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Planting ideas - I’m a novice gardener

SR298SR298 Posts: 31
Hello, I was hoping that someone may be able to give me some advice on what to plant in this bed/border along my drive.  
The soil is not very deep and is chalky with a lot rocks not too far below the surface. It’s quite shady but does get some sun very late in the day in summer. It currently has 2 bleeding hearts, 1 Solomon’s seal and 3 dryopteris ferns and a pink Hydrangea, and a very sorry looking Heuchera but I would like perennials/plants with more colour in there and I would really appreciate any advice anyone may be able to offer me. Thank you. 😊


  • SR298SR298 Posts: 31
    Also a small peony and well established sedum that’s been there for many years and does flower despite the shade - but I will be moving them to a sunnier site in the garden. 
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,162
    How wide is the border ? If it's not too dry you could try astilbes,  astrantia, or some of the shade loving hardy geraniums. 
  • SR298SR298 Posts: 31
    edited April 2019
    Thank You AnniD, It’s about 40cm wide at the far end and 50cm at the near end and approx 10 meters long. Ive tried growing Hostas and they just never made it (not sure what I did wrong) along with a Fatsia Japonica that was in the far corner that initially did really well and looked stunning and then all of a sudden started losing its new shoots/leaves and then the entire thing went droopy and just died so I ended up digging it out a few weeks ago. The DH and I replaced all our fences today as they were falling apart and over run with ivy and now the border is clear and I’m ready to try again. Will definitely give Astilbes and Astrantia a try - I didn’t consider them for that space so really appreciate your help. Thank you so much. 
  • I'd plant some spring bulbs and plants later in the year, I'm thinking Crocus,Snowdrop and some of the species Narcissus. They'd give such smashing colour for months during late winter and early spring. You can follow on with Digitalis which grow well in shady conditions and there'a a huge variety to choose from nowadays. You could start them off by seed this year to have them flower next April or May. Honesty which is also biannual can be sown this year and will bloom next year. The white variety really stands out in shade. 
  • SR298SR298 Posts: 31
    Hello ladygardner2, thank you so much for your thoughts. I’m just about to go out and make a start on that area now. The plan is to raise the stone work a little where it dips away and add some topsoil to get a better planting depth. I love the idea of Digitalis there, had grown “candy mountain” from seed last year and they are now almost ready to plant out so I may try a few of them there to see how they fare? I have a few snowdrop bulbs in that bed too (which I forgot to mention) which seem to pop up now and then in the winter - but not always and the daffs bulbs I planted a few years ago throw up loads of leaves, but not had any flowers so I end up with a pile of droopy leaves that look rather unsightly, turn yellow and I eventually cut them back, so have been considering digging them up and planting them elsewhere. I guess it’s going to be a trial and error to see what takes off.  Thank you for your help - I do appreciate it 😊
  • purplerallimpurplerallim Posts: 5,226
    Just a thought Aquilegia are very tough plants with lots of colour and won't mind the shade or poor soil.🙂
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,008
    edited April 2019
    Vinca would run all over that. Might be a bit too much  :) but it would certainly give you all year greenery
    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530
    Any chance of painting that very dark fence a lighter colour?  That would make the most of the little light the border gets.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,560
    I quite like the fence colour. You could try Thalictrum delavayi... there's a white version that would look very good against the fence. I always mention it, but I really like Luzula nivea and it will take dry shade. Ferns would look nice. 
  • SR298SR298 Posts: 31
    Thanks everyone for the input, spent the day yesterday working on that area, I dug over the border, raised the stonework, added more top soil mixed with organic matter and now have a reasonable planting depth. Also managed to squeeze in a quick trip to the local nursery and picked up a few foxgloves (digitalis Alba) a Japanese anemone ( said it was suitable for partial shade a white hemerocallis (again suitable for partial shade) a few astilbes and aquilegia. I chose all light coloured flowers so they pop against the dark fence. Planted them all yesterday and the area is looking a bit tidier - it does need a lot more plants I feel, but I’ll wait and see how these plants do before I add more. Thank you everyone for your help.  
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