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Help! What to Plant

Hello. I recently moved into a house and took the freestanding garage down because it had rotted through. Behind the garage, we found this lovely Red Robin. However, because it was behind the garage, the Red Robin is quite sparse at the bottom and all the foliage is at the top as shown in the picture. I have a North facing garden but this area at the bottom of my garden gets full sun.

Does anyone have any ideas of what might be nice to plant underneath the Red Robin?
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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,069
    I would first of all bung on 2 or 3 bags of well-rotted manure or other good soil conditioner which you can buy in bags from good DIY and garden centres.   Then give the whole thing a light forking over and a good watering.

    There is a huge range of hardy perennials that would be happy in full sun but if you want to keep things simple I would then plant hardy geraniums which are good ground cover and varieties like Rozanne will get tall enough to hide those leggy stems a bit and also have a long flowering season.   You can also mix it up with a variety of herbaceous perennials such as penstemon, aquilegia, hemerocallis to give a range of colours and leaf forms.   

    Next autumn you could add spring flowering bulbs such as daffs and alliums whose dying foliage will be hidden by the geraniums or other perennials as they grow back after winter.


    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • jessbeejessbee Posts: 9
    Thank you!
  • InglezinhoInglezinho Posts: 564
    Prune the bally thing. It looks terrible.
    Everyone likes butterflies. Nobody likes caterpillars.
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,427
    No, don't prune, allow time for recovery first. It's not their fault they were stuck behind a garage. Do what @Obelixx suggests and then, next season, you should be able to do some gentle cutting back to encourage new growth lower down. They don't look terrible, they look like they need love and care. Don't we all.
  • Hello...I'm new to this forum and by chance clicked on this problem.  I'm in Australia but quite familiar with Photinias or Red Robins. My suggestion would be to lop them off level with about the middle of the fence or even lower and they will shoot out beautifully with their red tips.
    I'm attaching two photos that I just took of a couple of mine. They were both quite big trees. I asked my husband to cut one back (not always a good idea ... I was mortified when saw the result !)... but I think you'll agree, 3 years on it's a lovely shrub.
    The other one is in a driveway, so I have to constantly trim the new shoots... as you can see. Not my favourite spot for it but it blocks the neighbours.
    I think this will be the result if you cut yours back, they are lovely if kept pruned. 



  • Hello...I'm new to this forum and by chance clicked on this problem.  I'm in Australia but quite familiar with Photinias or Red Robins. My suggestion would be to lop them off level with about the middle of the fence or even lower and they will shoot out beautifully with their red tips.

    Welcome to the forum! I love that feathery-looking tree behind the photinia in photo 1. You must have a lot of fun gardening in Australia; such amazing plants.
  • jessbeejessbee Posts: 9
    Thanks for all your help and advice. I was a little nervous doing it but I've pruned it back as suggested and given the soil a light forking and conditioning. So fingers crossed for some new growth!
  • Welcome to the forum! I love that feathery-looking tree behind the photinia in photo 1. You must have a lot of fun gardening in Australia; such amazing plants.
    Thank you for the welcome Cambridgerose :)  The tree in the background is a Jacaranda, our street is lined with them, so quite spectacular when flowering in the summer. We have a huge one in the back yard...providing great shade but definitely not recommended...best admired from a distance in my opinion :)
  • Jac19Jac19 Worthing, South Coast of EnglandPosts: 496
    edited September 2021
    It will be sprouting leaves from the bottom because there is new light from the garage being gone.

    The spot around it is a prime area for planting some sun loving flowers.  Some ideas: 
    - One rose in a colour you love towards the middle.
    - A Consolida ajacis - like 'Blue spire' - at the back.
    - A couple of tall Hollyhocks and/or Foxgloves towards the back.  Remember never to buy Hollyhocks as plug plants, but to sow them and bring them up from seeds, because they are very vulnerable to rust and can bring rust into the garden on plug plants.
    - A couple of Salvias around the rose, towards the middle of the border.  There is an amazing collection here.
    - A catmint/catnip plant towards the front. A lavender next to it.
    - Some Gaillardia daisies at the very front of the border.
    - A few crocus bulbs in towards the front for early spring colour.

    You will need to dig up and rake the soil and add some peat based multi purpose compost to make it more rich.  And add some John Innes No 3 compost to improve drainage.  Mix well in the dug up top 6-8 inches well.

    I also use Blood, Fish, and Bone fertilizer in granular format and mulch in a sack of farmyard manure at the top.


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 32,416
    I'd dump them and buy something else. 
    " flogging a dead horse" springs to mind.
    Devon.
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