Q Can you help me add colour to my shady border?

Garden Answers (UK) - - Problems Solved -

THIS SHADY BORDER is a bit on the skinny side, in my view. When­ever a border is set to run along­side a fence, it’s bound to be cast in some of its shade dur­ing the day. Mak­ing the border deeper al­lows plants at the front to en­joy a bit more sun­shine, or part shade, so your plant­ing choices can be a bit more var­ied. So, first off, I’d rec­om­mend that owner Dave Ham­lett digs it out to al­most dou­ble its cur­rent width by sac­ri­fic­ing some of his lawn. You can see where the grass looks a bit patchy; why not take it out as far as that? The grass is suf­fer­ing be­cause the shrubs (os­man­thus, fuch­sia, berberis and philadel­phus) are shad­ing it and their roots ex­tend un­der the lawn and are com­pet­ing with the grass for mois­ture and nu­tri­ents. Dave points out that the shrubs help to create a bit of pri­vacy, so we’d rec­om­mend he keeps them, but raises their leafy canopy by tidy­ing up (re­mov­ing with se­ca­teurs/lop­pers) any strag­gly or cross­ing lower branches to give the shrubs a more de­ci­sive sil­hou­ette. Un­der­neath these more shapely shrubs, Dave can bring in some shade-lov­ing leafy peren­ni­als, such as heuchera, tiarella, brun­nera and pul­monaria. His wall­flow­ers (left of pic) may bloom, but they’ll only of­fer a tem­po­rary so­lu­tion. The fox­gloves and ferns will be more in keep­ing with the wood­landy theme, adding valu­able height and in the case of the fox­gloves, flow­ers too. Has one of your bor­ders lost its di­rec­tion? Write to us at the ad­dress on p103

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