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Ideas for planting at the base of a wall.

RobmarstonRobmarston south walesPosts: 333
We’ve got a really nice dry stone wall that is west facing. We’re in the process of rebuilding it as it was close to collapse. I’d now like some ideas of how best to dress it. I’ve thought of some group 3 clematis here and there, but I’d also like some ideas for planting at the base and anything safe to plant actually in it. The wall is about 3 feet high and about 20ft long. I don’t want to hide the wall at all, but rather show it off and punctuate it with colour. I already have lots of daffs, primroses and crocuses in the spring, but what else would look good there? Picture attached. Excuse the shadow but it should give some idea. 

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  • didywdidyw East SuffolkPosts: 2,552
    What a lovely wall!  I have Erysimum Apricot Twist flowering very nicely against my West facing house wall. It may be a little dry for clematis but I'm sure there are plenty of climbers that will do well there - others more knowledgeable than me will be along to advise.
  • That's gorgeous. I would actually suggest that it will be better without any climber at all. Sometimes you really need a solid and beautiful structural feature to shine, and yours really does. 

    In terms of planting in the cracks, things like Antirrhinum and wallflowers will colonise naturally by seed if you grow them nearby, but avoid Centranthus ruber, whose roots can weaken a wall, and also ivy. You can create a kind of 'plant plug' of Sempervivums and Sedum album and poke those into larger crevices--not all will take hold, but some will, and as I say, I think you want to go minimalist with this.

    So, for example, you could add snapdragons and wallflowers to the mix at the base. I'd aim for fairly low-growing things like these, mixing with daffodils and tulips that have a fairly naturalistic look, like Narcissus 'Thalia' and lily-flowered tulips. If you want to break up the line created by the wall and the hedge behind, how about a single fairly narrow-growing small tree in front of it, to one side, that would provide wonderful autumn colour? Something like Amelanchier 'Robin Hill' might work, or Cercidiphyllum 'Rotfuchs'.
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,964
    I wouldn't do anything to the wall, but use it as a nice backdrop to some perennials, some clumps of tall stuff would work well as 'punctuation' (e.g. Verbascum chaixii 'Album'), surrounded by lower perennials
  • B3B3 South East LondonPosts: 24,022
    Maybe you could poke the odd plant in a few of the cracks
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • SophieKSophieK Wimbledon, LondonPosts: 242
    What a beautiful wall, it's a great feature! I also wouldn't plant clematis or perhaps on a wigwam a bit further from the footing. However, as it's west-facing, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to perennials that will love this position and you could have all the colours of the rainbow.

    I would be tempted to plant a a few lavenders (and why not a hedge of them) as they are evergreen, smell beautiful and bees love them. They also wouldn't be so tall that they hide the wall. The grey-green colour of the foliage would also complement the colour of the stone nicely.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,528
    So long as you plant about 30-45cm (12_18”) from the wall you can plant just about anything. Some clematis or roses on obelisks would be good vertical punctuations without smothering and obscuring the wall. Plants I’ve found can cope with closer planting to the dry base of a south/west facing stone wall here, about 20-30cm, are nandina domestica, berberis ‘rocket’ series, cotoneaster, pyracantha and chaenomeles.
  • RobmarstonRobmarston south walesPosts: 333
    Some great ideas here. Thanks so much. I certainly don’t want to hide the wall as it is a lovely feature (and my partner would kill me!) Just out of the picture at the right end of the wall is a full size maple so I don’t want another tree there. I love the idea of lavender and snap dragons - two of my favourites. I’d like something in the wall but something that won’t damage it. There are some lovely sedums. What about campanula - does that damage a dry wall like this?
  • AthelasAthelas CambridgeshirePosts: 685
    Downderry Nursery has a great variety of hardy lavender plants: https://downderry-nursery.co.uk/

    I think lavender will look great against that wall. Not sure about campanula and wall damage though, I only have mine at the (metal) edge of a raised bed.
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