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Streamside Planting Ideas Please

We’ve got a small stream running through our garden with bank on one side and a retaining wall on the other. We have a load of Pendulous Sedge along the bottom of the bank and I’d like to remove it as it’s self-seeding everywhere and it’s a bit of an eyesore.  However, I am at a bit of a loss as to what to replace it with as it helps keep the bank stable. The stream is nothing but a trickle at the moment, but it’s usually about ankle deep in the winter and flows quite quickly. When the rain is really heavy the stream can rise to about a foot but this has only happened a couple of times in the last few years.  The sedges have coped ok with this despite being submerged for a day or so. Any ideas?  Or should we replace with another wall or some gabion (?) baskets? 


  • I’d go for coppiced Cornus and some of the lovely willows with beautiful coloured stems ... again coppiced every few years ... underplanted with native daffodils, Narcissus pseudonarcissus. 
    The circus and willows will hold the bank and be quite happy if it’s roots are underwater for periods of time ... and the native daffodils are used to water meadows so they’ll be happy too. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,637
    Hemerocallis make good stream side plants too as long as it's not too shaded.   Harlow Carr (RHS garden) is famous for its calendula primroses along the stream.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,400
    I would love a stream running through my garden! Darmera peltata and Rogersia would like those conditions and look good by the waterside. I'd probably want to pull the bank back and create some riffles in the stream bed to make it more of a feature.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,942
    Plants like Ligularia, Astilbe and Actea also love damp conditions, so you could possibly introduce some of those if there's a decent spot for them. Perhaps not where they might be really flooded for any length of time though.
    I grow Spartina, which is a coastal grass. It copes with fluctuating water levels without any issue. Makes a big arching clump.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • hosta's should be fine as well
  • Hi everyone, there are some great ideas here - thanks for those. I definitely fancy the candelabra primulas, day lilies, Rodgersia and the dog woods.  It’s only a small stream - about 2.5 feet wide but it attracts lots of wildlife. We’ve got frogs and tiny little fish and get occasional visits from kingfishers. We even had a heron once but I think he was lost 🤣. 
    Just one question tho. Perennials disappear below ground for the winter don’t they? (Do they?). I’m not sure as I’m a bit of a newcomer to gardening. Will they still help to stabilise the bank? I’m a bit worried about the rain washing it into the stream...
  • Many daylilies are evergreen or semi-evergreen, although the majority die down in winter - sellers will tell you which.
    I would expect the roots of larger perennials to stabilise the soil.
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