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A barren strip

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Question from Val Barclay


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Although fairly complicated, I had a cattery built in my garden about 1 and a half metres away from neighbour's 2 metre high fence 10 years ago. Now, with no cats, I have changed it into a greenhouse (staging/heating/lighting), but would like to grow some plants between the side of it and the fence. This is about 3 metres long, and with very little light either side. Have you any ideas for any plants which would do well in such a restrictive area? I have dug in compost to improve soil but don't know what else to do. Help!
Posted: Tue 16th February 18:55

  • Views: 1131
  • Replies: 3
  • Posted: Tue. 16th February 2010 20:56

Woodland area?

Reply from Katy Elton

Hi Val,

The conditions you describe sound like a great opportunity to create a little area of woodland planting - plants that are found naturally in woodlands are more than happy in shaded, secluded areas.

Initial suggestions to achieve this could be:

• Digitalis (foxgloves)
• Bluebells
• Galanthus (snowdrops)
• Ferns
• Hellebores
• Tiarella (foam flower)
• Heuchera

With perhaps some shade loving evergreen shrubs to pad the area out a bit and add winter interest, such as:

• Pittosporum
• Euonymous
• Skimmia
• Viburnum
• Nandina domestica

You do right to prepare the soil by adding organic matter. When you are planting the plants, make sure they are watered in thoroughly, and then mulch with a thick layer of well rotted compost. You'll need to do this once a year after this, to ensure moisture and nutrient levels in the soil are sufficient for the plants.

I hope this helps. Woodland planting can be some of the most beautiful - do let us know how you get on!


  • Posted: Thu. 18th February 2010 19:12

A barren strip to spring delight ?

Reply from Anna Taylor

Hi Val,
I think Katy has given you a lovely response and just the type of planting that I would have suggested. The advantage to this scheme is that it would look really lovely in the later winter and spring, especially when the green house will be a little bare and you will be working in it preparing for the summer.
I would also suggest a climber that could go on to the back fence for additional interest perhaps a Clematis cirrhosa that has Hawthorn like leaves with lovely little nodding bell flowers in the winter.
Hope this helps.

Anna Taylor

  • Posted: Thu. 25th February 2010 19:33

A Barren strip

Reply from Val Barclay

Thanks so much Katy and Anna for your ideas and suggestions of plants. I will certainly sit down and begin to design the site on paper with some really good suggestions from both of you. Thanks again

  • Posted: Thu. 25th February 2010 21:14