Forum home Problem solving

Ideas for planting

We have a small garden with an elevated border approx 30' X 6' at the back of which is a 6' fence. Soil is chalk, garden is south facing and it is a frost hollow. I am desperate to fill the bed with evergreen plants which will completely hide the fence and provide plenty of foliage, texture and colour. Help!! I have tried many times but it always looks straggly and never fills in. My dream is to have a lush backdrop to frame the garden. We live in Wiltshire a couple of miles from Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain.


  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 10,999
    Hi Sally, welcome to the forum  :) The first thing l thought of that may be suitable is sarcococca. Evergreen small shrub, pretty tough, perfumed tiny white flowers in winter. I'm sure that others will have plenty of ideas.
  • FlinsterFlinster Posts: 883
    Hiya, the RHS has a great list of all types of plants, trees and shrubs for chalk soil so might be worth a look!
  • yorkshireroseyorkshirerose North YorkshirePosts: 574
    Mahonia, Viburnum tinus, Cornus (Dogwood-deciduous but the winter stems are very attractive) Cotoneaster  lacteus(excellent for wildlife, providing nectar in Spring/Summer and food and shelter in winter) Viburnum bodnantense (not evergreen, but flowers on bare stems) . Low growing plants which maintain their foliage in winter could include Hellebore, Heuchera, Euphorbia, Remember to plant some bulbs for Spring flowers too, they will soon fill your gaps. 

    I'm sure you'll soon receive more suggestions too.

    Happy planning and gardening.  :)
    A gardener's work is never at an end  - (John Evelyn 1620-1706)
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 10,505
    I would look round other gardens in your area to see what grows well there and what you like the look of. If you can take photos, so much the better and we can identify the shrubs for you. I would choose no more than 4 or 5 shrubs and repeat them along the width so it doesn't end up looking bitty. You do need to select ones that can cope in dry chalk soil and frost and if you can improve the soil with lots of organic matter, that would be good.
  • Fabulous. Thank you all so much. I have taken photos which I will attach - you can see how messy it is 
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Brittany, France Posts: 3,703
    I've seen messier places! Looks nice and tidy to me.
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • Fran IOMFran IOM Posts: 2,226
    I would be well chuffed if it were mine!  :).  Maybe just lacking a bit of colour.
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,687
    edited February 2019
    Nothing messy about that border. I would say, it has a good 'back-bone' to start from. It doesn't look 6 ft deep though, but could be the way the photos are taken. Try to block plant in groups of three plants. You can arrange them in one straight row or diagonal or in a triangular formation. You will create more of an impact rather than dotting plants here and there. 

    Think about shrub shapes and leaf type. Geraniums, Thalictrums, Aquilegias and Alchemilla Mollis for example have great foliage, even when not in flower. Many can be cut back by mid-late summer for fresh foliage. Where you have shrubs, try to put plants with contrasting form like strappy or upright leaves. Iris, Hemerocallis, Libertias, Sissyrinchiums are examples that could work planted against them.

    Where plants that may not have the most appealing leaves, you can squeeze them amongst more bolder foliage plants, so to hide their base. These plants are Scabious, Alliums, Achellias, Knautias and Poppies.

    A raised bed can be softened with sprawling and spilling plants. Take a look at Campanula Portenschlagiana, Viola Cornua, and Saponaria Ocymoides.
  • Fabulous - thank you. 
  • Evergreen recommendations to hide the balance of the fence which sadly sits at 6' tall?? There are still gaps which do not seem to want to in fill!
Sign In or Register to comment.