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What to plant under hedge

I am quite an inexperienced gardener, and am only in last couple of years trying to revive our much neglected garden.  One area which is an eyesore is the area under hedge down the side of our driveway (not sure what it is... evergreen... might be some type of laurel).  It is N/NE facing, has a small dry stone wall (about a foot hight) with hedging above that.  As we live on a hill, our neighbour's front garden is raised a couple of feet from our own.  For a few weeks every year it had always looked quite attractive as there were white flowers growing out on some sort of grass.  However, year on year it has become unsightly.  Ivy and other weeds has also taken hold and the plants have been 'pushed' out so they encroached on the driveway.  We had also been getting four cornered leek which seems to have invaded our neighbourhood in general.  As a result I have decided to pull everything out.  No mean feat... and I've only done about two metres so far (about 20 more to go).  There's a nice little 'bank' now with an attractive little wall below.  However, it gets limited sun (some in early afternoon) - the earth left is spongy with remnants of roots.  I had grown some aubretia from seed, which I am putting in with a little compost as I go along.  However, now I'm worried that this won't flower as there won't be enough light.  Now looking for suggestions for year round interest here.  I live in Northern Ireland.  Many thanks.


  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    Photo is always helpful.

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530
    edited June 2018
    If you post some pictures of your hedge we can probably identify it for you.  A picture of the whole plant and a closeup of the leaves, and flowers if any.  I have the same situation- a north facing boundary hedge alongside a drive, with a narrow border in between. Though I don't have the wall like yours. It's a difficult location because of the shortage of light - for most of its length, the house casts its shadow from the other side of the drive.  Also the hedge sucks most of the water and nutrients out of the soil.

    Are there neighbours on the other side of the hedge, and is it growing on your land or theirs?  If it's on theirs, you will need their permission to cut it any lower.  If it's on yours, you can do what you like with it but it would be courteous to consult the neighbours.

    Plants that flourish beside my hedge are buddleia, fatsia japonica, fuchsia, London pride and foxgloves.  Have a look at other people's gardens and see what grows well beside their hedges. If you can improve the soil with manure or compost before planting, so much the better.
  • Kathy9Kathy9 Posts: 8
    Ah brilliant.  I will post some tomorrow as off out shortly, but this all sounds good.  It is only a small space so I don't think I could fit anything big or deep rooted... but as you say a photo would help you guys so will post v soon.  Looking again, I don't think it is laurel, but not sure. 

  • Kathy9Kathy9 Posts: 8
    I'll attach some photos here...  I've planted some aubretia in the patch I've cleared, but not sure if I should bother putting any more in as I clear more.  Looking for any other suggestions.  Many thanks.
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    I think more robust plants will be better suited there. Without knowing what moisture levels your bank will go through throughout the year, I'll assume wet in the winter to spring and relatively dry in the summer months and Semi shaded 

    Alchemilla Mollis and Geranium Phaeum that come in a number of colours are good partners. You can break it up and create more different textures with Bergenia Cordifolia. 
  • Kathy9Kathy9 Posts: 8
    Oh, thank you!  I think it gets limited moisture, but this might change now I've cut it back.  I've just had a look at these online, and I really like that combination!  Many thanks. 

  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,450
    I have Snow-In-Summer (Cerastium tomentosum) growing in the base of my East-facing privet hedge where nothing much else will grow.  It's supposed to like full sun but for me it's far too much of a thug anywhere else but thrives and looks nice most of the year under the privet.  I cut it back hard (to the ground) every year in June after it finished flowering, so it's pretty much bare soil right now but it'll be back with fresh silver foliage as soon as we get a bit of rain (or maybe even before).
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Kathy9Kathy9 Posts: 8
    Thank you Jenny!  I will try some and see how it does there.  It's a long stretch of hedging so I can try a bit of everything suggested here and see.  
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,450
    If the snow-in-summer likes it there, it'll probably spread along the whole length in a few years so you might need to do a bit of "refereeing" to stop it from swamping your other plants.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Kathy9Kathy9 Posts: 8
    Hmm, can't seem to find a supplier on line that have any in stock at the moment....  May need to sow my own as not sure if local nurseries will have any... but will look. 
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