What to put in this gap?

We removed a v large conifer from this area last November, have put in a shed and bike storage.  I'm now wondering what to do to fill in the gap left by the conifer. It is right outside the house so we are looking at it when we sit on the patio.  It faces NE so doesn't get much sun. The soil is sandy and it has bamboo just behind it.  We have a few big rhododendrons so I could put another one back in to try and fill the space, but just wondering if any other inspiration.  

Any ideas how to soften the bike storage I was thinking of a planter in front of it, with trellis, but would I get anything to grow ?  

Thanks in advance for any suggestions. 




  • wrighttwrightt Posts: 179

    I still have my large conifers and cupressocyparis leylandii both of which I have lifetd the crown of. I was told by my local garden center that nothing would grow under it, but undetered I piled a good 6" of my home made compost onto it under the conifers, planted a few things that would grow in part shade and religiously watered it every week for a year. I now have a lovely border underneath both the conifers and the cupressocyparis leylandii. To soften the shed you could put some trellis up and plant a clematis, a rose that takes shade like the lovely highly scented climbing rose zephirine Drouhin or a scented honeysuckle.  You could even try a green wall and plant it with shade loving hostas. For shade  loving plants try Long Acre Plants at http://www.plantsforshade.co.uk/ which have some very interesting plants for shade.

  • Lion SLion S Posts: 263

    The shed could be covered with climbing Hydrangea petiolaris and Clematis 'Nelly Moser', I absolutely love that combination. For the gap I'd be inclined to use Hosta, ferns, Helleborus and Hydrangea arborescens  'Annabelle'. One of the Rhododendrons would be good there too. This way you'd have something in bloom almost all year round. Some winter and spring flowering bulbs would add a finishing touch.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 24,547

    The soil will need a lot of help if you want to get some plants in there as Wrightt says. Shrubs like rhodies will never give their best in sandy soil I'm afraid, so look for things that will take a tough situation. Pale colours will light up the area, so whites and pastel blues/yellows would do well, and variegated foliage often does best in shade as it can disappear with too much sun. Get some manure/compost etc into the ground and whatever you plant, water it well till established and use a good mulch. The more plants you put in, the more attention they'll need too.

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

  • Peanuts3Peanuts3 Posts: 759

    Thanks for the feedback.  I will look into some of your suggestions.

  • auntie bettyauntie betty Posts: 208

    I've grown fatsia japonica and aucuba japonica in similar circumstances, and both look great with bamboo.  Did well for me, provided with thick mulch and plenty of water while getting their roots down. I'd expect herbaceous anemones, such as honorine jobert, to do well too, as of course would ferns, assuming you avoid the moisture lovers. Both look best grown as large 'natural' drifts rather than just 3 or 4 plants in a blob. Shrubby euonymous (the evergreen variagated types) are also useful for tough spots and the yellow or white is handy for breaking up what can otherwise all get a bit heavy and dark.

    Re. screening, a small climber in a nice square pot or large trough could be the go. I'd go for something like a large-flowered clem, so it isnt something that wants to be a beast and will suffer in a pot. Or, you could get one or two of the very ornamental ivies (clotted cream and buttercup are my faves). The benefits are tthat they'd thrive in very little soil, actively prefer dry shade, give you screening all year and need no support as they'll self-cling. Bung up a coupla wicker hanging baskets to put trailing begonias in for summer and pansies for winter (they both like it cool and shady but give loadsa colour) and your eyesore becomes a nice view. Oh, and if you're planting against the sheds, paint em dark brown - makes them recede behind greens of foliage and disappear. Thats what I think anyway! Bxx

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