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North east dry, stony bank with acid soil

help! We have partly planted a bank with rhododendrons, blueberries, ground cover roses and heather. Any suggestions for low ground cover with colour, ive looked at alpines but don’t think they will survive. I forgot to say we live 500 feet up on the edge of exmoor! I look at other people’s gardens with envy and hope someone can point me in the direction of some suitable plants! Also suitable bulbs! Thanks. 

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  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,122
    My garden is on acid soil at around 1300ft in the Pennines, so I will have some of the same issues as you, but what thrives in a particular spot is affected by the aspect and the soil and how sheltered or exposed it is. With some more info we can target our suggestions better.
    I have a very well drained south facing bank where suitable alpines will grow, they are tough, but often quite specialised plants and you will probably need ones that grow a bit larger to look in keeping with your setting.  I have some of those, but also grow little treasures in stone troughs etc. There are some excellent alpine nurseries online, some in Scotland and one in Yorkshire,  where they grow the plants hard, so they can cope well with all situations, you don't want soft, greenhouse reared ones!
    As far as bulbs are concerned you can be spoiled for choice, I grow all sorts, large and small and usually, as long as you follow planting directions, you will get a good display.
    Now is a good time to begin looking and planning, ready for planting in autumn for spring flowers. A good bulb merchant will have dozens of different daffodils and narcissi, of varying sizes,  and alliums  and a host of small bulbs. Many will naturalise and give you increasing colour year after year for no additional outlay, but some, like the big Dutch tulips or little reticulata iris are more shortlived.
    Don't be afraid to ask more questions, but in the meantime, happy hunting :)
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,159
    Alpines - think about the name ... ;)

    That's around 3,000 feet above sea level.

    As @Buttercupdays says - the influence of wind and shelter makes a difference too.
    Saxifrages, in general, will survive almost anywhere, but they're mainly small, because of the conditions they grow in.  Anything bigger gets annihilated by wind.
    I grow things like prostrate Gaultheria [procumbens] , which has flowers similar to Pieris, and has tough, evergreen, leathery leaves. Berries in autumn. Gaultheria, in general, would be fine. Pachysandra makes good ground cover for shadier spots too. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Thanks for very helpful ideas. The bank although facing north east does get quite a lot of sun. The soil is quite dry and dusty at the moment but can turn very sticky after rain. It is shallow and beneath is something called shillet, like slate. Basically stony and difficult to dig a decent hole!
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