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Shrub/tree ideas for new part-shade border

We have built a raised bed frame (5m wide, 1m deep and 1 scaffold board high but with access to (clay) soil below) and will be filling it with a soil-based compost in the next couple of weeks. 

I'm after some suggestions for shrubs or trees:

  • that add height (I'd like at least one plant to reach or just exceed the height of the 6ft fence that runs along the length of it)
  • that add structure/all year foliage
  • that are wildlife/insect friendly
The area gets morning sun, is half in the sun over lunchtime before then being in the shadow of a fence for the rest of the day. There's no other existing canopy. We do not own the fence. I hope to mix foxgloves, astrantias and ferns for low/mid level interest and colour. 

I'd love to hear your suggestions!
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need"


  • Slow-wormSlow-worm Posts: 1,576
    Apart from the 3 you mentioned..
    Fatsia Japonica
    Bleeding Heart
    Solomon's Seal..
  • How about a Bay bush.. you can use the leaves for cooking with too..
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,811
    Is there room to have many shrubs/trees that get to 6 feet? Most of them will also have a fair bit of spread. You'd only have room for about three in that length - is that ok for what you want to achieve?
    Amelanchiers and Sorbus [Rowans/mountain ash not Whitebeam] will certainly achieve the height, although the rowans will need good, consistent moisture levels. You'll need adequate moisture to have the lower level planting thriving too, once the taller shrubs/trees are growing. Flowers/berries for insects and birds. Autumn colour too. Not evergreen though.
    Pyracantha will grow in shade and can be pruned against walls/fences, as can many Cotoneasters. Berberis - there are evergreen and deciduous varieties. Ilex [holly] will also be fine. You could mix any of those with the previous deciduous trees. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thanks for all your suggestions so far, they're great! I should say that I'm not looking to fill the whole bed with shrubs or trees as I want to also include the plants I previously listed, so yes @Fairygirl, up to three (or maybe event one statement plant) is what I'm considering.
    "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need"
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