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Plants for awkward corners

Hello, just tried to do some bits in the garden but weather defeated me, so I am thinking about the garden instead. Does anybody have any planting suggestions for these two awkward corners please? The first is under a sycamore tree, it is the sunniest space in the garden-I’ve had success with honesty and bluebells here but hellebores died:


Wanted to put a dog rose by barrel, hoping it will climb up tree, love the look of wildflowers or grasses-any ideas?

And in the other corner (where not even weeds grow) I was going to put a bird bath but would like something evergreen and bushy to hide the fence-it is south/west facing...


Thank you!



  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,157

    Hello, Firstly I would get the sycamore tree cut down - it looks too close to your conservatory/house and could potentially damage the foundations.  Ideally the roots should be removed as much as possible but this may be too big a job. You would then have much more options for replanting, after digging in lots of manure/lead mould to improve the soil first.

    The second corner could be improved by trying some of the existing climbers horizontally as low down as possible across the fence - you should get more blooms this way. Is it a honeysuckle or clematis on the left and a kerria japonica on the right?  You might then like to try a choisa ternata which is an evergreen small shrub with scented white flowers in batches throughout the summer. Give it some room (2=3 ft) behind it so it has some room to spread and again improve the soil. Don't go for the yellow version as it doesn't like too much sun.

    Hope this gives you some ideas.

    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • Thanks so much Lizzie-it is a honeysuckle on the left and lycesteria formosa on the right, both of which I love but neither give me much in the winter... I do love the choisa, we have one of those elsewhere in the garden, such a gorgeous smell in bloom.

    the sycamore is next to our wee greenhouse so no danger the the actual house but I suppose it may affect the foundations of the green at some point. I’d hate to do away with it as we are very overlooked and it gives us a lot of privacy in summer.

    thank you very much!

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,699

    The base of the tree can be quite dry, so you need plants more adapted to wide conditions. Provided it is in the sun and the canopy is quite high, Panicum Virgatum, Switch Grass should be able to cope. Ox-Eye Daisy, Leucanthemum Vulgare, Nepeta, Catmint and Pimpernella Major Rosea should do fine. You can plant cyclamens for the autumn winter display and keep the blue bells for spring. 

    On the south west corner, what about Caenothus, Californian Lilac. There are many types but Concha, one of the most widely available shrub will not disappoint if it is planted by a warm wall. Blue flowers for long periods from later spring into summer and dark glossy leaves throughout the year. Soil must be well prepared if you have heavy soil, but once settled in, they will perform.

  • Thank you borderline-have to say I don’t know most of those plants you suggest for the tree so will get googling.  I have a ceanothus on a south facing wall at the front, got it from Lidl last year and it has almost tripled in size-love it!  Great suggestion, thank you.

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,157

    So much choice, so many decisions, that's the great joy of gardening!

    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • Very true! ?

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,699

    Your south west corner border is a perfect spot for many shrubs. It's all about shape and form, types of foliage etc. Not sure when you took those photos, but if it's now, your soil appears to be quite free draining for this time of year? Just working out your soil conditions.  If you have free draining soil and you don't have massively cold winters, Rhamnus Alaternus the Italian Buckthorn will enjoy those conditions. The variatgated version is one of the best forms, and the shrub responds well to formal shaping and loose shaping. Flowers followed by berries, one of my favourite shrubs.

    After hearing about your mention of Lidl, I saw a really special shrub at only £2 today in Morrisons. Responding to milder weathers, they are starting to stock some shrubs that have proven themselves in the UK over the last 10 years. They are now stocking Loropetalum Chinensis Firedance. Usually, this shrub will cost £15 for double its size, but smaller shrubs can become big quite fast, so a bargain in my view. Sweet winter flowers that is so striking against dark red ever green foliage. 

    My other recommendation has to be Sarcococca Confusa, another winter flowering shrub that is scented in the winter time. A great all-round shrub that is again great in an informal setting or shaped to form a hedge. This shrub is more suitable in moist soils, but again can cope in drier soils too.

    Last edited: 17 January 2018 17:49:53

  • Oh wow, just googled the loropetalum chinensis firedance-it is stunning! That would look beautiful next to the leycesteria. Like the other options too, although we are up in Scotland so it can get pretty cold. Thank you for the ideas, might head to Morrisons tomorrow...

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,699

    If you are in Scotland, a young shrub like Loropetalum Chinense is best kept in a pot for the first year until it is a lot larger to plant out. You may need to use fleece to protect it in extreme frost. Like most shrubs, once they establish, settle down and mature, they tend to be hardier.

    Last edited: 18 January 2018 17:56:56

  • if I kept it in a pot I could even move it to the cold greenhouse for winter then plant out once bigger. Thanks!

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