Monday, 6 May 2019



Bee pollinating flowers of Hydrangea petiolaris
Choosing plants for the garden is usually fairly simple for most areas, but there is always an awkward corner in deep shade from buildings, trees, hedges or fences. These areas can still be made very attractive provided you choose the right plants. Some plants like dry shady areas and others prefer it moist, so do some research before buying in plants.
Prepare the ground by digging over, removing big stones and
add some planting compost ahead of planting. Shady corners can be brightened up by planting variegated plants or those with golden, bronze or gray foliage. If the ground has a steep slope controlling weeds could be a problem so choose evergreens which can smother germinating weeds. Dwarf conifers are perfect for these areas and there are plenty to choose from. Thuja Rheingold has golden bronze foliage and does not get too big. Juniperus squamata meyeri is a low growing evergreen with blue foliage and Juniperus pfitzeriana aurea has yellow/green foliage. Both are low and spreading and quite dense so very few weeds will survive with them to compete with. Other evergreen ground cover plants can include the white dead nettle, Lamium White
Euonymous Emerald N Gold
Nancy which can thrive in moist shade. Another for moist shade is the range of gold and silver Hostas, but watch out for slugs which just love the foliage.
For something quite different the black grass Ophiopogon planiscapis nigrescens is worth a try.  For areas with partial shade the London Pride makes a solid ground cover with flowers in May.
Where there is room for some bigger plants try lonicera Baggesons Gold with yellow leaves. It makes a dense bush six feet tall which birds just love to nest in, and for an even bigger bush come small tree the holly will provide berries for winter decoration and also comes in golden and silver variegated forms.
Doronicum with tulips
There are many flowering plants that are shade tolerant and can give some colour to dull areas.
At ground level in late winter there are numerous flowering bulbs that can be used. Snowdrops have always been a favourite and with some early flowering types you can have flowers from mid December onwards if we get more mild winters. Then the winter aconites begin to flower from February to March. Planting bulbs under deciduous trees and under fruit trees can create a lot of interest using those just mentioned, then later on the grape hyacinths, Chionodoxa and Anemone blanda flower in early April, and towards the end of April the bluebells have their moment in the spotlight. Both Daffodils and narcissus types
Ophiopogon Black Grass
can all be used in shady areas and really add colour letting us know the end of winter is here and spring is just round the corner.
There are plenty herbaceous perennials happy growing in shady spots so try some low growing ground cover Bergenias with pink flowers, Doronicums with yellow flowers or some Pulmonarias with blue flowers, and a large range of Primulas with flowers in all colours. As we go into summer a few choice plants could include some red  Astilbe Fanal, yellow Geums and blue Meconopsis, the Himal;ayan Blue Poppy, and for white flowers the Anemone Honorine Jobert is hard to beat.
Coming up the scale there is a wealth of Rhododendrons from low growing to massive tall types as well as Azaleas, Pierris and
Silver Euonymous
Camellias, all providing a terrific show of colour in spring, then in summer Fuchsia Mrs Popple will flower quite happily in the shade.
If you need a plant for shady walls both Hydrangea petiolaris and Pyracantha, the Firethorn, with orange berries in autumn will be quite successful.
If you happen to have a flower bed that suffers a bit of shade use polyanthus and primulas for spring colours together with dwarf tulips, and in summer try bedding fuchsias, tuberous begonias and impatiens, the Busy Lizzie.

Wee jobs to do this week

Harden off plants grown under glass. Onions, geraniums and chrysanthemums were all taking up greenhouse space needed for a couple of rows of tomatoes, so they are now all outdoors taking advantage of the warm Easter weather. However tuberous begonias and Impatiens (Busy Lizzies) are too soft so they will remain under glass for another couple of weeks just in case winter returns.

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