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Garden Problem Area

Hi, I have a problem area in my garden, it is at the bottom of the garden, in shade most of the time. There is also a well established Walnut tree growing there. My problem is that nothing seems to gro there very well, except for weeds (geranium type and some sort of creeping low ground level sticky weed), most things I have tried to grow there fail or get eaten by wild rabits. However I have two Heucherras which grow wuite well (though looking sorry for themselves at the moments after the snow) and I have five more in pots waiting to be strong enought to plant out.

Does anyone have any suggestions for what I could grow in this shady spot. The soil is not the best and someone in the past seems to have dumped coal into it (unless I have my own seam in the garden) so it may help to improve it with some compost or organic fertiliser. I do plan to put my five new Heucheras in there too in a landscaped pattern with some raised higher than the others. I am also trying to grow to Japanese Maples however they're little more than twigs at the moment and another favorite of the rabits (they're surrounded by pots at the moment to keep them away) and I have new Winter Jasmine plants growing up a trellis on the back fence (if the nettles in the adjacent field allow them).

If anyone has any suggestions of how to beautify this shady area please let me know. I can put a couple of pictures up if it helps.



  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,299

    Get as much compost in there as you can, you need bulk as much as nutrients.

    Things I have growing in poor shady soil are Geranium macrorrhizum in various colours, Lamium maculatum,  Hypericum androsaemum, that one is very good, seeds around a bit but isn't invasive like the rose of sharon hypericum. Tellima grandiflora, very willing and seeds about

    Early bulbs, snowdrops, aconites, narcissi. Cyclamen hederifolium for late summer/autumn. Cyclamen coum for winter. 

    See how the heucheras go but they might need something a bit better, as might the maples.

    There's something in the back of my mind about walnuts and growing under them. I'm sure someone will know what it is. I have things under a walnut but it's not mature, only 15years from the nut.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,817

    I haad a really problem area under a large holly, it was dry and very shady.and what ever I put in died on me In desperation I took lots of cuttings from an erisymum, just the common one, and they grew quite successfully. Nice flowers, attact insects, attractive silvery/grey foliage., don't need much looking after.

    Don't know about rabbits thoughimage

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 22,619

    Walnut trees produce something called juglone which a lot of plants don't like and can even be killed by. Here is a site that explains and tells you what you can plant under them.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • saltskisaltski Posts: 50

    Thanks for the link Busy-Lizzie, I have a couple of the species listed (Japanese Maple) though this is only very small at the moment (just 8" tall with no leaves following the winter). When the better weather comes I will assess the damage and see what still lives, it may be that the only survivors are my Heucherras (which are also tollerant), in which case I will replant with those listed below.

    Reference for myself and any other viewers, from the above link:

    Arborvitae, catalpa, clematis, crabapple, daphne, euonymous, forsythias, hawthorn, hemlock, hickory, honeysuckle, junipers, black locust, Japanese maple, pachysandra, pawpaw, persimmon, redbud, rose of Sharon, wild rose, viburnum or Virginia creeper.

  • saltskisaltski Posts: 50

    Thanks for the info Verdun, I have considered ferns before but not invested in any. I have two Japanese Maples that are growing, albeit slowly, but it'll be a while before they're big. I think one of the biggest problems I've had is that I've tried to grow from small plants that are just not well established when they're planted out and don't react very well to the environment, maybe I should try some larger plants (though this costs more and therefore will be a bigger loss if they then fail).

    For reference this is the area of the garden, the trellis is north facing with winder jasmin growing on it. This was taken last summer when I have just planted a few things, now all dead except the Heucherras. Also is now covered with creeping geranium type weed.


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