Small Stream, Steep Bank = What Plants?

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by dan_uk_1984, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. dan_uk_1984

    dan_uk_1984 Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi all,

    Iâ??m lucky enough to have a small plot of land about 12â?? by 30â?? that is next to a small river/stream. At the moment the area is unused and is covered in nettles and other unwanted plants. There is about 8â?? of usable space on top of the bank which I think I know what Iâ??m going to do with, but then there is the bank itself, which is relatively steep and in the winter the water level rises so plants will probably be drowned if not washed away completely.

    As I can probably only plant in it during the summer months I thought this was ideal for vegetables like Marrows etc, something that I can plant 1â?? above the waterline so it can find its own water (Iâ??m terrible at watering things) I would also like to grow a pumpkin, but wondered if I planted the pumpkin lower down, and then trained it up to the top of the bank (about 4â??) would it actually be able to get the water up that high? (may be a stupid question!)

    Are there any other plants (fruit or veg) that would really enjoy having an ample supply of water, but would grow happily on a steep bank?

    Iâ??ve attached a few photoâ??s, just so you have an idea of what Iâ??m talking about!

    Thanks,

    Dan

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. strawman

    strawman Gardener

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    Hi, Dan. If I had something to plant like your example, I would have been tempted to put in some ferns, and perhaps some Cornus alba 'Sibirica' to help bind the soil that makes the banking. Although the cornus only has tiny flowers, it really comes into its own during winter, having bright red stems. Their native habitat is along rivers and streams. I hope this helps.
     
  3. dan_uk_1984

    dan_uk_1984 Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi Strawman, Thanks for the suggestions, just googled Sibirica and it looks great. I'm going to grow some hawthorn on the other side of the bank to give some defence against the kids in the park who wouldn't think twice about hopping over the stream, rather than putting a fence up.

    I really liked your post on your pond, I think I may end up trying to do something similar as the growing veg idea has passed :)

    Dan
     
  4. Doghouse Riley

    Doghouse Riley Head Gardener

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    Does the stream rise in winter?

    I ask this because one of my kids bought a new house in West Houghton about ten years ago, where there was a stream at the bottom of the garden about fifteen feet below the house, which fed into the local reservoir. The first wet winter, the stream rose six feet and took all the plants he'd put in and several railway sleepers he'd used to line the edges of the stream!
     
  5. clueless1

    clueless1 member... yep, that's what I am:)

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    What about hybrid Willow? I saw a program a while ago where it was used to prevent erosion of the bank side, because eventually you'll loose your land if you don't control the erosion. On the program they simply pushed the Willow sticks into the mud actually below the waterline, and wove them together.

    On my land, a stream is the actually boundary, so I tried the trick I saw on the program in a couple of places where erosion is particularly bad. That was last winter, so far it is doing well. You could also plant some Marsh Marigold in there (assuming I identified the plant correctly), it can withstand being submerged for a while, spreads pretty well, and has pretty yellow flowers. Not to be confused with regular Marigolds, which I think are an entirely different species if I'm not mistaken.
     
  6. lollipop

    lollipop Gardener

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    I think it looks beautiful as it is, why not consider some steps down rather than planting that patc up.
     
  7. geoffhandley

    geoffhandley Gardener

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    You need to keep the ground vegetated to stop the stream washing away the soil when it floods. If you take out the grass then it would just erode. Guelder rose is good in such a situation and looks good. Try wild primrose and snowdrops. They have seeded down my stream bank and dont mind the occasional inundation. If you wanted you could even try the giant rhubarb, Rheum which is a real toughy. If you have water voles in the stream try and keep it open, they don't like too much shade. When I stuck in some willow shoots to stabilize my bank I found I had kingfishers that were using them to hunt from.
    To stop the kids getting across stick some wild rose in the hawthorn. It is like living barb wire.
     
  8. dan_uk_1984

    dan_uk_1984 Apprentice Gardener

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    Doghouse Riley - Yes it does rise in the winter, it's already risen about a foot from all the current rain and it does move fairly quickly, but the higher it gets the slower it goes if that makes sense.

    Clueless1 - I've thought about woven willow, I think it may be the way I have to go. The stream is our boundary too, so I'm keen not to loose any land!

    Lollipop - When summer is in full swing it is just all nettles, so I need something else to compete for space that isn't going to sting me!

    Geoffhandley - Thanks for the suggestion on plants, is giant rhubarb actual rhubarb? ie can I make giant rhubarb crumble!?

    Thanks for your responses, certainly gives me something to be thinking about!

    Dan
     
  9. geoffhandley

    geoffhandley Gardener

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    No you cant. I think it is a Gunnera. it is a huge plant.
    This is it
    http://www.edenproject.com/shop/go/plant.aspx?id=861
     
  10. clueless1

    clueless1 member... yep, that's what I am:)

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    Would that be what I know as wild rhubarb, the very poisonous plant that grows wild at damp woodland edges?
     
  11. kindredspirit

    kindredspirit Gardening around a big Puddle. :)

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    I think it's beautiful as it is.

    If it's in danger of being washed away, I'd plant bulrushes (typhia Latifolia), Meadowsweet and Purple Loosestrife for both summer and winter interest. You can plant all these in the water or on the bank.

    (Just my two cents worth)
     
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