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Shrubs and plants for east facing bed under tree

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Comment from Mrs J Selig


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Triangular east facing bed under silver birch tree, buildings to south and west, very little, if any sunlight. Skimmia hanging in there, also oak hydranger and 2 hellibores. Should we just give up and pave the area?

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  • Replies: 3
  • Posted: Tue. 1st November 2011 09:11

Re: Shrubs and plants for east facing bed under tree

Reply from curstain keltie

Hi Lots of things will survive so do not pave! You can have a succession of bulbs, i.e Galanthus, Iris recticulata, Muscari, anemone blanda, crocus, Narcissii various, Trillium, ornithogalum, cycalmen. That would take you through the first part of the year. You can use polystichum genus of ferns as they are very drought resistant as a back drop to the bulbs. They are also evergreen. I also often underplant shrubs with vinca minor and major. Lamiums are also good in dry areas, Lamium maculatum white nancy brightens up dark corners. Hope that helps, if you need any more helps i do planting plans by post but you have a lovely list to try.

  • Posted: Tue. 1st November 2011 10:34

Re: Shrubs and plants for east facing bed under tree

Reply from Franne


liriope will also survive a lot of drought, evergreen and lovely purple flowerstalks
some geraniums can take a lot of drought, specially the geranium macrorrhizum
for shrubs, try things like holly.
I think whatever you do, try to raise the area and spread layers and layers of compost and mulch. Dont raise it too much round the tree, cause it wont like that. But the mulch will help keeping the little moisture in.
Also, have you considered putting in some irrigation in the form of a leaky hose? Not too expensive and it will fastly enlarge your plant choice.

Good Luck!

  • Posted: Tue. 1st November 2011 12:20

Re: Shrubs and plants for east facing bed under tree


Birches have a very greedy root system, you have done well with the couple of plants you have chosen. Add Acuba picturata for all year round color, berberis aurea is another shrub that takes dry shade. In the realsm of perennials add brunnera jack frost, solomon's seal, asarum, hardy cyclamen, erythroniums, disporums, accanthus mollis, kirenenshoma palmata and do try the Japanese anemone Honorine jobert. Add the leaves from the tree that have been run through a lawn mower, this helps to break them down fast and by spring you are all ready for the parade of color. Good luck.

  • Posted: Tue. 29th November 2011 16:20