The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Work in Progress!


Have you got an area of your garden that needs some OOMPH? Well, I have! As you may know, we have a stream running through the garden and we have two bridges across it. One is very old – possibly as old as the house – dating back to the 1500s, the other was put in by the previous owners. My husband has just finished installing a brick path which leads to the wooden bridge.

Although the bricks were from the reclamation yard, they still look a bit raw but much better than the broken slabs that were there before! Next to the path is where my problem area begins.

This is a ‘before’ picture. The tree is a Pittosporum and if you look closely, you will see that under it was a tangle of common Ivy. I spent ages pulling it out and cutting off dead twigs from the tree.

This is the view from the other side – the problem area is partly behind the Summer House.

There’s a Fatsia japonica – not in good condition but bearable. There are also stepping stones which lead from the path right round the Summer House – there they stop!

In the summer, the boring corner is not boring or problematic. In the corner by the bridge there’s a lovely Corylus maxima purpurea which gets coppiced every two years. Amazingly, against the wall is a very healthy Trachelospermum jasminoides which flowers well. In front of that is a Kolkwitzia amabilis and the two Spiraeas that I cut hard back a few weeks ago.

But at this time of year, it definitely needs a makeover. That’s why I planted the three Euphorbia robbiae and although I’ve had warnings from fellow GOY-ers, I hope that they DO spread! It’s a dark area which needs some strong plants.

I have been planning this area and now intend to search for some interesting shade lovers – Arums, ferns and Hostas. I do hope that these will add the ‘Wow’ factor to this boring-at-this-time-of-year area! More ideas, anyone?

More blog posts by spritzhenry

Previous post: A Better Day

Next post: Plant Supports - what I've done.



Hello Spritz, I think that your thoughts on adding Arums, ferns and Hostas is great, especially maybe Painted Ferns and Hostas with white in the leaves as the Arums have. They would certainly work well with the shrubs you have in the area. Have you thought of adding other plants that would give you white flowers ? I think that the white would really make the area pop and say WOW !

19 Mar, 2008


I think itl look geat with what youv got already planed4 it&cant wait2see the out come :)

19 Mar, 2008


Of course a plant person will say plant more...and I would too if I were you....but Jacque has a point...maybe what you've got will be fine, and the element you need here is not vegetable...what about looking for an obelisk. Could be stone or perhaps a 16th century statue...perhaps those stones that seemed to lead into a corner were a hint at a grotto..?

19 Mar, 2008


That's a possibility, Lori - next time we visit the reclamation yard I'll have a look!

19 Mar, 2008


For all-year round ground cover, I like the silvery-leafed Lamium and the little blue flowers of Vinca. These would spread quickly, too (perhaps too much for you?)

19 Mar, 2008


I'm posting a lot of pictures of shade lovers just now - might give you some ideas.
Or, how about hellebores for early colour and aquilegias in front to grow up and hide them for June flowers

19 Mar, 2008


I love the stone wall and brick path in your first photo.
Hostas, ferns and Hellebores would look tremendous in your shady area. How about adding some hollow oak tree stumps and filling them with compost and planting them up with a variety of ferns so that you have differing heights.
This would make a traditional woodland stumpery.
A small tree fern would also enjoy the shade.
Musacri Hyacinths could be planted in clumps for spring colour with the Hellebores (or tete a tete daffodils planted around the base of the tree stumps along with the Hellebores.)
If you could add lighting as well, the area would look apectacular at night.A huge drift wood sculpture would give the wow factor as well.

19 Mar, 2008


Thank you all for those suggestions - funnily enough, I have three RHS double Hellebores potted up and waiting a few weeks to settle down then they could go in there! No lighting, Grenville - first problem - too far from the house (across a wide lawn) and too far from the greenhouse supply (across the stream AND across a wide lawn!) Also, I may be strange, but our village has no lighting and it's so thrilling to see the stars without light pollution! So - no lighting! Where do you get hollow tree stumps please?

20 Mar, 2008

Add a comment

Recent posts by spritzhenry