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Inspiration please - What to plant under my acer?

Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,277
I have a beautiful acer palmatum dissectum in my front garden. 
I've recently planted 12 pittosporum golf ball around the edge of my drive, but I'd like to underplant the area with something.
There used to be masses of bluebells, but I pulled them out last year just as they were coming into flower and barely any have appeared this year.
I put a weed membrane down about 20 years ago and it's still intact (I guess the bluebells were growing on top of the membrane as they were so easy to remove).

The ground does get good sunlight for a while during spring until the tree comes into leaf, then it's shaded until the leaves drop.
I was thinking mostly about spring flowering plants/bulbs (primroses and snowdrops), but if there's anything that would grow there in summer that would be a big bonus too.

Pics taken yesterday
Looking North

From the footpath - looks a bit drab
Looking South

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.


  • B3B3 Posts: 25,217
    Pulmonaria has self seeded under mine
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • I have Tiarella and ferns under my hedge. Also Heucheras? Might be too dry for all of these, though. There are some hardy geraniums that might work, too.

    PS lucky you to have such a beautiful acer!
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,233
    Eurybia divaricata would be worth a try, it spreads gently if happy, would combine well in the same space as spring bulbs. Copes with dry shade. Hakonechloa would also look nice.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,277
    Thanks all - your suggestions will give me a chance to experiment a bit and see what will grow there.
    I've got white and blue pulmonaria which isn't happy where it is in the back garden, so I'll move them.
    I've always liked Tiarella, but not thought I had a place for it - so I'll try some of them and ferns will look good I think.
    I've got 10 hakonechloa in the back garden so I could divide them next year and pop some in the front.
    I like the aster too - I think Monty has them in his garden.
    Your suggestions will add a lot more interest then just primroses and snowdrops - much appreciated :)
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • B3B3 Posts: 25,217
    Had a look under my Acer and this is what I found:
    Geranium mac.
    Euphorbia wulfenii
    box ( the remains of a box hedge I meant to dig out. One of the plants cut down to sticks is growing nicely until it succumbs to blight again -not recommended!)
    All self seeded apart from box.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,277
    Thanks @B3 I've got loads of self-seeded aquilegia in the back garden, I'll be digging up a few self-seeded seedlings and moving them.
    Great idea that didn't occur to me
    Geraniums are good too

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 2,279
    edited August 2021
    If you have any gaps to fill after the excellent selections mentioned above, I recommend including anemone blanda in your September bulb planting - they will reward you with cheerful blue flowers and are not thugs like bluebells!
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,277
    That's a lovely idea @Plantminded - thanks for the suggestion
    A property around the corner has a big gravel drive that is smothered in them in Spring it really is a sight to behold when the sun is out.
    I think they'd look lovely planted around the pittosporums with snowdrops and I'm grateful for all the other ideas too.
    I'm looking forward to planting that area up in the autumn and I didn't realize I already have many of the plants I need - they're just not in the right place atm :)

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Sorry to butt in. Just wanted to say this is a great thread as I have the same. I’m just about to do something about an unsightly boring patch. But wasn’t to sure what I could plant there. Some great ideas. This is my patch

    Loam wasn’t build in a day 🌻
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    I've got bitten by the heuchera bug. The ones I have seem to be very drought tolerant and seem to thrive grow in bone dry ground.

    I wonder how thalictrum would do in the shade...
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