Joe's 5-plant bor­ders: clay soil

Get the best from clay soil by cre­at­ing a bor­der with Joe Swift’s five-star plants

Gardeners' World - - Contents -

Over the years I’ve worked in many gar­dens with clay-based soil – Lon­don is full of them! It’s of­ten seen as prob­lem­atic – sticky, wet and cold in win­ter and rock-hard in sum­mer, all of which are dif­fi­cult to grow plants in. And yes, it may take plenty of graft to get it into de­cent shape ini­tially ( by dig­ging it over, and adding lots of or­ganic mat­ter and drainage ma­te­rial), but it can also be the ba­sis of a very use­ful, nutri­ent-rich soil. The good news is there’s a huge range of plants that will thrive in clay soil, in­clud­ing roses, shrubs such as hy­drangeas, vibur­nums and dog­woods, and hard-work­ing peren­ni­als like Ja­panese anemones, brun­nera and pul­monar­ias – but I have only five to play with in my bor­der. As with all my five-plant bor­ders in this se­ries, I have cho­sen plants that will thrive in their con­di­tions and look good to­gether – this scheme is ver­sa­tile enough to work in many gar­dens. You may al­ready have a nice climber on a wall but want some ideas of what to plant in front of it, or maybe you have an es­tab­lished rose to plant around. These plants are not ex­pen­sive or hard to get hold of, so you could plant them now and be en­joy­ing them by sum­mer.

Al­chemilla mol­lis will thrive in clay soil and of­ten pro­duces a sec­ond flush of flow­ers

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