Wednesday, 10 April 2013 00:00

Choosing a new plant for shade

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I have a gap in my Pink bed. It is behind the Rowan tree, along the West facing fence and it looks particularly gappy in Winter.

Obviously, once the Rowan tree comes into leaf, the Berberis gets going and the Buddleja flowers it will be less obvious, but it still needs filling.

The gap was created by cutting off one half of the Ceanothus which bushed out into the Pink bed and by hard pruning the Clematis montana last year, so whatever is put there will need to deal with the original Clematis montana Grandiflora as it grows back as well as the new C. montana 'Mayleen'. But 'Mayleen' seems to be heading off towards the house ie not inclined to cover my gap.

So what to choose?

I decided something evergreen would be useful because the bed is otherwise entirely deciduous. Ideally it would also be something with flowers and/or berries. Cotoneaster and Pyracanthus were ruled out as too big, too thorny and wrong colour berries. I have ivy all down the side passage and don't need more. So it really came down to Eleagnus, Euonymus, Osmanthus or Camelia.

I took a trip to Neals, my wonderful, local Capital Gardens garden centre opposite Wandsworth Prison. Luckily they had examples of everything in.

The Euonymus (left below) and Eleagnus (right below) were ruled out as just too boring and I don't want something variegated because it's close to the variegated Philadelphus.

The Osmanthus was quite tempting because it is highly scented and they had one already trained up a grid, but it would be positioned so far from my nose and the leaves are somewhat matt and boring, that it got ruled out too.

And so I chose a Camelia.

It is a small flowered, light pink C. williamsii called 'Spring Festival' and turns out to have an AGM which is encouraging. It too has been trained up a frame so I can start it up the fence. It has lots of little buds, small leaves which are quite shiny (not really shiny enough at the moment) and I am hopeful it will be perfect.

I chose a C. williamsii not a C. japonica because williamsii don't need dead-heading, they drop their own flowers and it is in an awkward spot for deadheading.

It will be protected from Easterly winds by the fence and it'll get light shade. I just need to make sure it gets enough moisture because it is near the tree and the fence.

I shall plant it this weekend, and plan to put two small Clematis through it so that it will have flowers on the foliage through the summer and autumn as well. I am thinking of a white or pink midsummer one and a viticella like 'Minuet' but we'll see what I find at The Malvern Spring Show coming up in May. Can't wait.

Read 19445 times Last modified on Wednesday, 01 October 2014 09:23