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What to plant under this large maple/ large boarder

Help - I have a boarder which is about 5 ft deep and 7ft long and just can't achieve much of a lovely display in the boarder. It gets sun most of the morning but late afternoon just the edges.I think the position is around North / east. Last year I planted lots of lupins and foxgloves which didnt achieve much. I had hoped to put a good few large hydrangeas Annabel's to the back but will the trees take too much moisture? Any advice welcome as leaves a really void in the garden:( advices really welcome thank you 

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  • here is a picture - probably more 12 ft long! thanks Louise


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,235
    The maple will be taking all the nutrients and water form that bed and also casting shade in summer which means shrubs and many herbaceous perennials won't do well.

    You could try euphorbias which don't mind poor dry soil - but have nasty sap if it gets on your skin - and woodland glade plants such as early spring bulbs like wood anemone and also hardy cyclamen.   Some of the hardy geraniums like renardii, Kashmir White and Ann Folkard should be fine and they would give you good foliage as well as flowers.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thank you as ever @Obelixx Thats prob why no plants do well at all. I will try plenty of geraniums - there is one that grows at the back very well. 


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,235
    Make sure you add some good compost and/or well-rotted manure first as that will help with nutrient levels and moisture retention.

    There is a beech woodland near our former home in Belgium whose floor was always carpeted with teeny daffs in spring, before the canopy leafed up, so think about planting some of those too next autumn.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Ferns and Foxgloves I say.

    Maybe start the foxgloves off in seed tray > pots > border, and work on improving the soil in the mean time.


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,235
    Foxgloves have been tried.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Ye I noticed. Worth trying again with improved soil, it's not like they're usually too fussy.
  • WilderbeastWilderbeast East YorkshirePosts: 1,223
    You could try ferns there are some that will happily grow in dry shade conditions. Wont name any as I'll only get wrong 🤣
  • Thinning out the branches on the maple might also help by allowing some more light in and lessen the draw of water by the tree roots. Geraniums can do well in shade and some other plants I have found to do well in shade are bergenia, brunnera, pulmonaria, vinca, geum and mahonia.
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