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Help Choosing Suitable Plants

Hello, I am hoping to do some work on my garden this year but am struggling to work out what plants would be best. My garden is North facing and during spring, summer and autumn the majority of it gets full sun to partial sun/shade. However I've noticed that from November almost the entire garden is in the shadow of the house all day long. One side has 3 tiers and I was hoping to put a flowerbed in next to the fence (west facing) on the middle tier. Originally I was thinking of putting up a trellis with some evergreen clemetis and/or honeysuckle (perhaps star jasmine but I think the frost might be too much for that) and then having some ground covering plants like geraniums underneath. Will these plants be OK with full/afternoon sun for most of the year and then a few months of basically no sun? Any suggestions for plants that may like this environment are also greatly appreciated. 

Top picture is today and is as sunny as the garden gets in Nov-Jan. Second picture is from 20th Sept about 15:00


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 42,384
    Hi @SamClaire. The amount of sun that a plant likes is dictated by summer conditions, so a west facing site would be considered pretty much full sun, unless there's buildings, trees or similar preventing that sun getting in. Most west facing sites would have sections which would be full sun, and some which would be partial shade. 
    I have a north west facing front garden and the fence running down the right hand side would be similar to your site, with the bit nearest the house in partial shade for most of the year. I'd therefore consider the tier you're talking about in your garden would be full sun.  :)
    Whether those plants would be suitable will depend on your location and climate. That jasmine isn't hardy here. There are lots of clematis which will be fine, but I'd avoid honeysuckle, as it needs a reasonable amount of shade through the summer, and also lots of moisture, so unless you have a damper, cooler climate, that could be difficult. 
    Whatever you choose, you'll need a very good, solid support in place. Many clematis cover large areas. For example, a montana would cover that entire fence within a few years. Take a look at specialist sites for info -Taylors Clematis and Thorncroft are both excellent.
    You'll need to spend a bit of time on the bed too. It'll need plenty of organic matter in there, once you remove the turf, to give plants a good start.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thank you Fairygirl for your detailed reply. I'm in South East/Central England. 

    I will have another look at Taylors Clemetis and check out Thorncroft.

    I appreciate your recommendations for some good websites and also your tips on preparing the area. :smile:
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 42,384
    Loads of plants to choose from - which is often the problem!
    Good luck with it, and come back to the forum if you want further ideas or advice etc. Spring bulbs are always a good idea if you have perennials etc alongside any climbers. Too late really for this year, but you'd still get some which are summer flowering, and a chance to plan for next year.
    Peter Nyssen is a very good supplier of bulbs, so it's worth having a look there to get ideas, but there are many other good outlets too    :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • The amount of choice definitely doesn't help! I keep seeing plants I want to grow and have to stop myself because I don't want to add too much to the garden at once when I'm still figuring it all out.

    I will save that supplier for later and maybe plan some bulbs for next year.

    Thanks again for your help.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 42,384
    It's sometimes easier to dismiss ones you don't like   :)
    If there are colours you don't like, or a style of planting, that can make it easier too. It's also good to consider whether you want something to look at in winter from a window. Nothing more depressing than looking at bare soil when you're desperate for spring to come along. 

    We've all been there though :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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