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Ideas for a north facing raised bed

hatty_hatty_ Berkshire, 🇬🇧 Posts: 96
hi everyone!

I have a raised north facing border that I don’t know what to do with. 

I don’t have a huge budget so this far I have filled it with plants that I have begged, borrowed or got cheap at the garden centre. Currently I have some hellebores which seem to be thriving, ajuga, eronymus, white rock (?) and campanula. Plus some other I can’t remember the names of. 

I love gardening and sticking things in to see what happens but this is a bed that gets no direct sunlight. Conscious that I need to choose wisely. 

Does anyone have any good ideas? I love the idea of the ferns? 

Not very good at knowing what goes together… 

Would also love some plants that “tumble” over the wall to break the brick up a bit. 

Thank you!


  • hatty_hatty_ Berkshire, 🇬🇧 Posts: 96

    A better pic
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 4,452
    Alchemilla mollis would be nice, it has lovely foliage and limey yellow frothy flowers that will droop over the edge of the wall if you plant it along the front. Cut right back when the flowers start going brown, and you'll get a fresh clump of leaves. Geranium 'Rozanne' and 'Ann Thompson' would also be nice, they will also billow over the edge of the wall.

    I would space your hellebores out a bit more, and perhaps get some others as they seem to do so well. Along with evergreen ferns such as Harts Tongue Fern, they would provide a bit of winter interest.
  • TheGreenManTheGreenMan Tyne & Wear Green Belt Posts: 1,541
    I was just about to suggest harts tongue. 

    This is one of mine. Not a jot of sun (sits next to the french door facing north). 

  • FireFire LondonPosts: 13,993
    edited 15 March
    There has been recent discussion of stylophorum - related to celandine and poppies - shade loving.

    Also variagated vinca minor. 

    There are some geranium suggestions here for dry, full shade. They might trail nicely. A less vigorous variety would do best, I would think.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,187
    Clematis for the fence - the alpinas in particular will be fine there.
    Iberis [perennial candytuft] and prostrate Gaultheria for the edges, Polemonium, Japanese anemones [the white ones] for some height,and the usual spring bulbs - snowdrops, muscari, crocus etc will all grow in that aspect. Sarcococca. 

    Many Campanulas will grow on edges for tumbling over - poscharskyana for example. It can be a bit of a thug, so you may need to keep an eye on it. It wasn't too much of a problem when I had it. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,149
    @hatty_ Pulmonarias are lovely with spring bulbs. P Diana Clare is very special but most of them do well with some shade. 
    When you are on a budget it is necessary to add to your border bit by bit. As your plants grow lift and split your favourites, spread them out along the border in small groups that way you will tie the whole scheme together. Best not to try and split the hellebores move them as one
    Spacing out the evergreen plants could be something to consider over time that way your border will have shape in winter.
    Think this lovely space will be a great way to increase your knowledge enjoy!

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,187
    I've just been out planting odd bits and pieces in a similar bed. Lamium, native primulas and Pachysandra will all be fine in that aspect, but need enough moisture to be happy. 
    Not a problem here, but your conditions might be different.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • hatty_hatty_ Berkshire, 🇬🇧 Posts: 96
    thank you so much everyone! This is such a wonderful community with so many knowledgeable gardeners. 

    The soil in the border is a bit clay heavy, hope it will be ok. 

    I’m looking forward to researching all the plants everyone has suggested. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,187
    It'll suit many of the plants I mentioned then, and if it's generally drier where you are, the addition of manure and/or leaf mould will help prevent it drying out and cracking, and keep it open and well draining.    :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,149
     Great advice look after your soil first!
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