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Shady Areas

glaacglaac Posts: 2
Hi,  I am not in anyway an expert gardener, however I do like to have a nice tidy garden and I try and cater for the wildlife where I can.

I have a south facing garden but it has a 5 foot wall all the way around and all my border plants are shrubs and we do not have any colour in the garden apart from different shades of green and no flowers.

I would like to know what plants to put in the shaded borders that will come back time and time again but also provide some colour to the garden. The soil is a mixture of damp on one side and free draining on the other. Thank you


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,016
    i think you need a mix of spring bulbs with early spring flowering perennials then mid and late summer flowering plants and finally autumn colour.

    What you choose will depend on what colours you like, what height you can cope with and whether you also want ground cover to help keep down weeds.  Choices will also depend on the depth of your beds and you may find you need to increase their size in front of the shrubs to make room.

    The easiest plants to grow are things like aquilegia, foxgloves, hardy geraniums, rudbeckias, asters, sedum spectabile and so on.

    Have a look a this feature on the RHS website and enter the appropriate info in the boxes to get a selection of plants to consider - 
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • glaacglaac Posts: 2
    Thank you for the comments and advice. I’ll take a look at the link. I can increase the borders no problem although with the shrubs and small trees I have in place at the moment, I would of thought any extra planting would need to be ground covering and up to around 60cm tall. Thanks again 
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,016
    You can check the cultivation needs of each plant suggested and that will tell you width and height.   Remember the art of garden is to contrast or harmonise form and colour as well as structure so don't fall into the trap of using all rounded, hummocky plants.  You need some tall spires as well as ground huggers or it will all just look like so many dumplings.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • For long-lasting colour in shade, certain hardy Geraniums will work, such as G. nodosum or G. 'Claridge Druce'. Anemone x hybrida is also good, and in the damper areas you can get spring interest from Hellebores and late summer flowers from Roscoea. Hostas are often recommended but easily fall victim to slugs.

    'Free-draining' shade can often mean dry shade--this is more tricky; you might want to focus on foliage textures and contrasts. Things like Liriope muscari, Epimedium, Geranium macrorrhizum, Pulmonaria will give you some colour at least.

    Check out Longacre nurseries aka Plants for Shade for other ideas--their website is quite helpfully arranged to cope with different shade conditions.
  • Don't forget heucheras for ground cover and year-round colour.  Most do well in shade.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • robairdmacraignilrobairdmacraignil Posts: 778
    edited January 2021
    Also good for ground cover is ajuga and it comes in different varieties of leaf colour with the purple leaved ones providing a consistent nice darker leaf and other variegated types with some brighter mixed colours. They have blue flowers mostly in spring but also on occasion through the year. The flowers seem popular with bumble bees. Here is a video clip showing a newly planted variegated one and a more established purple leaved one in bloom in my own garden. They are usually available as small plants at not a very high price and can be multiplied by dividing plants off as they take root in new places as they grow and spread.

    Happy gardening!
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