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what to grow on a shady damp patch

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I have a shady, poorly drained raised bed in my garden that I would like to grow some veggies in. Wondered if any one could recommend any particular varieties ? I plan to add some sand and dig it over in Jan to try to improve the drainage ( it's currently prone to moss growth - it really only gets the sun a hour or two day). Failing veggies, are there any flowers / plants that I could try .

Many thanks !

A novice



Sorry, but I think that veggies are a no-no. They just don't thrive in shade. I think that before you start growing plants you definitely need to improve the soil and drainage - dig in horticultural gritand home-made compost as well as the sand. Remember that sand and grit don't provide any nutrients. There are lots of plants that would like these conditions including Hostas, ferns, Bergenia, Brunnera, Ajuga, Hellebores, Vincas, Mahonia, and a lovely grass - Carex morrowii.

Hope this list will start you off.

Good luck.

10 Oct, 2008


To add to the list, I also successfully grow Lysimachia `firecracker`, Penstemon `garnet` and I have a clump of Arum Italicum which at the moment are giving a magnificent display of orange berries.All these are growing in clay soil and in shade.

11 Oct, 2008


Andrea ~
Do you find just that one 'Garnet' Penstemon is good in the damp shade, or would other types of Penstemon also thrive in those conditions ?

11 Oct, 2008


Really not sure, Spritzhenry is far more knowlegable than me, I`m sure she`ll reply. I have other penstemons, as I really like them, but garnet is the one that really grows profusely for me and in many different areas of my garden. I love `apple blossom` and `heavenly blue` but somehow they seem to be much less hardy! I have just been taking cuttings from these to guard against me losing them through the winter.

11 Oct, 2008


Funny that.
For me, it's generally Heavenly Blue that I can keep going, while I gradually lose all the others ! :o)

11 Oct, 2008


Well I`m obviously doing something wrong with mine. Where in the garden do you grow it?

11 Oct, 2008


It seems to do well when sort of protected by another plant.
One Heavenly Bue is growing underneath an Osmanthus Tricolour in quite a sunny position. I have lost a couple of more established H. Blues this summer, I think due to the unusually wet conditions.

Today I took cuttings off the Penstemon H. Blue under the Osmanthus and am experimenting with starting these cuttings off in water.
Anyone reading this with further advice on cuttings in water please comment. I'm trying the same with some Gaura.:o)

11 Oct, 2008


I always root my Penstemon cuttings in water and get 100% success (so far!) while in gritty compost I do not succeed at all. Strange but true. I pot them up when ther's a decent amount of roots and over-winter them in the coldframe or the greenhouse if there's a heavy frost. Then pot them on once more before they are ready to go in the ground in late spring.
As to Penstemons in the shade, they don't like it in my experience - one hasn't flowered at all and the other had maybe two or three flowers. They much prefer sun. Yes, I have a Garnet - two in fact, one in partial shade and the other in sun - the sunny one flowers well, the other so-so. I also have 'Snowdrift' (I think) facing east which does quite well there.
TT - let me know how your Gaura does - I haven't tried that!

11 Oct, 2008

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