Garden Projects: A Shady Border

With the trellis painted and the border dug over to remove all previous perennials such as Aquilegia and Solomon’s Seal, along with any spring bulbs I could find, it was time to consider which plants to use.  No vegetables in here!

This border is heavily shaded in mid-summer from my neighbour’s trees.  But it’s lighter in both spring and autumn, and dappled shade until the leaves are fully open.  The border is narrow – less than 3 feet from front to back – raised, so well drained, and long – around 10 feet though the fence continues for another 5 feet.

I have one honeysuckle that never does much but smells fabulous.  Now that the Virginia Creeper is gone, it might revive it a bit.  I also have a Clematis Alpina (Group 1) and a Clematis macropetala (Group 2) – both in shades of pink.  Both flower well so are obviously happy there.

So my first choice was Clematis montana.  I bought two plants, one white, one pink.  Luckily they were on offer at the garden centre so had both for £10.99.  I’ve grown these before (though not in that border) and the smell was amazing.

As they are spring-flowering, they’ll be well into flower before the trees block the light.  I’ll plant them deep and the roots will be shaded by my neighbour’s wall.  I’ve used vine wire along the fence to act as supports.

My next choice is the Japanese/Chinese anemone.   I already own a pink one which happily grows in the front garden, but along that same boundary wall, with identical shade problems.  I have a couple of seedlings in pots, but there are plenty I can dig up from the front garden – they tend to spread – and transplant.

But I’ve also bought two white versions – Whirlwind – to keep the theme.  The fence is painted a dark blue/grey so pale colours will stand out against that background.  Japanese anemones are  good value for money as they flower continuously (in my garden) from the end of August until at least November.  They have a very loose habit and look most attractive blowing in the wind.

In addition, I have pink peonies – leftovers from my last plant divide three years ago.  They do well in the front garden, but there is a lot more sun along the main border.  I’ll try them and see.

So here is what I’ve been up to:

So, in order running from left to right of the border we have:

Honeysuckle, peony, white Clematis montana, white Japanese anemone, peony, pink Japanese anemone, peony, pink Clematis montana, Clematis alpina, white Japanese anemone, peony, Clematis macropetala.





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