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Any Ideas what to do with this?

Hello everyone,

I've finally got around to building a small raised bed along the back garden fence. The garden is south facing and so the fence and border you see is North facing. It doesn't get much direct sun, if any.

The reason I've raised it is that it's quite wet at the back there and we are in a clay soil area so I thought giving it some extra height and digging in well rotted manure should improve things. I've planted a Morello Cherry tree in the centre rear position of the border but I thought it'd be nice to plant up the rest of the bed with flowers. Initially I was thinking about a lovely tulip bed but the problem is that it is north facing.

Does anyone have any ideas of anything similar to tulips that would grow there and look good?

Thanks for looking,



  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 319
    Hello there, your garden does look bright so if there's enough light for your Morello Cherry there'll be lots of options for planting below.  Tulips will grow in that situation but they will probably flower later than normal.  They are really a Spring feature so will give you colour for up to about six weeks, depending on which varieties you choose. 

    Some additional structure in your bed, particularly evergreen would give you more permanent interest such as topiary of box balls or cones.  You could underplant these with shade tolerant plants like hardy geraniums (cranesbills) which form attractive domes and also sprawl or cascade depending on the variety.  I like Geranium Rozanne for its long flowering period and bright blue flowers - there are many others to choose from. Other shade tolerant plants include a grass, Hakonechloa, which is deciduous and will add texture and movement to your planting. You could also consider evergreen ferns for ground cover.

    Here's a GW link for other suggestions for shade tolerant plants:

    The Best Shade-Loving Plants - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine (

    I hope this helps.
  • Edward.francisEdward.francis Posts: 77
    edited 12 January
    Thank you some great ideas there and I do like Box and Geraniums. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 42,382
    I'd be wary of box if you're in the south where the moth and blight are rampaging through it.
    Load of plants are suitable, depending on the look you want. Perennials mixed with bulbs is the easiest route. There are lots of evergreen groundcover and taller plants which will suit as well, unless you want a more formal look with topiary, in which case there are better plants than box to get that.   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 319
    If you are worried about box @Edward.francis (I've been lucky and grown it without any problems here), there's another alternative, a holly, Ilex crenata, which has a similar look to box. They are a little pricey to buy as topiary but worth the investment.  I forgot to mention that if you want tulips this year it is too late to source and plant good bulbs but most garden centres stock a range of potted bulbs that are ready to plant now - they'll give you some Spring colour.  Enjoy your planting!
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