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Japanese area

I have a area only 3 metres square at the side of a drive under a very big Rhodi, the bottom leaves and branches have all been cut off. It's south west, sheltered and only gets last of the summer sun and it's crying out for a jananese look. I've bought a couple of small acers but not sure what I can do with them and any other plants...any ideas?



  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    ..this sounds like it should be a foliage garden rather than a flower garden, to me.  Japanese makes me think of more dainty things and as the area is not large you won't be wanting any more big shrubs really I shouldn't think, although a favourite plant of mine Pittosporum 'Tresederii' - a Cornish bred plant, has dainty new young growth with small crinkly foliage, a little variegated, that would suit such a planting scheme I think...

    Euphorbia mellifera - easily obtainable in Cornwall, would be another choice evergreen, and I wouldn't ignore ground cover conifers either, one like Juniper 'Blue Carpet' for instance...

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 58,785
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 28,299

    Hi chrissy. If the ground's quite dry (with the Rhodi) you'll probably need to improve the soil a bit first and get some more water retention in it. Some of the smaller grasses would be good especially while the acers are growing.  Japanese anemones are lovely for later in the year and like a bit of shade, they give a bit of height and the white ones 'glow' in shadier areas,but don't rule out some simple ground cover plants to give the 'mossy' effect. Vinca grows anywhere and although not 'Japanesy' they can fill the space a bit till other plants mature and they can easily be taken out if required. Keep colours to a minimum or it stops being 'restful'. Some of the dwarf rhodies are good, and ferns of course but you'll just need to keep an eye on soil conditions for those. If you have room a Fatsia would give a nice bit of contrast in leaf shape and you can remove stems if it gets too big. Bulbs for spring-like dwarf iris would be lovely.  No doubt you'll get lots more suggestions from others on the site too image

    Hope that's of some help!

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

  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    Pictures says a thousand words...

    ...check this site - some fab garden ideas, lots of inspirational material to look at.

    A japanese plant list




  • I haver always been told that Rhodi's exude some form of chemical that kills off or at least deters anything from growing underneath. As I don't have acid soil I don't grow them anyway so I may be wrong. However before you risk something as valuable as Acers I would check if I were you. Good luck with it.

  • cornus canadensis and trifoliums. Yummy ground cover for acid-neutral soil, like rhodies love. I'm on limestone (jealous).

  • thanks everyone, plenty of ideas, I'm going to be busy!!


  • Meant trilliums. Duh!

  • Hi

    thought you may like to know what I did with this area. Well firstly too hard to dig, so decided to put lots of pots under the rhodi, these are black, dark blue, and one small bamboo. They are sitting on wooden tree stumps to give various hights.I potted one with Gunnera (from Trebar) white snow drops and Trilliums. The gunnera is small at the moment, the pots filled with moss at the bottom to hold in water (Cornwall is very wet, it's been raining all week) Another pot with Acer, very small tree fern (from Helligan), small white anenomes, creeping Jenny. Another with Acer and small hosta's.The bamboo pot is small and holds a varigated Bamboo (cutting from my mum's garden) A bonsia acer...very tiny that was bought at Boconoc's spring garden fair, that was wired for me. If you are ever in Cornwall and like plants the Hardy plant society is selling special plants in Truro on Sunday 12th May...Lots of small nurseries, specilists , you'll see plants you've never seen before, get there early!!!

    In another pot a fern I bought at HPS market and finally moved a standard box in a pot under the rhodi. I have also got some varigated Miscanthus (from Eden) only very small that will be placed in one of the pots. If I see any (shops in Cornwall are few and far between!) I'll buy some hollow thick Bamboo to stick in the pots, and some large round bolders placed here and there.

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