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Suggestions for shaded area of shrubs planted to hide fence.

Hi.
Weather has dried up a bit here so able to potter about the garden a bit more and plan out little projects for this year. I'm a bit uncertain about what to do with an area of flowers and shrubs that can be seen from the kitchen window but since it is at the back of the house is not seen very much and is fairly shaded. There are a number of shrubs that have done well and I want to retain but a long lived Erysimum Bowles's Mauve has finally died and needs to be dug out and buttercups need to be removed. I think I need to do something now about the outside corner spot where the Erysimum is being removed from.

The area seems popular with small birds so I want this tidy up to be done fairly soon so I can let them undisturbed over the summer. I had planted a Pieris forest flame that I had hoped would make a good display at the corner in question but after about seven years it has barely grown at all and I am coming around to thinking it may need to go somewhere else where it may benefit from a sunnier position. Regardless of the final position of the Pieris I think it may be worth while getting something new to make the outside corner look better now the Erysimum has died. I posted a video showing the area here and any suggestions as to what to plant there would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance for any responses and taking the time to read this.

Happy gardening!
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  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,067
    You are obviously up to date with your plant names so perhaps you could list them and find out the best time of year to prune or renovate each one. The Erysimum is a short lived plant so that could come out.  Tackle the weeding now as long as soil is not frozen or waterlogged. If you neglect the weeding for one year it will take at least another year to clear. Perhaps you could shape the grass at the edge of the border with a half moon cutter this will make everything tidier. The Pieris seems to have a lot of competition from other plants in the border? Sadly when pruning has been left it can become overwhelming, it will take time to get to what you want. Some things may need rejuvenating or replacing over time.  The is hopefully a start .Good Luck
    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
  • Thanks for the reply. I just looked up pruning for Cistus Alan Fradd now and like the Ceanothus which I had read up about before the advice I found says minimal pruning is best. I'm already decided about doing a bit of weeding, but my main question is what to replace the Erysimum Bowles's mauve with, since the Pieris forest flame has not been developing as I had hoped to be a focal point at that corner of the planting. I'm hoping something colourful on the corner might draw the eye away form the general untidiness at this time of year. Maybe a Pittosporum Tom Thumb might be an option but it may be too shaded there to get the best colour from its leaves so I was hoping someone might have another suggestion for a shrub to provide good colour in winter in a fairly shaded location.

    All the best.
  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 10,998
    I had thought of a Sarcacocca maybe, but if you're looking for colours possibly not what you want. I must say though that they are very good for Winter perfume and also flowers for early bees.
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,971
    Sarcoccocca would be good, although they're quite small so probably suitable as underplanting for a larger deciduous shrub. Choisya is a good medium shrub for shade, it's tolerant of being trimmed back and can take a little shade. I would underplant your shrubs with a ground cover such as Persicaria amplexicaulis and/or Symphytum 'Hidcote Blue', as these will help outcompete the weeds between the shrubs.
  • Thanks for the suggestions. I do like Sarcococca and have a few in the garden but I'd be worried about picking one of those for this spot since there might not be enough contrast with the green of the evergreen Hebe nearby.

    It's not got any leaves at the moment but there is also a yellow leaved spiraea golden princess just next to the spot I want to plant on so I'd be afraid this would not combine well with the bright leaved Choisya which is definitely a good choice for bright colour in winter. Ground cover suggestions are also much appreciated.

    Happy gardening!
  • B3B3 South East LondonPosts: 24,033
    Do you like fuchsias?  Fuchsia magellicanas would do well.  Also fuchsia hawkshead is white and there's a pink one  I can't remember the name of.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • didywdidyw East SuffolkPosts: 2,560
    I would try digging up the Pieris and putting it in a large pot in ericaceous compost and more sun to see how it does.  If you are looking for something to brighten up that area at this time of year, hellebore foetidus would grow to similar proportions as the erysium and look rather splendid.  You have a lot of twiggy things so perhaps something with a contrasting leave shape in there would also perk it up.  Bowles golden grass would work I think.  And underplant with winter aconite where you have all the celandine...
    Definitely hack back the honeysuckle!
    Loved your video and your lovely lilting accent!
  • B3 said:
    Do you like fuchsias?  Fuchsia magellicanas would do well.  Also fuchsia hawkshead is white and there's a pink one  I can't remember the name of.

    Thanks for another suggestion. Fuchsias are nice alright and I have a few types including a white flowered one but I'm not sure what the name of the variety is. The main one I have planted looks like the Fuchsia magellanica but I don't have the variety of this identified for certain either as I got it from my aunt's garden where she wanted me to remove some of it from a wall. I put a big section of root in the ground and it grew into a healthy shrub and I have propagated that from cuttings since then. The problem with these for this spot would be that they don't hold their leaves reliably here over winter. I have some in sheltered spots that had some leaves the last time I looked but the majority I have just have a framework of branches over winter which would work against them being an option for planting here where it is the winter colour that I am looking for. The spot is more exposed to the north than other parts of the garden so I need to find something fairly robust for it to stay healthy. One of the problems with the Pieris forest flame I have planted there is that the cold frequently kills the new growth that has the colour that makes it something good to look at when I have seen it planted elsewhere.

    All the best!
  • didyw said:
    I would try digging up the Pieris and putting it in a large pot in ericaceous compost and more sun to see how it does.  If you are looking for something to brighten up that area at this time of year, hellebore foetidus would grow to similar proportions as the erysium and look rather splendid.  You have a lot of twiggy things so perhaps something with a contrasting leave shape in there would also perk it up.  Bowles golden grass would work I think.  And underplant with winter aconite where you have all the celandine...
    Definitely hack back the honeysuckle!
    Loved your video and your lovely lilting accent!

    I think you are right about the Pieris needing to be moved somewhere more sunny alright but the soil here is a bit acidic naturally so I think I will chance it in the ground somewhere with better light and a bit more shelter from the north and east. Will also be cutting back the honeysuckle. Thanks for those interesting planting suggestions and I will research them a bit more.

    Happy gardening!
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,991
    It's odd that you're having bother with Pieris. They grow very readily here, regardless of weather. Sun isn't great for them though, unless the soil is damp enough. East is also usually fine for aspect - lots of folk here have them in east, or NE facing sites. Perhaps yours was far too exposed. I'd have thought you'd have a good location/climate for them though. They don't need acidic soil either - neutral is fine.  :)
    You haven't said if it's damp or dry shade though. Apologies if I've missed that, but it would be worth creating a proper border and adding the usual stuff to improve it.
    Eleagnus will grow fine in shady spots, and Ilex and Osmanthus too. The O. burkwoodii has small creamy flowers in late winter/early spring. It's not supposed to like colder winds, but mine has been absolutely fine in all weathers. There's several types though.
    Lots of Viburnums would be good - and have flowers from late winter/early spring depending on variety. 
    That 'Hawkshead' fuschsia is 100% hardy. I had it in a previous garden. Very easy, although the flowers are small. It's not like those blousy pink/purple ones. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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