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Tough, thirsty plants

I live in an old stone house. There are a couple of particular areas that get rising damp due to sandstone walls. I'd like to try and reduce the moisture level in the soil with some plants. Ideally evergreen, as keen to drink as possible but also fairly tough and tolerant.

East facing but fairly sheltered. North east UK.

Any suggestions?
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  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,117
    @jonathan.cole I am not entirely sure that plants will do this for you? Is the area still very damp in the height of summer?
    One group of plants that come to mind are the Persicarias but not evergreen. Cornus would give winter interest. The problem with alot of evergreens is size and proximity to the wall.
    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.
  • Dry in summer. It's very localised so I was hoping something might help pull water out of the soil in that area and just reduce the dampness a bit.

    I'm also probably going to try clearing some of the soil against the foundation stone but I'm loathe to dig around it too much in case that leads to movement.

    Thanks for your suggestions. I shall have a look.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,548
    I’m not sure plants are the solution either, Jonathan. it’s not really a good idea to plant thirsty evergreen shrubs etc., next to a wall, particularly if you are on clay, they might suck up more water than you want and undermine the footings.

    I also live in an old sandstone house that is built on rock with soft mortar and no dpc or dpm. The usual solution here is to remove all soil within a perimeter strip around the house walls and pave it with a slight fall away from the walls. This is what I have apart from in one small area where there is a decent soil depth (no rocks). There I planted a wisteria, which is fairly tough but it’s the only area where I have a matching damp patch inside the house!
  • I'll try clearing a bit round the stones. Unfortunately the whole hill ends up like a sodden sponge in winter time.

    The comment about undermining the footings is what got me thinking. If some plants dry it out so much that it affects foundations, maybe there's something I can use to take the edge off a bit.

    Oh well. I shall ponder.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,548
    It is a tricky one to make further suggestions without seeing it, but if the problem is localised, is there any way of digging a drainage ditch or French drain to divert the water away from the wall before it reaches it or digging a sump pit away from the foundations? Or planting a decent distance away from the wall to soak it up? On one corner of my house where the land slopes toward it, I sunk a drainage channel running parallel to the skinny paved area and sweeping around the corner into a planted bed and that really helps divert excess water. We can get monsoon-like rain for weeks here and there is little soil depth on the rocky land to soak it up.
  • Unfortunately it's not a case of getting very wet when it rains. Just that the ground gets sodden over winter. Surface water is hopefully already redirected.
  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 7,132
    It's always best to supply a photo of the area, but do you think it's evergreen ground cover plants that you want?  the type that will not have roots deep enough to affect foundations, but rooty enough to dry out the top?  spreading, matt/dome forming?..  if so I can recommend a couple that will quickly cover ground and tolerate everything..
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,976
    Unfortunately plants will not suck water out during the winter, as they're mostly just ticking over in dormancy. Even evergreen ones aren't transpiring that much. They will dry the ground out in summer, but that will potentially just cause movement as the ground shrinks and swells over the season.
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 13,027
    I really don’t think plants are the solution to your problem.
    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,443
    We had French drains put in at one end of our old stone French farmhouse. The house was built on a slope and at the higher end the inside was lower than the outside. In winter water even leaked through the wall into the corner of the sitting room.

    The men who did it dug a ditch along the outside of the wall, put in a perforated drain and filled it with course gravel. It solved the problem.

    Plants won't work, they are thirsty in summer and dormant in winter so not drinking much.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
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