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Planting Ideas please

Folks, I would appreciate your planting ideas for some new bank space I have created. 


This first pic above shows the bank in question. The 'new' area is outside of the conservatory as below


There was a huge unruly Pyracantha here which completely outgrew it's position taking light from the conservatory and also making access difficult up the side path not to say the damage it did to the window cleaners! I am conscious that it was a beneficial plant for the bird-life with it's berries and cover but fortunately they have plenty of other areas throughout the garden.

I was thinking of creating a small 'terrace' with a railyway sleeper(s) to give a little more 'horizontal' planting area at the top of the bank but I'm not sure that would help unless I went two-high or so. 


This last pic is to give an idea of aspect. Although the bank is north facing the sun rises to the top left of this image so the bank gets quite a decent amount of sun till mid-day(ish) before disappearing to the right of the pic if that makes sense.

Planting on other parts of the bank is mostly evergreen shrubs - Camelia (I didn't plant it and unfortunately the morning sun gets the flowers). Choisya, Ceanothus, Pieris, Laurels, Rhoddies, Lavender etc. I like to have all-year foliage if possible. Some colour would be nice as it's immediately outside of the conservatory so some 'in-between' planting maybe?

In saying that I quite like the idea of planting it up a little like where I grew up where we had a railway embankment with Primroses. It just reminds me of that on a small scale. I'm a very novice gardener but would appreciate any ideas. Obviously being a bank (retaining) it's very dry in the summer and the soil quality is not great after a certain depth.

Thanks folks!

Last edited: 01 December 2016 13:58:59


  • I would put another retaining wall about halfway up, it'll make it a lot easier to plant.

    doesn't have to be brick/stone/concrete, a railway sleeper would work fine as long as its attached to some decent sized stakes drive as deep as possible into the soil.

    Last edited: 01 December 2016 14:13:12

  • Joyce21Joyce21 Posts: 15,489

    Why don't you train a pyracantha on the fence ie shortening all the outward facing branches.

    SW Scotland
  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,145


    Something like this Treehugger? 

    Thanks Joyce, maybe another Pyracantha might work if trained accordingly. The previous one certainly seemed to like it there.

  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,145

    Just bumping this in case anyone has any further creative ideas. image

  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,079

    On my steep mostly shady bank I have a dogwood near the top so the light catches the stems in winter, heucheras and evergreen ferns for ground cover, a couple of hellebores, some pulmonaria and primulas of various sorts for Spring, anenome 'wild swan' (it might be too dry for that one on your bank, needs fertile soil, I think) and a group of white foxgloves which look lovely in dappled shade through the summer. I also have some camassia planned but not yet actually there - again they need good damp soil so may not work if yours is very dry.

    They all grow happily on the steep slope with a few carefully placed stones to stop the soil washing away from their roots as they establish but no permanent terracing.

    You could consider one of the dwarf hollies to replace the pyracantha berries, a viburnum for late winter scent and autumn leaf colour (they can get big so do some research on varieties). Possibly reticulata iris at the bottom of the bank, so they get warmth from the paving if there's a bit that gets a reasonable amount of sunshine in summer.

    Gardening on the edge of Exmoor, in Devon

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,145

    Thanks raisin, some nice ideas to consider there.

  • happymarionhappymarion Posts: 4,591

    Alpines come to mind as they love morning sun, slopes and poor soil.  The ones that spread will anchor the soil and stop any weeds.

  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,145

    I'll have a look at those Marion, thanks. Any particular types you would recommend?

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