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Ideas for for fast growing, cheap, wildlife friendly space filler

I have a bed which was infested with weeds which my husband decided to clear before I’d come up with a plan for it. It’s a large space but not in a very prominent area so I’m looking for stuff that will fill space quickly and is cheap.  We may do building work in that area in a few years so want to be low maintenance and quick growing as don’t want to be constantly tending that area of garden. It’s partial shade, sandy, ericaceous soil. I’m trying to be as wildlife friendly as possible so stuff the bees and birds like would be fab too. Thanks! 

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Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,245
    Are you looking for perennials, annuals or shrubs? Or a mix?
    Budget? Small or large?
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 4,453
    edited August 2021
    Phacelia from seed would be good for something fast cheap and great for pollinators.. but it does need a bit of sun.

    Persicaria amplexicaulis would work in partial shade, is great for bees and a good weed suppressant. You'd have to buy plants, but if you plant in 9cm pots, at say 45cm centres, they'll mesh together by this time next year. (If you keep them well watered until Autumn). Alternatively you could buy large 3L plants and split them in the Autumn.

    You could also start some Hesperis matronalis off from seed for a spring display, although it's getting a bit late to be sowing it now. It's a biennial but will self seed if allowed.

    The ground cover comfreys would be good, and will spread quickly. They will smother weeds but can also take over the bed so you may have to control their spread a bit. They are excellent bee plants and start flowering early.
  • coccinellacoccinella LuxembourgPosts: 195
    If you like it you could try winter ericas (which should be in the garden centres soon) as they like acidic soils and are very good for insects. They do need a little moisture though.
    When down go out and buy a packet of seeds
  • Fairygirl said:
    Are you looking for perennials, annuals or shrubs? Or a mix?
    Budget? Small or large?
    Definitely not annuals as it’s a bed that needs to be low maintenance so can’t plant each year. Mix of shrubs and perennials but ones that don’t grow too high. Thanks 
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,547
    pulmonaria, early flowering bulbs like narcissus and crocus, oriental poppies, erysimum, foxgloves, hardy geraniums, geums, hebes, marjoram, aquilegia, penstemon, crocosmia, liriope, echinops, buddleia (might be too tall), asters, japanese anemones, potentilla fruticosa, fuchsia and I think that'll see you back round to the early bulbs.  :)
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • Wildflower seeds. They love poor soil. Plenty of sources of good quality native wildflowers seeds. Clear the ground. Spread the seed. Water. Leave! Easy!
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,547
    Wildflower seeds. They love poor soil. Plenty of sources of good quality native wildflowers seeds. Clear the ground. Spread the seed. Water. Leave! Easy!
    Until next year, when all you'll get are the weeds you thought you'd cleared and a couple of ox eye daisies
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,036
    edited August 2021
    Euphorbias. Woodruff - spreads fast. Heuchera are lovely but the foliage appreciates a clean up now and again - pollinators love the flowers. Ivy leaf hellebores are great, but might not do that well on such free draining soil. Hellebore x hybridus might be good. Lots of iris reticulata for the early spring - minimal scraggy foliage to die back.


    Alchemilla mollis.
  • bullfinchbullfinch SurreyPosts: 526
    Hardy geraniums, I have one that doesn't die back in winter, the leaves turn reddish, and it has pink flowers in about May. It spreads like anything, I have to keep pulling chunks of it out. It might be called macrorrhizum 🤔
  • Thanks everyone. After a disappointing visit to my local garden centre today I’ve just done an online shop using these suggestions and looking forward to trying out some new plants! Might actually give this bed more love than I’d been intending!
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