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Avatar for radreg
May 24, 2020 2:29 PM CST
Thread OP

I would like to plant some british trees/shrubs that are good for wildlife and can grow in shaded areas. There is a large patch of my garden that is mostly shaded throughout the day. Even if they don't grow particularly well, as long as they survive I would be happy.

Second question is how to cover the damaged wall shown in the pictures? I think the previous owner had a barbeque and damaged the wall. It is in the shaded area so I would probably need some climbers that can tolerate shade and other hedges/plants/tress that can survive well in the shade.

Suggestions don't definitely need to be British plants, I just like wildlife so would prefer to plant as much native stuff that is good for wildlife as possible.

Probably asking for a lot but any advise is appreciated.

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Avatar for PlantingOaks
May 27, 2020 5:13 PM CST
central ohio (Zone 5b)
So, I have definitely never gardened in Britain, (though I have visited once Hilarious! ), but I hate to see a question go unanswered, so I will give it a shot and maybe someone else will see it and contribute more.

If you wall is truly full shade - like, along the south side of the yard, never gets sun all day long, you are going to have a tough time of it. I know taxus will grow in full shade, athough it will be a bit scraggly. It is at least evergreen, and you can get them in whatever height you like. I can't think of any vine that grows in complete shade other than english ivy, and I wouldn't really recommend that. Maybe some tall tropical annuals? (but here I am completely out of my depth, so hopefully someone else can advise on that front)

If it gets a few hours of sun, you can probably get by with trees and shrubs that grow in the under story, though, again, they may be a bit scraggly, and probably won't bloom as much as expected. If you're looking for wildlife benefit, something with flowers and berries will have the most impact.

I did a little research and it seems that Britain's native hazel (corylus avellana) is an important wildlife plant. The full-sized tree would probably be too large for your space, but it has a contorted version that it a popular garden plant which might manage?

Some other potential species I found. They have widely varying soil preferences which you would want to look into, but all seem to tolerate partial shade. I found them on this site:

Wayfaring Tree (Viburnum lantana). Different species of viburnum are frequently recomended in north america as having a good balance between wildlife benefit and attractive appearance. There are several cultivars. Similar case with Viburnum opulus (I just planted some of the american subspeices of that one in my wooded area!)

Cornus Sanquinea (redtwig dogwood) is another british understory plant with wildlife value and gardenworthy qualities. It's most famous for red branches which look good in the winter.

Rowan is also an under story plant with ornamental and wildlife value. Potentially too tall though.

Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus) is an understory shrub with berries

and another Buckthorn (Rhamnus carthatica) which is apparently an invasive weed in the americas Thinking so maybe that means it would be sturdy and beneficial where it belongs? Don't know how attractive those last two are though.

Edit: It's funny how plant types are circumpolar. Virburnums and Dogwoods are some of the most frequently recommended wildlife plants here as well. It was fun looking up thing from a different perspective, and hope you can find something that works for you.

Oh, and another thought. Once a tree gets taller than the fence, it won't be shaded anymore, which should make it happy.
Last edited by PlantingOaks May 27, 2020 5:23 PM Icon for preview
May 28, 2020 2:35 AM CST
Name: Amanda
KC metro area, Missouri (Zone 6a)
Bookworm Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: Missouri Native Plants and Wildflowers Roses
Region: United States of America Zinnias Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
@kniphofia can maybe help.
May 28, 2020 4:37 AM CST
Name: Sue Taylor
Northumberland, UK
Amaryllis Region: United Kingdom Houseplants Frogs and Toads Foliage Fan I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Container Gardener Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Annuals Bee Lover
I think the first thing to establish is what kind of shade you have. Does the area get any sunlight at all during the day?
English ivy doesn't have the awful reputation here that is does in the US and IMO is one of the very best wildlife plants. There are some really stunning cultivars available and the variegated varieties in particular can really brighten a shady situation. The blooms are great for insects and the birds eat the berries. It also provides nesting cover.
Hollies are fantastic shrubs. If I had my time again I would have a garden full.
Here's a link to some suggestions for shrubs from RHS.
Best of luck with your garden and do keep us updated with your progress.
Avatar for PlantingOaks
May 28, 2020 6:27 AM CST
central ohio (Zone 5b)
Really interesting kniphofia!
I was unsure about the ivy because of its reputation for damaging walls - and that wall has already had a hard life. Is that problem overblown?
That's cool that it's a wildlife plant. I would never have guessed.
May 28, 2020 9:06 AM CST
Name: Sue Taylor
Northumberland, UK
Amaryllis Region: United Kingdom Houseplants Frogs and Toads Foliage Fan I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Container Gardener Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Annuals Bee Lover
Yes the ivy will develop adventitious roots which can adhere to fences and walls. If you're worried about that I would still consider growing it up an obelisk type structure.
Also remember "untidyness" in the garden can be good for insects, hedgehogs etc.
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