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Bullet proof plants?

Hi, I have a customer with a garden with awful soil. It has an area of damp, and an area that is very windy. She wants some larger plants, that will tollerate these conditions.
The only large one I can think of, is buddleja.  Can any of you experts help? It is quite a long border, and in general windy. but all the soil is poor quality, and the plants need to be large/tall.Is she best to go for pots? The area is edged by sleepers, so ground cover isnt needed. I do think a rockery plants may cover the sleeper, giving the impression of ground cover,though.


  • How tall do you mean? A tall herbaceous perennial might be the same height as a small shrub.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,963
    My garden gets overrun with verbena bonariensis.
    I bought one about 5-6 years ago and they're gradually taking over, but easy to pull out where I don't want them.
    Seedlings start appearing around now and by summer they're 6ft and need no staking. They're even coming up in my lawn

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 9,938
    Start with improving the soil rather than finding plants to suit the current conditions if you can. This was the mistake I made with my garden originally and we lost too many plants before the soil improvers kicked in and things took off. Hebes have always done well for us and mahonia though. Plants will always tollerate hard conditions better if they have better soil.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • Kathy43Kathy43 Posts: 116
    She said they tried to improve it, but it didn't help
  • LynLyn Posts: 22,884
    Soil improving is not a one off job, it has to be done every year.  Can she get some horse poo from a stable,  that’s good to dig in, liberal quantities of chicken pellets works well, that all I used when I dug out 28 year conifers and the ground was poor. 

    Get a compost heap going for all the veg waste, cardboard, junk mail, grass clippings. Start now and that will be ready to spread by the winter. 

    Any soil can can be improved with a little care and time.  Then she can grow whatever she likes in there. 
    Poor soil won’t make tall plants. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • RubytooRubytoo Posts: 1,373
    And tall plants with windy conditions, makes me think grasses. Nice with Pete8s verbena.
    How windy and exposed? They night need a shelter fence/ mesh for wind tolerant shrubs, even they might need some shelter until they get growing?
    Pots in a windy area need to be heavy and wide based or fixed so they don't blow over.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,963
    V.Bon did pop up amongst some Stipa gigantea and Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' and complemented by Heliopsis Summer Nights - it all looked very good :)

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,121
    A strong growing perennial with the stoutness of a shrub :- Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' ; the perennial Sunflower . Develops into large clumps .
    Flowers late  Summer for quite a few weeks too !
  • Kathy43Kathy43 Posts: 116
    She lives by a farm, so the wind comes off the fields. It's quite open
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,329
    I don’t think there is a quick fix here, sounds as if she needs to plant hedges (native mix perhap, see what else grows around there) and or erect fences (slatted is best to filter the wind) and embark on a long-term soil improvement project as others have said. She probably doesn’t want to hear that! Tall, bog- type plants like certain grasses, reeds, yellow flag irises would be ok in the wetter parts, and dogwood likes wet conditions and come in lots of lovely colours. Wetland reserves are often very exposed and windy and the marginal planting on those might be a source of inspiration. Any or all of these can be a bit thuggish, tho, so depends on how big the space is. The PH of the soil is also important to know as certain plants like acid conditins and others thrive in dry, crappy, stony alkaline clay (like mine!) although all still benefit enormously from soil improvement.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
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