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Plants to go over a low north-facing wall

I'm looking for some advice about planting for the front of our house. We have a narrow (2' x 6') bed behind a low brick wall. Our house is higher than the road (you have to go up a few steps to get into the front garden) - so the wall is about 1' higher than the flower bed but drops down about 4' to the pavement on the other side. It is north facing and a pretty shady miserable place!

I am looking for some plants that are able to climb up the 1' wall from the flower bed and drape/trail down the other side of the wall to make it look less bare. Unfortuantely there is no earth on the pavement side so we can't grow any climbers up the wall on that side.

Other walls around have red valerian growing in them which looks lovely but I am not sure they would be happy on the shady side of the road. We are going for red/salmon/gold/cream colours if possible, to not clash with our virginia creeper growing up the house. Last year I tried trailing fuschias and lobelia which were happy and flowered a lot but couldnt get over the 1-foot climb to trail down the wall - they just straggled about in the flower bed :(

I am a complete novice with gardening so any advice would be greatly appreciated! thank you :)


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,959

    Hi pinklara - I take it you could add some soil and create a bit of a slope from the front of the bed up to the wall on the house/garden side? That will help quite a bit, and you will be able to plant spreading perennials and evergreens which will drape over the wall, although not trail in the way you perhaps want  image 

    I have quite a lot of plants in a shady location, north and north west facing.  Things like Hostas will fill a space and flow over the wall a bit. Hardy geraniums will do the same. Heucheras and Heucherellas are evergreens and come in a lot of foliage colours which will complement your other planting. Some of the ornamental grasses will also be happy enough in a shadier spot - Carexes in particular. I have Evergold which is a good colour for your scheme. Hackenochloa is another which will be happy in some shade, and forms a nice drooping mound - golden foliage. 

    You could interplant with some of the smaller leaved ivies which are variegated, and you'll be able to get them trailing down the other side. Vinca is a plant which will trail and grows in shade - the flowers are mainly blues though, so you may not care for it. There is a white variety though. Some of the herbaceous clematis would probably be fine too - they have a scrambling habit, unlike the more usual types which climb. 6 feet isn't a big space, so choose plants carefully for the room you have.

    Hope that gives you a few ideas image

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,645

    Herbaceous clematis for me too.  The integrifolias don't cling and are often scented.   The original form is blue but there's also a white flowered form - which would brighten up a north facing bed.   There's also a pale lilac form - 

    They need to be planted deep in good soil and pruned back hard every March or April and then given a generous dollop of specialist clematis food.    You could grow some Japanese painted ferns for interesting foliage and anenome Honorine Jobert to add height along with snowdrops for early spring colour (and bees) and millieum effusum which is a golden leaved grass that likes shade and will brighten up your side of the wall.

    Some creamy variegated ivy can be added to the mix and will slowly, over the years, grow to cover the wall and form a  lovely backdrop for the clematis as well as shelter for insects..

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • pinklarapinklara Posts: 29

    Thank you so much both! You have given me some great ideas :) for some reason, I had never even considered banking up soil on my side of the wall - but of course, that would solve many of my problems! I looked at Vinca and there are some lovely reds and peaches about. Interspersing that with some variegated ivy would be perfect, and some Honorine Jobert anemone at the back. I want to squeeze some Heucherella somewhere too - I saw one called Honey Rose which would go really nicely. I need a bigger front garden!

    Thanks again for both your help - now I have a plan! :)

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