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Ideas for unloved bed along back fence

Hi all,
I am hoping some of you might be able to help with some ideas for what I could put into the bed pictured below. 
This bed is about 4m long, 1m deep, facing nearly due south along our back fence. There are outbuildings at either end of the bed which provide quite a lot of shade during the day - so the bed can find itself either in full shade, or full (south facing) sun. This bed has been somewhat neglected (as you can see), and has served more than anything as a receptacle for unwanted plants that I have moved from elsewhere. A buddleia on the left has done OK, but I don't particularly like it and would be happy enough to lose it. Other things that have found their way in - e.g. a few coreopsis - haven't done so well, and I am not really sure whether this is due to soil or aspect (or neglect). Climbers such as the jasmine have done well, clematis not so good, at least compared to clematis we have on other fences growing through hedges (too much sun on the roots here?).
What I am looking for is something low(ish) maintenance that will fill the bed, but not grow so tall as to still give the jasmine a chance. Nature friendly would be a bonus. I did think of just chucking in some hawthorn bare roots over winter, but we do have native hedging along a much longer run of fence already so perhaps something more interesting? Grasses? Ferns?
One other possibility re: things doing poorly here is that when we moved in 4 years ago we removed a row of quite mature Leylandii from this area.


  • Maybe some low growing shrub varieties might fit in. I have a couple of hebes that stay at about a metre and a half without any trimming and pittosporum tom thumb also has some nice leaf colour and stays compact.
  • edhelkaedhelka Posts: 2,350
    It sounds like a prime spot in a garden, you could grow many plants there. Don't you have something that you want to grow? It's hard to suggest ideas when there are hundreds of options. If you want something low maintenance, then a mix of shrubs and some easy perennials. Do you have any preferred colors or season of interest to narrow it down?
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 12,425
    Hello Matt, when you removed the conifers, did you beef up the soil with manure ? The conifers would really deplete the soil of nutrients and moisture, which could be why the clematises are not thriving. I would remove the buddelia, weed the bed if it needs it and dig in some manure or homemade compost if you have any. In the Spring, plant heucheras which come in a variety of colours in the more shady areas and perhaps lavender in the really hot spot. Penstemons might also do well. Good luck.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • Thanks for the comments guys. @edhelka I agree, it probably should be a prime spot but it is a little out of the way, and attention has been focused elsewhere, and the few things I have tried (half heartedly) have mostly not done so well - quite possibly just due to lack of attention. I'm mostly just looking for some ideas for low maintenance "filler", but perhaps I should be a bit more ambitious?
    I'll follow your advice @Lizzie27 and get some manure in there to start with.
  • I would do what Matt_Fender suggested and then let the soil over winter allowing the frost etc to help break down the soil also allowing it to aeriate.Then I would plant Syclaman and Gazinias next year for colour and they are to a degree drought resistant plants that do well in shade and sun


    Jolly G
  • Hi Matt
    I meant to say what Lizzie27 Suggested
  • WibbleWibble Posts: 89
    Just seconding the heuchera suggested above. Great little plants and would work well at the front with some taller things behind. Grasses, verbena or thalictrum could be nice behind - a bit of height but not too dense. Thalictrum Hewitt Double is a stunner, looks like little floating globes when in bud. Achillea would be another option. 
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