Steep north facing slope

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Poly Hive, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. Poly Hive

    Poly Hive Gardener

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2015
    Messages:
    76
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Scottish Borders
    Ratings:
    +71
    Behind our guest house we have this slope which is some 60 to 70 degrees. It gets very little sun and has been pretty neglected recently as getting the rubbish off it is pretty hard work as you can imagine. There are three apple trees which do not fare very well and the rest is brambles and weeds.

    Yesterday due to our increasingly bold whippet pup we had a fence erected at the top of the slope and set about clearing the weeds.

    What can we plant to cover the ground, suppress the weeds and even some colour would be good?

    Thanks in advance

    PH
     
  2. Sirius

    Sirius Total Gardener

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,341
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hertfordshire
    Ratings:
    +1,083
    Sounds like a good spot for some ferns.
    And also maybe some Hostas.
     
  3. westwales

    westwales Gardener

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2012
    Messages:
    706
    Location:
    10 miles from the coast in the rainy west
    Ratings:
    +598
    How big is the area and would tall plants obscure anything else? I'm thinking of shrubs with underplanting but whatever you put in, the brambles will win unless you get them all out first.
     
  4. JWK

    JWK Gardener

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    20,663
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Surrey
    Ratings:
    +23,115
    Bergenias are evergreen and don't mind shade and are very tough.
     
  5. Poly Hive

    Poly Hive Gardener

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2015
    Messages:
    76
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Scottish Borders
    Ratings:
    +71
    The area is roughly 20 feet top to bottom and some 40 feet across.

    There are three apple trees going into their 4th season and two shrubs.

    The lady of the house is allergic to ferns, even dead ones so that's a no go.

    The brambles are going to be an issue yes as digging them out with out abseil kit is frankly impossible.

    PH
     
  6. westwales

    westwales Gardener

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2012
    Messages:
    706
    Location:
    10 miles from the coast in the rainy west
    Ratings:
    +598
    I suppose it also depends on whether you look down on it or up. I also assume you still want access to the apple trees. Simple ground cover such as periwinkle - spreads very quickly, flowers all summer and can (just) compete with brambles might be an idea. Can you maintain a path to the apple trees?

    You may be able to establish a wild flower meadow which would self seed too. As you have a guest house it would also provide you with both cut and edible flowers.

    My favourite small tree Rhus Typina would provide ground cover in a few years as it sends out suckers and you'd soon have a forest but maybe uncontrolled it would become too rampant. Having said that as long as you keep an eye on the suckers they aren't difficult to pull out and the tree is very shallow rooted. It would give you good green leaves in summer and vibrant autumn colour and in spring open enough underneath for a mass of daffodils or other underplanting.

    In general I'd say if you can clear any of the ground, plant something with wide rosette type leaves which hog the ground and fight off the brambles, the type which you find on moorlands and seashores will be good. Wild Perenial Lupins are good colonisers if you don't have a big slug problem and even though it doesn't get much light primroses would probably survive.

    As a last resort you have both Brambles and Apples maybe you could allow the Brambles to take over and just maintain paths and provide yourself with Blackberry and Apple tart/crumble all year.
     
  7. Poly Hive

    Poly Hive Gardener

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2015
    Messages:
    76
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Scottish Borders
    Ratings:
    +71
    We look up at the bank.

    Wild flowers would indeed be ideal but we have tried to establish such twice and both failed. For a beekeeper, as I am, very disappointing.

    We are looking for climbers to run over the new fence, ground cover plants for some colour and we are very unsure of bulbs as near all the bulbs we have planted in other borders have failed. The crocus this year instead of flowering has put up poor looking leaves and no flowers at all. Yet the soil looks good with plenty of worms so at a loss with that one.

    Just been shopping and come back with two gallons of roundup so brambles beware.

    The effort involved in creating a path for the fruit trees is unjustified for one trip to prune and one to harvest. The new fence giving some good hand holds now....LOL

    PH
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2015
  8. westwales

    westwales Gardener

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2012
    Messages:
    706
    Location:
    10 miles from the coast in the rainy west
    Ratings:
    +598
    You can plant some climbers which are also happy to run over the ground, maybe a Clematis or two especially the spring flowering Montanas? Honeysuckle doesn't mind shade either. What about Bluebells (native British if possible) and wild garlic will also give you loads of fresh green leaves and a mass of white flowers (but only for about a month) if you like the smell. Those will spread themselves once established but pretty easy to pull out if they start to spread too far. Leaves especially are delicious. Heathers and things like Aubretia although usually seen on walls etc will also grow on a slope and provide ground cover, so will some plants more usually seen in rockeries eg Saxifrages. Now is a good time to look at what nature allows to thrive on roadside banks and see if any of those would do.

    Good luck with the Round up
     
  9. Poly Hive

    Poly Hive Gardener

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2015
    Messages:
    76
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Scottish Borders
    Ratings:
    +71
    Sage words there.

    First "sprayer" failed to produce any spray at all, just a poor dribble. Back to Asda and get exchange. 2nd one sprayed fine.....for all of five minutes then back to the sullen dribble. It's going back tomorrow for money back. Just rubbish. Yet on Amazon there are over 300 reviews at 4.5 from 5 so some happy customers out there, but definitely not here.

    PH
     
  10. Scrungee

    Scrungee Well known for it

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    15,542
    Location:
    Central England on heavy clay soil
    Ratings:
    +26,473

    I thought that garlic was poisonous for dogs even in small quantities and would want to check out whether it was suitable stuff to plant in an area for a dog to run in.
     
  11. Lolimac

    Lolimac Guest

    Ratings:
    +0
    Vinca would work well in that situation:blue thumb:
     
Loading...

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice