CHOOSING plants for dry shade can be a real problem,
particularly for that problem area under a tree or on a
bank. The quick and easy answer is to plant lots of spring
flowering bulbs like Daffodils, Tulips, or Muscari, but once
these have done their stuff you're left scratching your head
wondering why you didn't spend a little more time watching
Alan Titchmarsh on Friday night's Gardeners World instead of
Help is at hand - why not put in a few
Periwinkles (Vinca) into your dry shady corner? Evergreen,
now in flower and almost indestructible, these will slowly
spread, covering the whole area with green where once there
was only brown. Contrasting with this is Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla
Mollis), a bright green low grower with yellow flowers in
Spring, blooming later than Vinca.
Now coming back to life, it's really worth having,
especially as a contrast under Azaleas. The Alexandrian
Laurel (Danae/Ruscus racemosa in Latin) is one of the only
shrubs that will thrive in total shade. It has attractive
yellow flowers and red berries.
Other names to look out for in the Garden Centre include
Pachysandra, Cotoneaster horizontalis. Mahonia aquifolium,
and Euphorbia. Foxgloves will thrive there too.
Don't forget to plant in odd numbers for effect. Three
little plants might look good mixed between other shrubs
when you're close up. but the same display through the
kitchen window 30 feet away isn't so stunning. so plant in
threes or fives.
As with all planting, use a little handful of Bonemeal or
Sulphate of Phosphate when planting. Phosphate is the
primary nutrient responsible for developing plants' roots.
On dry shade you will need a good root system to search
for water. Don't just use ordinary Multipurpose compost for
this job. Use Tub and Basket Compost as it's got special
water retaining properties.
Get this done and your barren bank can be made into a
beautiful border something not to be embarrassed about
by Clive Sullivan, Cameron Landscapes & Ballylesson Garden
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