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The Shade Border


By samjp


Well once again it’s been a while (although I have been lurking in the background). I really should get back into posting more often.

We’ve got a busy year ahead again. We’ve finally got to the point where the front garden can be ripped out and that should be happening end of May – beginning of June. I’ve got a company to come and do the heavy lifting (including removing the tree – shame but it’s too big, I keep expecting it to knock next doors chimney off) and put in a new path – sloped not steps and wider so I can get the bins up and down a bit easier. But the rest is up to us. Mares tail in the front so we’ll be back to digging again, oh joy of joys. As well as that I’m planning a wedding. After 9 years together we’re finally tying the knot! Wedding is planned for next March/April. I must be mad doing all this at once lol.

Anyway to the point. Yesterday I popped out for a “couple of hours”, (lol more like six or seven) to have a go at the shade border. It was getting a bit overgrown and was looking a bit shabby

Plus there was a grass I’d planted about 18 months ago that had taken over and was growing through pretty much everything else. So I dug the whole border up. Lifted everything out, dug the grass out the plants (I hope) and gave the border a good going over. I may have widened the border a tad as well lol – still tempted to dig it wider lol (it’s a sickness I’m sure lol)

After much digging lifting and moving I’ve ended up with a big gap :-)

I like gaps, you can have lots of fun filling them with plants.

At the moment, there is:
Clematis Freckles
Clematis Rouge Cardinal (planted yesterday)
Clematis Princess Diana
2 Aquilegia McKanna
Bergenia Cordiolia
Dicentra – Bleeding Heart
Drumstick Primula or Primula vialii (I did have both but it looks like a lost one, just not sure which one yet)
Dryopteris Felix-mas
2 Erythronium Pagoda
Geum Eos
Hardy Fuchsia (not sure which one – it came from my neighbour)
Hellebore (can’t remember which one)
Hosta June
Iris Sibirica Dreaming Yellow
Japanese Painted Fern

Now to decide what to add to my gaps. The border is in pretty much full shade as its close to our north facing house wall. In mid summer it does get a couple of hours of direct sun, but that’s about it. The soil isn’t too bad in there now, thanks to a fair amount of soil improver, but it can be a bit on the dry side in places. Still it can’t be too bad as the Hosta seems happy enough.

I’m not certain what to add yet, but I’ve got a Campanula Glomerata in a pot on the patio that I’ve been thinking of moving anyway. Other than that I’d like to add some winter and spring interest to the border. So perhaps something like wood anemones, tulips, daffodils, primroses and either a huchera or tiarella (or both lol). Any suggestions?

On a separate note we appear to have acquired a lodger at the bottom of our garden:

Apparently he’s the tipsy pixy lol :-) (very tipsy seeing as I can’t seem to get the photo to stand straight lol)

More blog posts by samjp

Previous post: Gardening injuries vol. 4

Next post: The Shade Garden - Part 2



Gaps in borders....a very happy situation...more plants to add.
You certainly got stuck in to the've done a good job
good luck with the front garden and the wedding planning.

20 Apr, 2017


Congrats on the wedding!!! Does look better after all your hard work and I love your lodger lol. I'm with you on the horsetail and all that digging as I'm doing the same still :-(. Good thing is there is less then last year. Make sure you leave some lawn for the dog( sorry can't remember his name). :-)

20 Apr, 2017


Thanks Paul, there's little that makes a gardener happy than a good gap is there lol.

Thanks Jen. Horsetail is such a pain isn't it. I'm pleased to say our back garden is a lot better than it used to be. Seems like digging it out was a good thing (although blinking hard work). Just keep digging I guess :-(. Hahaha there's still loads of lawn left for Sunny. With me getting the front garden to play with as well, I'll be less inclined to nibble away at it (with a bit of luck lol).

20 Apr, 2017


You have a great list of tempting suggestions for filing your gap! Have you seen the pretty blue wood anemones? I put one in a couple of years ago and now have half a dozen - very good value and so dainty.
Watch out with your Campanula glomerata - if you let it out of the pot it can go mad if it likes where you put it...
Heucheras sound like a good idea - especially one of the paler ones to light up a shady patch. I've found Dutch irises surprisingly successful in shade too.

20 Apr, 2017


Thanks Stera. The blue wood anemones are pretty aren't they. Sound like good value as well if they spread so nicely.

Thanks for the warning on the campanula, I'll have to keep an eye on that one. I've been thinking of evicting it from it's pot for a while. It's a fairly small pot so it's on its own. Lovely when in flower but not worth it the rest of the year.

A heuchera would be good for colour all year. I've been debating going for something like caramel or peach flambe - a flash of colour. I'm sure I could squeeze a couple in there lol, perhaps something like lime marmalade on the really shady side.

Ooh Dutch irises, glad you mentioned that one, I didn't think they were too good in shade. Will definitely add that to my list.

21 Apr, 2017

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