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Plant(s) ideas needed, dry full shade, chalk-like alkaline soil

sharanshrubssharanshrubs Maidenhead, UKPosts: 50
Hi, I have a tricky spot in my garden which is full shade, very dry chalk-like soil I believe due to the neighbour's conifer behind the fence (the rest of the border is loam). The irrigation pipe is not working as its proved impossible to get water butt connection there.
I planted a tiny Viburnum Lisa Rose there in Spring but it doesn't look happy at all.

I would really like to plant something here. Requirements are:
full shade
alkaline soil ph 7-8 but could possibly be higher in this spot.
chalk like soil. soil is dry due to the conifer
shrubs preferred but perennials considered
height: 1.5-3m
spread: 1-2m
I don't want a climber as I don't want anything to stick to the fence!

Im planting a mahonia next to it.

Would daphnes, weigelas, ferns, fuchsias bleeding heart/dicentra or another type of viburnum thrive? or do they need some moisture in the soil? Thank you.
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  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 2,311
     @sharanshrubs All plants need some moisture, I think that you will need to add compost before you start so that plants stand a chance. Shrubs are a particular problem as are any plants with height.
    You have suggested ferns some like a moist soil and some are happy in dry. I love Polystichum setiferum I have three plants en mass which works well with Asarum europaeum. Also epimediums and Geranium phaeum are worth considering. Geranium macrorrhizum White Ness is another. The flowering will be over at the end of spring when a dry border can become very untidy. Euonymous is a possible, the variegated forms will not be so vibrant in shade but should be ok.

    I do think all the above comes with a warning, I wouldn't spend money on expensive Daphne's. This will be trial and error to see what works and it will still need water when established. 
    The process of making a garden is like a river running through your life.
    The place stays the same but the water, even in the stillest days always moves.
    Monty Don.
  • sharanshrubssharanshrubs Maidenhead, UKPosts: 50
    Thanks @GardenerSuze. What compost would you suggest I add?
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 2,311
    @sharanshrubs I think it is a case of anything you can get your hands on to help retain moisture.
    The process of making a garden is like a river running through your life.
    The place stays the same but the water, even in the stillest days always moves.
    Monty Don.
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 12,181
    No one as yet, has pointed out, that the bed shown is nothing like in full shade.
    Consequences, altered cases
    Broken noses, altered faces
    My ego altered, altered egos
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  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,994
    Hardy fuchsias, the magellanica types, will probably be OK there if watered well until they're established. They're not particularly fussy plants.
  • bédébédé Surrey Hills, acid greensand.Posts: 420
    As puncdoc has said: this is not "full shade".  Which way does it face?  How much sun does it get?

    I would dig out as many of the conifer's roots on your  side as possible.

    It seems to be near the house.  Perhaps a few herbs: rosemary, sage, lavender, greyleaved plants.
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,790
    edited 22 September
    The bed looks more like what I'd call bright shade, i.e. open to the sky but on a north side of a fence. Possibly semi-shade as it must get a few hours of sun in summer time?

    So, improve the soil as suggested. Good dry shade/semi shade performers for me are Sarcoccocca confusa, tough ferns like Dryopteris erythrosora and Asplenium scolopendrium, and perennials like Eurybia divaricata, Geranium x cantabrigiense, and Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Alba' (surprised by how drought tolerant the Persicaria has been; but it would not be so tolerant if it was in sun).

    I think the suggestion of Fuchsia is a good one, they do seem to tolerate surprisingly hostile conditions from fairly deep shade to hot and dry. I would plant a big one - forget about planting some tiny 9cm thing from Morrisons and expecting it to thrive. Get one with a decent established root system. I would advise mulching and right underneath the conifer, the conditions are going to be pretty extreme, so I think you'll have to provide additional water.
  • sharanshrubssharanshrubs Maidenhead, UKPosts: 50
    The border is west-facing.
    Summer time shade and sun is as follows (my apologies the area is not 'full shade' all of the time):

    Full shade: 7am-1pm 
    Full sun: 1pm-4pm
    Full shade: 4pm-7pm.

    Any further suggestions much appreciated. All advice so far greatly appreciated!!
  • bédébédé Surrey Hills, acid greensand.Posts: 420
    Thanks.  "Full shade"has a gardeners' definition, meaning no sky straight above.

    If you want fuchsias, I would wait ubtil next sring.  Make sure it's a hardy type.  My favourite is Mrs Popple.
  • sharanshrubssharanshrubs Maidenhead, UKPosts: 50
    So would you call it partial shade? Semi-shade? 
    Thanks 
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