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North East facing border by house

I have a long strip of "Border" between my house and the gravel drive It's NE facing so gets very early morning sun in the summer but nothing past around 8am and it gets nothing in the evening as the barn shades it from that side. the borders around 1m wide and very dry being under the eaves of the house, the soil is sandy and alkaline. it was covered in ivy which was invading the house so that had to go. There are some plants there now and they seem to be very happy there is a budliea bush (purple), a hydranga (horrific pink), some asarabacca as ground cover, and a couple of self seeded honesty (purple). I tried hollyhocks but we got a full on gale in July here and it blew all their leaves off, so I had long tall (leaning) stalks with flowers perched on the top, not a good look.
What very low maintenance bushes/plants could I add to the mix? the border is nearly 20m long and the 2 bushes are not taking up much of it! The windows are around 1.5 meters up sonothing that gets much over that. (I don't mind pruning it once or twice a year)
Here's the corner of the area when we were clearing it out. all that ivy in those heaps came off the bit of wall they are next to!


  • You could put shade-tolerant bedding plants in - pansies and polyanthus (now), begonias next season. Plug plants are cheap as chips. I have those, and also have had  aquilegias, hostas, ferns, foxgloves , hellebores, bleeding hearts all do well in a similar NE border in the front garden which gets about 1-2hrs sunlight a day, the rest in shade. Roses can also do well in those conditions. I personally hate hydrangeas but they can also do well in those conditions- the pink sounds too ghastly haha.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,916
    Have a look on here @Skandi - they specialise

    Dry alkaline soil is something I don't have, but Potentillas would be ok there I'd reckon, and you could certainly have some of the alpina or macropetala clematis there if you fancied some climbers. There must be enough moisture getting in if the hydrangea is doing well enough. Have you thought of trying the oak leaf ones? They're more tolerant of drier ground, aren't fussy as to soil, and are white, so would be nice against the wall. 
    I have Osmanthus burkwoodii, which likes shade, and isn't fussy about soil. Once established, it wouldn't mind a drier spot. Easy to maintain too. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • I love Fairygirl's idea of Hydrangea quercifolia and Osmanthus x burkwoodii. I'd add (from my never-ending attempt to get things established in a dry alkaline area of my garden) that the following would work for you:
    Evergreen Euonymus--a variety like 'Silver Queen' would be good, and although it would climb, it is very slow-growing and always decorative.
    Nandina domestica
    Geranium macrorrhizum and Geranium nodosum
    Aster schreberi
    Hellebores are evergreen and very easy-care, and they love alkaline soil
    Solomon's Seal
    Tellima grandiflora

    However, I agree with other posters that some of the things you mention growing there, such as the pink hydrangea, point to there being a source of moisture, which should make it possible to grow more moisture-loving things like the bleeding hearts or Brunnera. I have never managed to make Digitalis or Astrantia happy in my alkaline garden and even Bergenias struggle. But lilies-of-the-valley do very well.
    There are some things that are routinely touted for these conditions but actually are so miserable in them that, although they survive, you rather wish they wouldn't. This is true of some ferns; the only ones that have been OK for me are Polystichum setiferum and Asplenium scolopendrium.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,916
    It'll also depend what you can source, where you are @Skandi :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    Sarcoccoa does well in shade, evergreen with winter scented flowers. Heucheras are good in shade if you aren't prone to vine weevil but if you can add some manure to the planting area to help retain water and apply a thick mulch it will help and water well for their first season or so.
  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,717
    Thanks for all of the ideas, on the other side of the house we have a huge beach tree, and under that we have foxgloves, aquilegas, ferns, wild strawberries a single hosta that looks very unhappy. but none of those have managed to self seed round this side.

    I think the hydranga survived and even likes it because it can get it's roots down to the chalk it's only about a meter down and it carries a huge amount of water. It's also planted right at the front of the border, at the back nothing growns not even weeds, though the ivy seemed happy there!
    I like the Osmanthus, we have a lot of scented shrubs round the front (it's a weird lay out the "front" door is on the back of the house) so it would fit right in.
    And helebores yes I should get some of them, I've loved them since I was a small child dragged up innumerable Beech hangers looking for them.
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