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Shaded and damp

debs64debs64 Posts: 4,909
Hi all, any suggesrions for an area at the back of my allotment that has fairly heavy clay soil which holds onto the moisture and is also shaded by deciduous trees? I was thinking elderberry bush and possibly a sloe? I have an apple tree too, the only thing there now is a small apple tree and it seems happy 
i need something as its quite a large area and we are supposed to be griwing on at least 75% of the allotment. 


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,284
    Elderberry and sloes are happy partners in the hedgerows around here - and there's the bonus that you can make elderberry wine and sloe gin!! what's not to like :)
    The elderberry shrubs outgrow the sloes but they're both laden with fruit come autumn
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,097
    Yes - I'd agree with Pete. They elderberries grow naturally round here, in all sorts of locations, and blackthorn is also fine. 
    Birds had all my sloes this year - I gave my sister a load of sloes the previous year, and a neighbour, but you don't need many for the gin apparently, so just be careful Debs - we don't want reports of you staggering around the allotment, tanked up on sloe gin and shouting at the locals... :D
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • debs64debs64 Posts: 4,909
    Fairygirl you know me too well. Will plant up the elderflower and sloe and maybe a few foxgloves for the bees and I have firethorn for the perimeter fence to deter any nasty thieves. Lots of bark mulch and it should pass muster! 
    Not sure how anyone can be 75% productive at this time of the year! 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,097
    You could maybe try cotoneaster too - berries and flowers for wildlife. They do best in sun, but lots of things will grow surprisingly well in shade - it's just that they don't get tried because all the advice says it won't suit. Berberis is fine as well.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • debs64debs64 Posts: 4,909
    It is more a dappled than a dense shade just left it last year with black plastic sheeting, ( already there) left on to suppress weeds but apparently it’s encouraging rats to nest under the plastic and committee want plastic up and area planted. Will put in some of your recommendations and maybe a few white digitalis for the bees and mulch it thickly with the chippings provided on the allotment 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,097
    edited March 2019
    Goodluck with it Debs - cotoneaster would cover ground quickly, so it might be a good idea even if it doesn't flower and fruit brilliantly. You can always tuck other stuff in about it too, and it will provide support for them. 
    Just had another brainwave - I grow wild rocket and it copes very well with shade. It comes back every year too, and even stays quite green year round if it has shelter. It takes a really severe winter to kill it off, and even then, it often springs back to life when it looks a gonner. The bees love the yellow flowers  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,847
    If you're planning to use some of the area for a crop later in the year, would a green manure be acceptable to the committee?
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • RubytooRubytoo Posts: 1,323
    I had a red currant and white currant bush in a partially shaded corner of our garden we have trees and clay soil. They did okay, but I don't really like them so gave up.

    I can't remember how sweet they were so I am not sure if they needed more sun than they got but we did get a reasonable number of bunches and they did colour up and go soft. I have a sweet tooth so not sure how they should be.

  • debs64debs64 Posts: 4,909
    I have 3 pyracantha so hoping the birds will like the berries and the thieves will dislike the spines! Nobody else at the allotment seems to have much growing at the moment so I think it will be ok. My only worry now is possible rats nests under the plastic. Think I will remove it in stages to give them chance to move on. 
  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 9,367
    Blackthorn is a bit of a pain for chucking out runners and popping up in places it's not wanted. Maybe get a cultivated damson variety instead? Damson gin is far superior to sloe.

    Check your apple variety as some will suffer from canker in heavy soil.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
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