are providing a little bit of shade for the Acer Garnet and the cyclamen planted behind them.  The area faces south east, is sunny with great soil, ideal position other than the fact if we get a terribly wet April/May it can remain flooded/waterlogged for a week or so.  I've lost many a plant here due to these conditions and what now survives has coped with the conditions over the past 3 years so tend to get a bit apprehensive about planting something else.


There are many spring bulbs in here that seem to cope with those conditions - snowdrops, fritillaria, daffodils and crocus. Some self sown primula vulgaris and a couple Primula japonica seedlings I moved there back in spring.  

Between the Heptacodium and the Physocarpus, there is a witchhazel (H. Jelena) which isn't doing too great and I doubt has long left in my garden.

Has anyone got a suggestion of dwarf deciduous shrub I can plant there that won't over crowd the Acer and cope with the aforementioned conditions.  My initial thought was to plant a largish Hosta that would cope with the sun and allow the bulbs to do their thing in spring.  I really am in two minds about what to do with this area and would like a suggestion or two to ponder over.

As usual, thanks in advance.


  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    There is a dwarf philadelphia which are really tough plants so that might do ok. Manteau d'Hermine although there may be others. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,348

    I have Manteau D'Hermine. The little double flowers are delightful. image

    However, I think unless you can get the drainage sorted, you might be better continuing with plants that are happy with wet feet, Angie. Hostas would certainly be fine, if you can keep the slugs at bay! 

    I'd suggest Ligularias  - but most of them get quite big. Acteas are the same.  Shrubs are more difficult - if they're wet for a week at their feet, it'll be difficult to keep them happy. 

    Some of the grasses might be better - Carexes for instance. I also have a grass which copes with drought and flooding, as it's suitable for estuary planting - Spartina. It makes a weeping mound of green/gold  about a meter or so tall. Hackenochloa would also be fine I reckon. Smaller but similar colour. They would both look good with your Acer colour. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,997

    How about the small deutzia - nikko, is it?

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,128

    How about something probably unique to your neighbouhood ; dwarf willows ?

    Salix nakamurana or Salix retusa . These are basically ground covering dwarf shrubs , very tough and completely impervious to wet soil ; in fact they'll thrive in it . Have a look on Google Images for these ; they are certainly different and will cast no shade on any bulbs you may have growing through them image.

  • AngieRAngieR Posts: 347

    Many thanks Hogweed - I have P. Manteau d'Hermine elsewhere in the garden and worth considering.  I may give cuttings a go and give it a try.

    Fairygirl, never heard of Spartina before, looked it up, yes that would probably do well there. So worth considering.  All the others you mention grow near this spot and do well, I had considered just filling the area out with Ligularia.  Having too much choice isn't always a good thing is it!!

    A deutzia would do well here Raisingirl, D. Strawberry Fields used to grow here before I moved it and it thrived.  I had completely forgotten about that until you mentioned Deutzia.

    PaulB3 - now I do like the look of those.  As luck would have it, I've just checked my local nursery's web site and they stock S. nakamurana.  If not this spot, I may have another which it would do well.  Watch this space!

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