A perennial for a shady, long and very narrow border

DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 58,635

Along the path from the front to the back garden we have a very narrow border - it is 6" wide and 5 metres long (I know, I'm being ecumenical image).  

It faces North,north-west; half of it is against our neighbours' brick garage wall and the other half is against a 1m high brick wall.  

I'd like to have something climbing up there but I know the neighbours don't want that, so I just want some ideas for a plant or plants that will cover the narrow strip of soil with some colour and texture and look good. 

The soil is sandy loam.

The colours in the front garden are blues, plums, rusts and soft yellows. 

I've pulled up all the trailing campanula that was there 'cos it always got tall and flopped over onto the path before it flowered.

At the moment I'm thinking Ajuga, but I thought you lot might have some other suggestions? image

“I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh



  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,217

    Cotoneaster horizontalis?

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • philippa smith2philippa smith2 Posts: 8,087

    I have a North facing bed which contains established Bay, Willow and Mallow.  They are drawn up due to the boundary wall/fence........about 1.5 to 2 mt high. Also a beautiful Pineapple Broom (C. batt.) which is now high enough to reach the sun and smells fantastic.   I've  pruned all  to try and form a canopy and give the actual border a bit more light and so far have found that Heucheras do quite nicely...........both the yellow, dark purple and, more recently a pale rusty colour.  I also have the Ajuga with the black leaf........the foliage can "disappear" a bit  (particularly against my mulch of shreddings ) but the blue of the flowers is sufficiently vibrant to make it worthwhile. 

    I also have hardy fuchsias, ferns, prims, cranesbill etc. as well as various bulbs. 

    I haven't had your soil type so perhaps most of these wouldn't do too well for you but I find all ideas are grist to the mill.  Be interested to know what you finally decide on because my patch is ongoing and perhaps I can filch/adapt some of your ideasimage  Oh yes, the blue tits love the C. battimage 

  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 7,629

    Euphorbia purpurea is ideal for dry shade, and the colour would fit

    Some grasses do well in shade; Bowles golden grass, Stipa arundicea[ good rust colours ] and Deschampsia are possibilities.

    Vincas a bit dull perhaps?

    Persicaria Red Dragon will take quite a lot of shade, and the leaf colour is good [ although white flowers late in the season ]

    Ageritina Chocolate has lovely foliage and grows well in shade in my garden [ again white flowers ]

    Maybe a fern such as the Dryopteruses [?dryopteri ] do well in dry shade.

    Time is never time at all
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  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 3,967

    The old stalwart of Alchemilla mollis will do well in dry shade as will Pachysandra, Epimedium, Francoa, and some of the saxifrages. Tiarella and Pulmonarias will also do ok. Are you intending to plant all of it using just the one type of plant? or a mixture?

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 58,635

    We have lots of ferns, alchemilla, pulmonarias and vinca in other parts of the garden. 

    The euphorbia is something I hadn't thought of image

    Saxifrage is another idea.

    I had thought that keeping to one plant would probably give a bit of impact, as the bed's so narrow.  

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • philippa smith2philippa smith2 Posts: 8,087

    Sorry Dove............I read your 6 inches as 6 footimage

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 58,635

    I did wonder image  I wish - I'd love to find a place for C batt.  I have very fond memories of it in a lovely pub garden image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Mrs GMrs G Posts: 336

    I have a narrow pebbled area with just Ajuga in and it looks very effective.

  • rosemummyrosemummy Posts: 2,010

    Sarcacocca?daphne? I read of a daphne 100cm x 100cm sorry can?'t remember which one to is, those New Zealand busy lizzies that didn't succumb to disease?

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 19,430

    I would add as much well rotted manure as you can before planting anything so it helsp retain moisture and feeds your plants.

    Hardy geraniums such as macrorhizum would do well and provide form and colour all year form the changing foliage and then the flowers in spring.  Scented leaves too.   Pulmonaria Sissinghurst would be OK as long as you can give it enough moisture and the white flowers and spotty leaves would brighten things up.   Brunnera with silvery markings on the foliage.   You could try ferns in the dryopteris group if you want to break up the straight edge and get some height.  Maybe some taller Japanese anémones for later flowers and good foliage.    I'd have thought Persicaria virginiana 'Lance Corporal' would do well too.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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