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Tumbling flowers for wall

The_herpetologistThe_herpetologist West YorksPosts: 481
I have a lovely yorkstone wall at the bottom of my garden and would like to get that tumbling-mass-of-flowers look on it. I tried seeding it with Erigeron Karvinskianus and Saponaria Ocymoides (amongst others) but they don't seem to 'take'. The 'sprinkle and hope' approach doesn't seem to work. The only things I can get to grow are plants like sedum and houseleeks which, frankly, will grow anywhere and are not the look I want. Anyone done this before who can offer advice?

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  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,089
    Hi, are you going for an alpine rockery look?
  • Bright starBright star Wrea GreenPosts: 1,120
    Have you thought about buying seedlings or plug plants. I’ve just had a look at Sarah Ravens website and she has them as I’m sure others will too. Another option is to grow your own from seed, that’s what I am trying at the moment. They will look stunning on your lovely wall.
    Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.

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  • The_herpetologistThe_herpetologist West YorksPosts: 481
    I'm not sure of the difference between and alpine and rockery look, but was thinking of something like this:



    I guess it's easier when you have a bank of soil behind the wall - which of course I don't have. There is soil in the cracks and I've filled in some myself with topsoil. The soil / wall itself is very wet in winter and can get very dry in summer and even the sedum can suffer in the wet months. I haven't tried plugs but am a bit pessimistic. I'll have a look at campanula - don't think that was one of the varieties I sprinkled.
  • B3B3 Posts: 21,494
    There's that toadflax weed that grows out of walls. I like it and encourage it. A buddleia grew out of my chimney stack, but I wouldn't recommend it. There was also a broadleafed fern that grew out of my wall. I don't know what it's called. 
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • The_herpetologistThe_herpetologist West YorksPosts: 481
    Thanks B3. I like toadflax but it wouldn't give the tumbling mass look. As for the fern...Maidenhair Spleenwort?


  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 4,037
    I would try plug plants pushed into the cracks with as much soil as will go. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,089
    That does seem to be the best way, esp with things like fleabane. Could you put pots on the wall and hope things will self-seed downwards?
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,002
    If you have any soil clayey enough to make into balls you could add some seed or tiny rooted pieces to that and push it into cracks. Things like yellow fumitory and some of the tiny creeping campanulas such as C. Pulla and C. cochlearifolia  'Elizabeth Oliver' should work, as they won't need too much soil. C. muralis is heftier, but the name says it all!
    I have a south facing drystone retaining wall and Herb robert always seeds itself in there and looks very pretty - the leaves go redder if it gets dry, but it doesn't stop flowering.
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,557
    I suggest you adopt a mimic of the natural process. You need some pioneer species - your sedums for example - so you should get more of those than you actually want established this year. Then you can drop the seeds of the bigger ones that you want - erigeron, aubretia, spleenwort, etc in on top of or behind the pioneers, or plant little plugs with a blob of soil basically on top of the sedums, using them as a 'pocket' to stop the soil washing out again when it rains. That allows the new ones to get a foothold. Sedums are easy to weed out in a year or two once the erigeron and whatever have 'taken'.
    If you get one erigeron to grow, it will propogate itself very quickly. You just need to help it get started.
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
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