Forum home Problem solving

Some plant advice please

Hello all you great gardeners out there! 

I haven’t posted on here for a while as we moved house last year and I’m just getting to grips with the garden-too many indoor jobs I’m afraid!

My problem is that in the front garden I have several trees and one dead Magnolia Stellata (a plant I really like) but I think that the site is too exposed for it being that there are fields on two sides and being in the East Midlands it’s pretty windy here. I would really like to plant another Magnolia Stellata where the old one has died as I’m not sure that the dead one was planted with any care (someone else did it for me but I didn’t see if any roots were lifted with the old plant!) Do you think I should have another go with a new plant or can anyone suggest something low growing preferably evergreen if possible but not essential?


  • I meant to sent this photo to show part of the front garden. Would really appreciate some advice please.image

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    If you really like this shrub, you can give it a go again, but make sure you check on the soil conditions to give it the best start. Magnolias prefer neutral to acidic soil. If your soil is more alkaline, you will need to always dress the top layer with manure and and mulch every year. Also, think about the boundaries. From the picture, it looks quite opened up. This will not be ideal growing conditions for the shrub. Shelter it from harsh winds by planting taller shrubs on the right side, or, consider re-planting it more towards the boundary. 

  • Thanks for your advice Borderline. On reflection & as the site in question is quite exposed I think I won’t plant the Magnolia there as I really don’t want to lose it.

    I’ve searched the internet for a small hardy shrub but they normally say ”plant in sheltered site” so I think it’s back to the drawing board again! I’m sure there must be a shrub that would do well in that position but it’s just finding it-so my search goes on................

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    Patrevlil, If you type that in, you will get very conflicting and confusing results. What type of soil do you have there? Is it heavy and sticky most of winter and dry and cracked in the summer time?  Or is it very free draining and easy to dig? Just trying to find out more about your soil so you get better recommendations.

    Below are some garden-worthy plants that can do well in general all-round conditions:

    Choysia Ternata the mexican orange blossom is evergreen, quite easy to shape and prune and very forgiving. It flowers twice a year and has scent. There are mid green and pale green versions.

    Abelia Grandiflora, a semi vergreen shrub that doesn't get too tall and masses of pale pink flowers on slightly arching stems, and they are scented too.

    Berberis Sieboldii, a tough shrub that has year round interest. Pale yellow flowers and berries in autumn with orange to red colour, very easy to maintain. A shrub that stands out throughout the season.

    If you have acidic soil, Fothergilla Major has numerous bottle brush white flowers as the leaves form and has amazing colour in autumn. A shrub that maintains interest throughout the year.

    Last edited: 29 November 2017 17:25:31

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,982

    What exactly do you mean by 'low growing' too?

    Low growing for me would be something at around 2 feet or less. image

    Viburnums will take quite a bit of punishment and some are evergreen. Osmanthus too. If the soil isn't alkaline, Rhodies would be fine and will cope with almost anything too once established.

    Mahonias and Hollies (Ilex) will be fine in almost any situation.

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  •  Thanks again Borderline and also Fairygirl. The soil appears to be fairly free draining and quite easy to dig but unfortunately not acidic as I would love to plant a Rhododendron in the bed but obviously it wouldn’t do well there. 

    I was thinking something about a metre high if possible. I agree about Abelia Grandiflora as I have quite an old one planted on the other side of the garden which is magnificent and fortunately has survived some brutal pruning by someone! Choisya is worth thinking about I think and there seem to be quite a few different types available now.  Viburnums are excellent too but maybe a bit big for the bed I think.

    You‘ve both given me some good suggestions so I’ll have a think about those before I decide. I think in the meantime I’ll prepare the bed and leave to settle for a while before planting. 


  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,909

    There's a dwarf philadephus called 'Manteau d'Hermine' that grows to about 1m and doesn't mind it windy. Not evergreen but fabulous summer scent so maybe worth mixing in there somewhere. Lilacs cope with windy conditions, too.

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,982

    I have that Philadelphus (M d'Hermine) and it copes with my conditions no problem. I have one in a west-ish facing bed where it's also exposed to the prevailing wind and most of the rain, and one in a north facing bed which gets lots of 'weather' chucked at it. It's a lovely plant and needs very little attention.

    This is a small corner of one of them - nice little double flowers  image


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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Many thanks for all your advice and that particular Philadelphus looks a lovely plant. I’m not sure I’ll plant it in the space in the front garden but will definitely plant one or more in the back garden as it would be great to have the scent. I’ve been thinking about planting a Berberis as suggested by Borderline so just looking at different options now but it’s good to have different suggestions all gratefully received.

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    Good luck with your planting. Berberis suits in so many areas in a garden. I think there is a Berberis for every situation and style. In a front garden, as a specimen shrub, they definitely have a place. Sheltered or exposed, they will cope.

Sign In or Register to comment.