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Advice please on perennials for a north-facing wall along path

Whilst we have bluebells flowering along the path edge in the spring, we are looking for suggestions a long-flowering, relatively low-level plant that would bloom summer-autumn in the 20cm wide, narrow strip of soil along this north-facing wall. In early summer it gets sun first thing and then later from about 4:30pm through to sunset, but September-April onwards it is in full shade. Not wishing to have stems which fall over the path, nor just multi-coloured leaves instead of flowers. Location is Prestwick, South Ayrshire. Any suggestions would be very welcome.


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 15,131
    It's so narrow I think it would be almost impossible to have something low growing that doesn't fall on the path. You could try annuals such as bedding begonias or impatiens for some summer flowers.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,362
    I think that's almost impossible, apart from things like Ajuga and Saxifrages etc, but they're mostly spring/summer. Cerastium would manage, but again - not autumn flowering. You could try cyclamen, but make sure you get the hederafolium ones and not the type which aren't hardy. They don't flower for very long, but mixed with other bulbs and small plants it would give some colour. 
    Some of the little Welsh and Icelandic poppies would grow there, but it's a big task finding something that would just 'stay' in that wee spot, apart from foliage plants. Some of the hardy geraniums wouldn't mind it, but they wouldn't stay in that narrow a strip. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 2,843
    Thinking slightly outside the box,if you want some colour along the path, a wider border at the other side would give you much more scope.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,362
    Another alternative would be Euonymous fortunei, which will act like a climber. Easy enough to keep trimmed, although the flowers are minimal.
    You could add one of the early clematis - alpina or similar, for flowers. They're very happy in tiny spaces with drier conditions. Constance is particularly good.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 2,969
    On looking at the pic my first thought was Alchemilla mollis, which would flop attractively over the path - but that's exactly what you say you don't want! I think some 'floppers' would soften the path nicely, and look better than a row of tiny things in a neat line. It wouldn't cover the *entire* path and you are always able to cut it back to the base if it starts to encroach (and also after flowering when it starts looking untidy and sets seed, which you don't want!) There are many geraniums which flop similarly if you prefer.
  • Chocolate vine Akebia quinata
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