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By Samjp

Staffordshire, West Midlands, United Kingdom Gb

Hi all, seasons greetings. I'm in the process of making plans for the garden next year. Has anyone got any suggestions for plants for the shady border? I have a west facing garden and am looking for plants for the north facing fence, in well drained neutral soil. Complicated part, we have a very large orange blossom and a fairly big lilac growing in the border so it tends to be quite dry and a little full of tree roots. I've included a couple of photos of the border (well almost a border lol). Its not had much work done on it for several years so is a little grassy, but you can see the general outline. It is quite narrow at the moment but I think I'm going to widen it, make it easier to plant. The side of the border closest to the house, is pretty much permanently in the shade, thanks to the trees in the garden. The far side of the orange blossom (farthest away from the house) gets afternoon sun in the summer, but is full shade in winter.

I am more than happy to grow my own from seed (new greenhouse begging to be used lol). Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

Shade_border_towards_house_8_7_11 Shade_border_towards_house_b_8_7_11



As a first suggestion I would advise planting a hydrangea petiolaris to self-climb up the fence. It does really well in shade and will provide a backdrop for other plants. Others here will add many other suggestions, I'm sure.

28 Dec, 2011


There are various hardy Geraniums that would be happy in this situation - G. macrorrhizum, G. nodosum and G. phaeum. Epimediums would also do well. I like Omphalodes vernum for early colour. Tiarellas and Tellima grandiflora are more plants for dry shade.

If you like them, Iris foetidissima has great spiky leaves and orange seedpods at this time of year, although its flowers aren't all that special.

28 Dec, 2011


Brilliant thank you. Just sat and googled the plants, lovely ideas. I absolutely love the idea of actualy having flowers in that border lol. It always seems so bare.

Love the geraniums and the epimediums. Really like the idea of the climbing hydrangea as well - not sure mum will. We used to have two on the front garden years ago and she hated dead heading it. At the moment not a problem, but with me planning to move out....

Would Heuchera's be any good in the shade?

One quick query about the Hydrangea, does it need trellis to climb or will it cling to the fence? We have recently had a new fence which is a totally different design to the one pictured. Not sure mom would like it to climb the fence itself.

29 Dec, 2011


I suspect the soil might be a bit too dry for Heucheras. You're right that some of them prefer part-shade - not full shade though. Heucherellas are more suitable, but even they probably wouldn't thrive in too dry conditions.

My Hydrangea petiolaris clings to the fence. I can't see why you shouldn't train one on a trellis, though.

29 Dec, 2011


Thought that might be the case, thanks for confirming Spritz.

I may be able to sell the hydrangea so long as its round a trellis lol.

Thank you both again for your suggestions, they are very much appreciated.

Happy New Year

1 Jan, 2012

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