Shady Slopes

Hi the back section of my garden is reasonably steep and is divided by steps up the centre. The garden faces south but we have a wood behind which continues up the slope so we get partial sun in the mornings and a scattering in the evenings in summer only. 

The section in question is approx 6m long going up 2.8m high and a total width of 8.5m. 

I cancan not do any major terracing as we have a badger set in the corner of the garden therefore we should not interfere with it by law

the ground is mostly chalk/Flint with a covering of approx 250mm topsoil. 

At present the area does not have anything really growing on it due to the previous owner having cleared it so it is left with bare soil. 

can anyone offer any advice on what I could plant that would establish reasonably quickly! I'm looking mainly for the winter colour as it just looks like a bank of dirt at the moment. any advice would be really appreciated as I'm new to the gardening world. 

I've put some wild flower seed down for this summer just to give it some colour! 





  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 935

    I had a similar scenario and I planted vinca major (periwinkle) which gives all-year round ground cover. Grows to about .5m in height. Beware though in that it spreads quickly which you may or may not like. For what I wanted it has turned out to be perfect but you do need to keep an eye on it or it will be everywhere.

    PS I'm also a newbie so I'm sure much more experienced folks will be along soon...

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 8,304

    Vinca minor (Lesser periwinkle) is another one which grows a bit lower.  I've seen it growing on a North-facing 45 degree slope underneath Yew trees so it can easily handle low light levels.  Both the periwinkles flower on and off all year round and help to stabilise the soil.  For a bit of colour in late winter, interplanting with groups of aconitum would look good.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • daisy doodaisy doo Posts: 90

    Sounds like a lovely woodland style bankside. Could you load a photo to get a better idea? If not wood anemones, celandine (can go a bit beserk, but lovely yellow flowers and marbled leaves) blue bells, snowdrops and hellebores along with the vinca mentioned in the other posts. 

    There's a steep sided woodland near to where we live near Durham and it becomes a carpet of colour from late winter (snowdrops) to spring with anemones and blue bells. It also has a large colony of badgers which co exist in harmony with the vegatation. 

  • Hi guys thank you for the advice, I've attached a pic excuse the lack of skill involved! I've planted a few trees along the path as I'm a keen bargain buyer and they were severely reduced so I thought for a tenner why not. Something that blankets the ground would be great so I'll have a look at the lesser periwinkle. If snow drops work I wonder would bluebells too although they are not a long term flower. 


    Thank you you very much once again.



  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 8,304

    Yes, snowdrops and bluebells would work as they are deciduous woodland bulbs so they make the most of the light when trees are leafless.  This link gives a pretty good list of suitable bulbs:

    Other plants which would work include foxgloves, ferns, hardy geraniums, hellebores, Heuchera, Heucherella, Tiarella, Pulmonaria,and Hosta.


    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • daisy doodaisy doo Posts: 90

    Shrub wise you can get a prostate cotoneaster which grows outwards across the ground you,'ll then get flowers in spring and autumn berries.  In the woodland I mentioned there's holly and hazel shrubs growing successfully even though it's a steep bankside. These could be useful for offering useful seasonal interest unless you want low growing options. However there are some lovely hollies which would offer year round interest 

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