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Planting Up A Shady Border

Hello all. I'm due to plant up a shady but fairly sheltered border for a customer later this month. Border is not that large, maybe 10ft long by 2.5 ft deep. Just wanted to know if people have any particular favourites they like to use for this kind of area, perhaps things you've used before that always seem to do well. Ideally I can get a reasonable amount of flowering colour in there if possible. I'm thinking maybe 2 slightly larger shrubs with smaller plants dotted around. Any and all recommendations welcome. Wishing you all a pleasant weekend.

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  • PRO Supplier of my head.... Fatsia (castor oil plant) provides bold foliage when mature. Periwinkle for ground cover & purple japanese anenome does ok in 3/4 shade and that has great pink flowers. Climbing hydrangea does well on north facing walls if you have space on a vertical surface..?. 

    R @ PG

    • I still have nightmares about a job I got when I first started up, which was to remove the periwinkle that had taken over a huge flowerbed. My worst day ever, and possibly why I just do lawns these days :)


  • PRO

    Helleborus, Skimmia, loads more options

  • I always use brunnera 'Jack frost'. They have tiny blue flowers like forget me nots but if you pinch the flowers out early the leaves get much bigger and the silver really shows up.

    Look great amongst ferns.


    • PRO

      plants / shrubs i use to brighten up a shady corner include fatsia ( spiders web ) has  white frosted leaves , pierris will tolerate shade , cornus midwinter fire looks amazing , mahonia will motor , euphorbia although invasive and the sap is lethal but can give a nice fresh green colour , sedum will give a nice splash of colour later in the year .   also check out viburnums ,   

  • PRO

    Evergreen shrubs/structure that dont get super huge super quick : shade: 

    Viburnum davidii -viburnum tinus - fargesia bamboos - sarcococcoa - mahonia upright types - fatsia japonica - yew 

    Flowering shrubs look at hydrangea types - white mainly --  epimediums yellow 

    Perenials : brunera mac. jack frost / blue - astrantia major -- white / pink - anemone honerine jobert (large) - wild swan (small) both white - Tellima grandiflora rubra (white/yellow) - Geranium mac tyoes white/pink 

    Various grass types will do heavy shade -- Hakonechloa macra is good 

    Lots of ferns will work - evergreen types handy 

    Bulbs -- white daffs / snowdrops 

    Prob best to chose a white / light colour pallate which stands out in the shade and then a theme -- lush tropicalish can be good -- mixing fatsia / bamboo /ferns with light coloured flowering perenials - rogersia would be nice and Osmunda regalis (regal fern) but both get pretty big for your space long term 

    Or go more classic and stick to mahonia/ vinurnums / sarcococca / hydrangeas /ferns with the flowering perenials 

    Epimediums work really well with Brunera jack frost / ferns  - 

    • PRO

      Hellebores could be usefull also for early flowers 

  • Depends on how much shade you have. In total shade Id always alawys use Sarcoccocca confusa as my green screen shrub. No light no food needed. A beauty as a green foil in shade. Maybe a mix of Asarum euopeaum with dryopteris erythrosora plus epimedium liafee.Hydrangea aspera also works well. Be careful about what you put in if your not 100% sure of the plant. Somethings like sedges will run wild very quickly . Do your research before buying. It could save a lot of tears..the ones above are all ok... good luck..

  • Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions over the weekend.

  • Bit late to the party here but any of the variegated euonymous for all year round foliage colour. Honesty is looking good at this time of year, almost florescent purple flowers. 

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