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raised flower bed plants - ideas please!

That's it really: I have a west-facing (and a little eat sun first thing) L shaped raised bed (sleepers) with in it a Mexican Orange Blossom, an Acer palmatum, Iceberg rose, a hebe, lithospermum plus some geums, anemones and a honeysuckle that has never flowered after 2 years! There's a big gap next to my Mexican OB - am looking for a nice tall bush, good shape, which will also hide some of the corner of the fence behind it. The soil is free draining, a bit of clay. No idea as to pH. Had considered Cornus Alba with the yellow leaves and brilliant red stems, but will it be too enormous next to Mexican OB and possibly have leaves that are also too similar? (yellow and green and size) - liked the idea of some winter stem colour though...wondering if there are Cornuses with purple leaves...

Other option is moving the Acer to gain even more space and sticking a Fuji cherry  in there which grows to may 2.5m but the soil isn't ericaceous...

Or a sword-shaped leafed plant? 

Any ideas on good shrubs, not too slow growing, possibly deciduous if they have good stems, that will fill this gap?

I am stuck!




  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

    Bit confused here- you asked this the other dayimage

    and had some answersimage

    This is a bit hard to visualise on paper -why not post a photo then people can see what they are looking at to save duplicating suggestions?image

  • The other day was for another bed in a different part of garden - which hasn't been built yet and is as such a clean slate. Different soil, different aspect. This is for an existing bed I am stuck on. Digital camera on the blink hence lack of photos and phone not good enough qualoty to take pic.

  • How mature are these plants? This sounds like a large raised bed that is already pretty well-stocked. If the gap wil fill itself with time, it might be an idea to use herbaceous perennials. Is the honeysuckle going to get pretty large? I have a big raised bed, built alongside the drive to disguise the ancient shed next door, and tall trellis behind it, which after three or four years is now covered with rampant evergreen  honeysuckle that I have to cut back regularly. I planted quite a lot in it initially, but every year the planting gets simpler because  the plants get bigger.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 22,646

    What about photinia Red Robin? It's evergreen and has red flushes.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Good point G Grandma - yes I suppose the bed is quite well stocked, but at the moment the honeysuckle is pruned back to a foot above ground level and there are a few herbacious perenneials. The gap that exists is quite apparent now the acer has no leaves, and the honesuckle has never flowered sadly - no idea why - maybe too hot a site for it...the Mexican OB is about 60cm tall and almost as wide (has also never flowered and is 2 yrs old) - just wondering if something evergreen or at least with winter colour could be pursuaded to plug the gap whilst the other shrubs grow across!

    Thanks BL - had never considered photinia - you see, that's why I come on these forums because there is so much to learn!


    Thanks both for respondingimage

  • i don't mean to be a prophet of doom (honest!) but photinia, which are lovely, need slightly acid soil and don't do well in my garden, which is neutral to alkaline. Another thing - I have an acer in one border which is now five feet or so tall and its gorgeous shape means that nothing much can be planted under it or too close to it, or the effect is lost. This year, I will have to dig it out or dedicate the border to it and plant everything else simply to give it a background.

    Please forgive me if you already know this, but the honeysuckle needs pruning according to its type and there is informatin about this on If it is a climber it can be hard pruned in early spring but some honeysuckles need to be pruned in late summer because they flower on this year's growth and if you cut them back in spring they won't flower this year.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 22,646

    That's funny because my photinia is growing in alkali limestone soil, but I did dig in a lot of rotted manure. I thought what they don't like is badly drained soil. I can't grow Japanese maples because of my alkali soil, but my photinia is doing well. I'm talking about "Red Robin", not one of the other ones. Here's what the RHS says:-

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Busy-Lizzie, I stand corrected. I'll have to stop avoiding it. Maples grow in my garden! So do conifers. Heathers, rhododendrons and azaleas are an absolute no-no, except for winter flowering heather. They just sicken. My soil is fairly neutral but must be on the alkaline side because I've had enough failures to stop me from attempting anything that likes acidic soil. I haven't done well with photinias so far.

  • Thanks Ladies image

    I had thought about possibly putting the acer in a new bed, along with the photinia or pieris, and making that bit of the bed (it's going to be slightly tiered) ericaceous...but not sure yet.

    Good point about the acer taking over - mine (apparently!) is only 3 ft high at most so I'm hoping it won't turn into some rampant tree!

    Re my honeysuckle - I had no idea GG! Mine was pruned hard back almost to the ground in autumn...I do know that they light their base to be in the shade (which it was) but also that they grow in forests and like some shade - mine is in full sun and I think that bed got too dry perhaps...shall be moving that too...

    Infact, come some better weather, half my tiny garden will be in transition image

    Off to read all your links - thanks!\



  • Moving things about is half the fun! My garden is tiny,too, and in a way, that makes it harder because there is no space for tings to spread out and it is quite hard to create good order and structure. you have to be quite creative, which is challenging but very satisfying. I hope your garden turns out wonderfully well.

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