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Pet-safe shade-loving tall-ish plants!

 Hi everyone

I posted before, I had some grey planters in front of my shed but now that I've painted the shed grey, it's all a little too grey so the planters have gone elsewhere.

Instead I feel I need some tall greenery to brighten up the garden and disguise/soften the shed. 

The area at the shed gets no direct sunlight at all. It's a bright garden so there's a lot of daylight and I wouldn't describe the area as dark, but definitely no direct sunlight. 

I thought about planting a row of Portuguese Laurel, but we have a cat and I've just learned it's poisonous to cats. 

Then I thought of planting a row of elaeagnus x ebbengei, but I bought a small one to try it and it's a little dull so it doesn't do much to brighten the garden nor does it stand out against the grey, plus I'm struggling to find reasonably established plants.

I know some acers would work but unfortunately I just don't like them. I prefer traditional leafy bushes to the sort of zen garden or tropical look. 

I think I may be asking for the impossible, but before I give up I thought I would give you guys a try!  I would be grateful for any suggestions of something tall and green that I could plant along the shed. Thanks everyone.

Apologies for it being sideways I can't seem to fix it! 


  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,427
    Looking at the style of those houses, wonder if you are in Scotland, they are lovelly by the way, I absolutely lurve grey. Camelias, Fucshias,hydrangias.You've got to add some giant nepeta.  Are they going in pots along the shed?
  • You guessed correctly we are in Scotland! I'm thinking a row of pots along the shed. 

    I'm trying to find something that will be big enough and bright enough to have the dual purpose of hiding the shed and brightening up the area. 

    Ideally I would have a row of cherry laurel but I'm not sure it would grow with no sunlight, plus I think it's poisonous to cats. 

    Camellias might be my answer, although to buy established ones will be pretty expensive I think.

    I'd never heard of giant nepeta, it looks beautiful! Maybe I could put that in a different part of the garden which gets some sun. 

  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,833
    Love the way your cat has found a nice warm spot to sit on!!
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • It's the drain cover  :D he always sits on it! Cats are strange
  • My viburnum Tinus Eve Price grows perfectly in full shade. It’s been flowering since Feb and will be covered in berries in the Autumn and it’s evergreen. 
    Would also agree Camelias are a great choice. Some can be quite fast growing.
    Pryacantha is also a great one for shade. Lovely white flowers and spring and some very pretty berry colours.
    I’ve not looked too much into the pet safe side of things as our pup doesn’t seem to interested.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,234
    I wouldn't worry about it being poisonous to cats, because they won't eat it anyway; but I don't think Cherry Laurel is the right plant anyway - it's just so boring. At least Camellias have lovely flowers albeit they're dull over the summer. I would go for something deciduous like Hydrangea 'Kyushu' and some box balls (or other small rounded evergreen shrubs) at the base.
  • BenCottoBenCotto Posts: 4,278
    My neighbour is a vet. In all her years of experience she says she has never had to deal with a cat who has been poisoned by plants apart from a few instances of lily pollen poisoning. Now over exuberant, inquisitive young dogs ... that’s a different matter.
    Rutland, England
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,427
    Karen, your cat 😸 will have heard of giant nepeta!!
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