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Any advise welcome

We have a retaining wall in our back garden made from railway sleepers.  The water from the top part seeps down under the wall.  I have cut out several little beds at the bottom of the wall, but as we have horrendous clay soil with awful drainage, everything I plant eventually dies off, the roots having drowned and rotted off.  Any suggestions as to what I could plant there - ideally something evergreen, growing to about three or four feet tall!  A tall order methinks!


  • GillyLGillyL Posts: 1,077

    I would start by trying to improve the drainage in the soil before planting.

  • rosemummyrosemummy Posts: 2,010

    our garden v heavy clay but luckily lots seems to thrive, i;'m just learning,also only been in house 4 months, have been going through lots of horticultural grit when i created new beds where was paved,clematis supposed to like cool (damp?) roots

  • granmagranma Posts: 1,929

    To improve heavy clay soil it is recomended that grit is added-

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,685

    I find heavy clay responds best to loads of well rotted Farm yard manure, compost or other humus  such as cheap growbags.The fibre stops the clay sticking together into a large lump.About a 50/50 mix if possible.

  • GillyLGillyL Posts: 1,077

    To improve drainage I would add grit and sharp sand,

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,081

    How high is the wall Poly-anthus and also - do you have planting on the top part? Something there would help soak up some of the excess too. Another alternative is to get some extra drainage in the top area - dig out some vertical 'pipes' and fill with gravel to create mini soakaways which will divert a bit of it farther into the back of that part. All the above suggestions too- cover all bases! Clematis need good drainage though.

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Poly-anthusPoly-anthus Posts: 142

    Thanks everyone for your replies.  The wall is about three feet high and has gravel at the top.  The gravel area does have a wide border at the back, against the fence and lots of things are growing there quite happily.  I have been digging lots of compost into the borders, but the area under the gravel is, I know, compacted heavy clay with lots of large stones in it.  Digging that lot up is not an option - not as young as I used to be!! image. Thanks Verdun for the hydrangea suggestion - didn't realise it would grow in very wet soil, and the fern suggestion is definitely an option.  Thanks again everyone.

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