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Wisteria/Honeysuckle Dominating

Hi all, I’d welcome some advice on what to do to counter a wisteria and honeysuckle taking all the moisture and nutrients from the bed. Plants that thrive in other parts of the garden just don’t do well in that bed. Any watering/feeding patterns or plants that would do well in there would be great. Things that have been ok - Hostas, heuchera, hollyhocks, peony. Things that don’t do well at all - echinacea, sedum, rudbeckia. Delphiniums don’t tend to return either.


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,119
    edited September 2021
    Hi @Gary Burgess - I think the problem is just the sheer amount of plants for the size of the space. 
    The two climbers will really impact on the amount of available moisture. Some plants will cope better with that than others. 
    I'm slightly surprised sedums aren't thriving, because they grow in quite poor dry soil, and cope with a bit of shade without too much problem, and peonies need sun to do well, although the bog standard rubra one will cope almost anywhere.  :)
    The others on your second list all need a good bit of sun, so it's possibly too dry and shady for them, Rudbeckias are often just annuals too, and some Echinaceas are short lived. Delphiniums need quite a bit of moisture, and they can cope with some shade, but they're also very attractive to slugs when they appear in spring, so that might be the main reason for them struggling to come back. 

    Have a look at this nursery for ideas - they specialise in shade loving plants
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336
    Apart from adding as much organic matter as possible to the soil and watering more often, I really don't think there's much you can do other than use drought-tolerant plants, as you are finding.  Both the honeysuckle and the wisteria require huge amounts of water and will continue to out-compete most things.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Jac19Jac19 Worthing, South Coast of EnglandPosts: 496
    edited September 2021
    I had the same problem close to my trees because the ground is root logged.  I put a raised bed in there.  Took this big planter, sawed out the bottom.  Then dug into the root logged ground as much as possible, put in some compost in there, but the top of the hole I filled with about 3 inches of bark-wood chip. 

    Then I put the planter on top of the wood chip layered hole, and filled it up with a peat based compost, John Innes No 3, and sand all mixed together.  Then put my plants in the container.

    That way my plant has the raised bed soil area to get established all to themselves and, established and invigorated and prompted by gravity, they send strong roots down into the ground and fight it out in there.

    The layer of bark and wood chipping fools the tree roots and their roots will not come up into the planter/raised bed.

    I have a wood planter here, but I have done the same with plastic planters with the bottom sawed out elsewhere.  These planters can be cheap ones if you wish.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,119
    You might get things like Brunnera and Epimediums to thrive if you do as @BobTheGardener suggests. It's really the only way to get the soil more suitable.  :)
    Pachysandra might do well too, but it needs enough moisture to do well. 

    Don't forget  things like Colchicums [autumn crocus] and the hardy cyclamens for this time of year too. They're excellent in those sorts of sites. Lots of ferns will be fine too  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,195
    Would it be possible to make that bed a bit larger?  
    I can’t make out what is in front of it … lawn or paving? .., but if the front edge came out just a foot it would give the smaller plants so much more root room and also more soil to hold more moisture. 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,119
    It looks like a little raised bed next to grass @Dovefromabove.
    It would certainly help to have bit of extra  room to give more scope  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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