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Pretty flowering bushes and shrubs for damp shady soil


I'd like to ask for some advice on what bushes and shrubs would work best at the bottom of our garden. My garden faces south west and the border is in the shade right now for much of the day. The soil is very damp but not full of clay. I know nothing of the ph level I'm afraid.
I'm wanting to put some colour in to the bottom of the garden so need bushes and shrubs that flower. Colour wise white's and purple's are good but we aren't picky on colours. The garden is only small so nothing too big as suggestions please. I've a climber in mind to run along the fence so it's just the bushes/shrubs/ground flowering plants needed.



  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,168
    edited April 2019
    The white Spirea argutas are good for this time of year, and there are pink varieties for later in the year. You can prune them every so often to stop them getting too big. Hellebores will grow there quite happily too. Weigela is another shrub which would be fine. Dwarf azaleas would also be fine as long as the soil isn't too alkaline.
    You can also add lots of spring bulbs for colour going from winter to spring. Daffs will be fine and also some of the species tulips, native primulas and snowdrops would also do well.

    What size is the border though? Many shrubs get quite big, and they need room to look their best, so you may be better looking at some perennials for summer flowering. Hardy geraniums for example, are very easy, and flower for a long time.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Hi thank you very much for your reply. The border is very small probably only 2 to 3 feet deep maximum and 8 feet long so I;m restricted in what will go in there. It's really just to tidy up a section of the garden that has been abandoned up until now. Will regular pruning help to keep the size of bushes and shrubs in check?
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,168
    It depends on the shrub. You have to be careful you're not pruning off the stems which will carry the flowers for the following year on some of them. 
    A couple of shrubs would be more than enough for the size of the border you have. Maybe one medium and one small.
    They'll take a while to get so big that you'd need to prune anyway, and you can do it in such a way that you don't sacrifice flowering, by taking a few stems right back to the main 'trunk' every year for a few years, and keeping the look of the shrub natural. If you underplant the deciduous shrubs with spring bulbs, it will give you a nice display for a good while. 

    Another good perennial is Heuchera - they like shade and damp soil, so would be perfect for the site, and another shrub is Potentilla. The white ones are particularly good for shady areas, and they require very little attention.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thanks very much for the tips and for the extra suggestions for plants that will work in the space. I'll explore them all.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,168
    There will be other suggestions  that would suit, but take a look at those to start off with and see if you like them.
     They're all plants which are readily available too.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Great. Thanks again.
  • Tanty2Tanty2 Posts: 219
    Brunnera is pretty, grows fast, likes shade.   When it gets too big for the site, you can chop it down to a few inches out the ground and it'll bounce back (within days!).  Jack Frost is a good one.  Also, what about Asarum Europaeum for ground cover?  (Wild Ginger) - looks pretty, grows in deep dark damp shade.  Also, there's one Daphne that likes shade.  Might be pontica, check the rhs site :)
  • hi Tanty2 Thanks for your suggestions I'll be sure to check them all out. I particularly like the sound of Brunnera and Asarum Europaeum.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,193
    There are also Astilbles, Astrantia, Dicentra or a dwarf Hydrangea 
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
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