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getting rid of grass re-growth?

Hello everyone, I have decided to put a flower bed across the width of our garden, it is currently turf so I've started removing it and have a few questions: One side gets full sun and the other end is shady most of the day and both sides are flanked by conifer hedging that is 2mtrs high. I have lots of plants ready to go in but I'm wondering what might work in the shadiest spot next to the conifer line (we are East facing)? Also is there a small tree species that might survive in the sunny spot next to the other greedier conifer species on the opposite side? Finally any tips on prepping the bed and stopping the grass returning? Thank you! NB: The dug side, in the photo's, is the shady end. 


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,428
    edited February 2021
    The problem you have with the conifers is that they tend to suck up a lot of moisture which limits what you can grow. However, there is still quite a bit that would cope.
    As regards preparing the bed, this old link to an old Alan Titchmarsh programme has quite a lot of information
    If you can give some idea of the look you are going for and the plants you already have that will help advice. 
    Finally, my go to small tree is amelanchier, lovely blossom in Spring, berries for the birds and then good Autumn colour. 
  • B3B3 Posts: 25,231
    If bits of grass pop up, just remove them along with any other weeds.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,699
    On the shadier spot that will most likely be dry soil, Polemonium Caeruleum, Bergenia Cordifolia, Epimediums and Heucheras. When you are digging up the grass, try to dig a bit deeper, that way, you will limit re-growth happening.
  • The amelanchier is very pretty. Should have mentioned the clay is quite clay so dries up in the summer. Would it be suitable and is there a particular one you'd suggest? I quite like the Sorbus 'olympic flame'. Any thoughts? I have about 50 pots so too many plants to list but I have lots of hibiscus, lots of different (no-invasive) bamboo, cotinus royal purple, Geums, acer (orange) dream, euphorbia, lavender, arum lilies, and a new but very small blue hydrangea. 

    Will dig the grass out deeper as recommended and add in my own compost (lots of organic waste). 

    Any other tips/suggestions. Thanks for your advice. 

  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,428
    This is the one
    My soil is quite clay but the tree is fine. I don't have any experience of sorbus, but they are lovely trees. I think it might struggle more if the soil dries out, but maybe someone can confirm. I think with all newly planted trees etc. you would have to keep it well watered, even the Amelanchier. 
    Just wondering if you've done a soil test as you mentioned a blue hydrangea. To keep the flowers blue year after year you need acid soil, although l believe there is a product you can buy to add to it.
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,953
    My Amelanchier grows fine here with the run off from the lawn sprinkler, so does fine with heat and dry.  I do water it during the driest part of summer once a week, if I remember.  The berries are edible an super sweet, like dried blueberries.  And lovely flowers.  Can be grown as a bush or as a multi stem small tree.  
    Utah, USA.
  • Great thank you. Thats was one of the Amelanchier that I looked at online - really appreciated, I'll see what ones are available for delivery. Yes, I knew that about hydrangea's so I might keep it in a pot but will test soil today to check as I don't want it to change colour. I have lots of birds who visit the garden so I expect they'll nab the fruit from the Amelanchier before I get a chance! 
    More digging today. 
  • I'd give your tree a good distance from the hedge and improve the soil well, but it should be fine. 

    As to the shady, coniferous far end, although that's a challenge, if you improve the soil, it will help. Some old stalwarts include Geranium macrorrhizum, Geranium nodosum, solomon's seal, Asplenium nidus, Polypodium vulgare and Cyclamen hederifolium. I can recommend some of the newer, more exciting Geranium nodosum forms, like 'Hexham Big Eye' or 'Blueberry Ice', though these are hard to get, still.

    You could try a tough evergreen, even, such as Aucuba or Daphne laureola subsp. philippii, and some Skimmias might work; or you have things like Danae racemosa and Ruscus aculeatus. I have managed with an evergreen shrub form of Euonymus. Really it will be a matter of trial and error, as well as keeping a close eye on matters and helping your plants out with regular mulches and watering. Some will surprise you and others will writhe and reel and faint in coils.
  • Thank you for your helpful response. I'll look up the plants that you recommend - I was looking a some geraniums online last night. My local village garden centre are good at ordering in so I'll look at Hexham Big Eye and Blueberry Ice. I have a lovely Euonymus, slower grower but looks beautiful all year round and is pretty tolerant of most things. 

    What mulching material would you suggest is best? I'm planning to dig in a lot of compost including my home version. Would you suggest digging in a slow release fertiliser at this stage or feed throughout the growing season? Thank you.

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