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planting a raised flower bed

Hi, I'm about to create a raised flower bed with sleepers in my small city garden - it'll be L shaped and possibly tiered too.

The very left hand side will be in totalshade as it will fall alongside a 5ft fence. The top of the L will have moring sun about up to 1pm and the front portions will have a mixture of dappled and sun until the same time.

Soil will be anything I choose, as will be filling it up from scratch.

I had a mad idea to maybe get the lowest part of the L protruding a wee bit into the garden (creating a sort of square with 3 sides-shape) where I could stick a small water feature, like a spherical stone...

Other than that, the only plants I currently own to put in this bed are 1 skimmia (2 yrs old), a 2 yr old Leucothoe, 2 vincas and a small fern.

I've looked at lots of gardening sites and books but I'm still struggling to imagine how exactly to plant this bed up giving it good height at the back (also fenced) and a nice arranegment.

I love foliage and maybe some colour all year round. Thinking of adding Lysimachia, Helleborus, black grass...any other ideas? Would a red palmate acer I already have in a pot be ok to share a bed with other plants? What about good climbers as a backdrop on the trellis/fence? Nothing too vigorous (I had to take out a purple solanum last year as it went out of control).

Has anyone themed their raised bed with certain colours? I partucularly like silvers/purples/blues/whites with splashes of orange or yellow.

Any photos of your raised beds would be great - thank you image





  • ThaiGerThaiGer Posts: 165

    Hello, HERE you can have a look for raised beds. We have no flower beds, but some very old raised herb/vegies beds. I must no have it; they stay since 15 years and so we used it for some herbs, it's better for the back of old papa/mama. Look THIS. Greetings, ThaiGer.

  • thanks Thai image


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,068

    For the shade bit what about hostas and brunnera? There is a brunnera called "Jack Frost" with silver frosted leaves and little blue forget-me-not flowers in spring. Hostas have lovely foliage, in all sizes, some variegated, some with purple flowers, wome white flowered.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,817

    There are new clemaris that would soften it and are very small The variety 'Cezanne' is shade tolerant, but there are others They trail rather than climb You could also plant it up with summer bulbs for a different look.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,349

    I'd be wary of the vinca and the lysimachia, they have ideas of world dominance. I like the hosta/ brunnera scheme, which will give some of the silver you'd like. The black grass I find becomes a little less black in shade, quite green if really overshadowed. Various cyclamen are always good for shade. 

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • kate1123kate1123 Posts: 2,815


    @ilovemonty not a raised bed but a square bed, I have gone for 3 layers, in the front I have evergreens, a hebe and some Erysimum 'Bowles's Mauve. The second layer is seasonal flowers in the photo it is Dahlias but now it has daffodils. In the third layer I have climbers the photo shows sweet peas but I am hoping to take a cutting of an evergreen clematis 'Freckles'.

    As you can spot it has a red and pink theme.

  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,817

    Beware 'Freckles' in that bed - I have always found it quie a thug 

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,349

    Agree, but not much flowering for all the growth in my garden. 

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • some great ideas and thanks for the photo!

    @ Busy L: I love hostas but the snails in my garden are achieving world dominance and the hostas get trashed in a week, no matter what measures I take image

    @Nut: is vinca minor as bad? I have a small white vinca minor...

    @Kate: gorgeous! I love the height you've achieved at the back.

    Brunnera and Erisymum to be investigated now - off to Google image

  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,817

    My prefernce is not to grow any vinca. If not kept in check can take years to eradicate - voice of experience.

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