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What should I replace a tree with?

Hello lovely people. First time gardener and GW poster. 

Last year our local water company had to dig up part of our front garden to remove and replace a damaged sewer (the chamber is in our garden). 

They had to remove a lovely tree and bush and have promised to replace with whatever we want as long as it's not a tree (although the tree didn't cause the damage, it was just an olf Victorian sewer) or anything that will have deep roots. 

I love Hydrangeas and I was also thinking of getting California Lilac (would love to get bee and butterfly attracting plants). I'm not sure if this would be the best for the area. Does anyone have any other better suggestions? 

I have attached a couple of photos of where the plants will be going. I was thinking the Lilac at the top and the Hydrangeas on the bottom. The middle I will leave for bulbs or any other smaller plants.

We are in SE London so the soil is typically clay although I think the builders filled in the hole they made with a mix of top soil and other dirt. I would get some soil improver too. That part of the garden usually has a lot of sun. 

Thank you so much!

PS - Please excuse the weeds. We are letting the garden go wild. Also, we have no idea what we're doing but learning :smile:

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  • Actually it wasn't last year! It was just a few months ago. Where has the time gone??
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,314
    Amelanchier Lamarkii would work well there
    Devon.
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,470
    I don't know how much sun it gets, but a small area like that would look good filled with lavender plants. If someone else is paying, you could get quite decent size plants , pack them in ,  and have instant colour. Maybe a different sort on each layer.  Trim once a year, so low maintenance.
  • Hostafan1 said:
    Amelanchier Lamarkii would work well there
    Oh my goodness! I love that suggestion! Looks beautiful. I'll ask the team if it's suitable. Thank you :)
  • I don't know how much sun it gets, but a small area like that would look good filled with lavender plants. If someone else is paying, you could get quite decent size plants , pack them in ,  and have instant colour. Maybe a different sort on each layer.  Trim once a year, so low maintenance.
    Lavender was my original choice but I bought some for our back garden and they aren't doing too well. They were the very first plants I planted and maybe I didn't go about it the right way. I could try again as a huge lavender would be lovely too. I love the smell and I'm always paranoid the garden smells of sewage (think it's all in my head). Thank you :smiley:
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,314
    Hostafan1 said:
    Amelanchier Lamarkii would work well there
    Oh my goodness! I love that suggestion! Looks beautiful. I'll ask the team if it's suitable. Thank you :)
    Spring flowers, good for bees.
    Nice size to give some screening from houses opposite, but still easy to prune.
    Fabulous Autumn colour.
    Berries for the birds.
    It's a good'un
    Devon.
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,470
    Isn't Amelanchier a tree? They said no trees.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,314
    Can easily be kept to a large shrub.
    https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/26602/Amelanchier-lamarckii/Details
    "A. lamarckii is a large erect deciduous shrub or small tree of open habit, with bronze-tinged young leaves turning orange and red in autumn. White flowers in short lax racemes as the leaves unfurl. Fruit a red to dark purple-black berry, soon eaten by birds"
    Devon.
  • Hi everyone. Thank you so much for the suggestions. I am going to go with Lavender but the Amelanchier Lamarkii has been ruled out as they can't find it with their supplier and they were concerned about the root system. 

    I was looking at Rosa rugosa 'Rubra' (red Japanese rose) as it looks lovely but the information on the site says roses can be 'quite deep-rooted' plants. I'm not sure if this would be ok to be near a sewer system in our garden. The actual sewer is about 9 feet down though. The water company haven't been very helpful with suggestions - just "no trees". 

    Would also love Hydrangeas but their root system seems to be quite big from what I understand. 


    So I guess what I'm asking is, does anyone have any suggestions for plants, shrubs that can grow close to a sewer system? 
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,976
    edited August 2019
    I don't think a Hydrangea would cause a problem, one of the paniculatas would be a lovely feature, the flowers are very long lasting. You can prune it back to a permanent woody framework each year. You can go right down to the base if you want, or keep a bit more height. I would go with Hydrangea Limelight with a few native ferns underneath.
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