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I am hoping someone could advise me on what to plant in my front garden after we lost a huge conifer in the recent storm/flooding. We have chalky soil that is not that easy to dig deep in and I have been left with a gap of about 4m x 2m. I would love some sort of large shrub that is easy to maintain and flowers but can get to about 6-10 feet tall that can act as a sort of barrier/border to stop people walking through my front garden! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you x


Hi Tilly, re your problem with interlopers  -  I know exactly how you feel. 

Firstly, as it's a conifer you've removed, the soil will need a bit of nourishment, so add some farmyard manure (well rotted) if you can get it, or dried stuff which you can get from GCs or DIY stores, some fresh compost and a sprinkling of general fertiliser of your own preference. Can you let us know what sort of aspect the area is, as that can affect suggestions too, and would you want something evergreen or does that not matter? There will be loads of suitable shrubs so any extra info you can offer will be a big help 


A buddleja will tolerate lime and quickly fill the gap. There are lots of different colours... pink , white, reddish, as well as the normal pale purple of the wild sort.

Or Buddleja x weyerana has orange flowers that go on until the frosts.

Maybe you need something a bit prickly if you are trying to stop people taking a stroll across your garden. How about a mahonia or a berberis stenophylla?

Many thanks for your replies so far,

Fairy girl , my front garden is West facing, getting the sun in the morning.

I would prefer evergreen but something that had bright flowers at some point.

I already have a holly bush either side of my gate and a magnolia tree so would like some shrubs to maybe go with them that would fill the gap without getting too huge as I am enjoying getting a little bit more light from the now vacant conifer






Hello Tilly,

Hey fidget, that's my suggestion too.  A buddleia.  It will be happy in poor chalky soil and will grow fast.  Especially if bought as a 3 litre plant.  

Senecio greyii is evergreen and will do well there...silver foliage a d yellow flowers In June and July.  

Try to dig as deeply as you can though

A favourite shrub of mine is choisya ....lovely glossy aromatic foliage and in spring loads of white flowers heavily scented with orange/vanilla.  Easily kept low too and evergreen.  There is a yellow variety too ....Sundance.  Check both out 


Viburnums would be fine there Tilly. There are lots of types - evergreen as well as deciduous, and they have white or pink flowers. Pretty trouble free and usually you get a good selection at GCs,  nurseries and DIY stores. The Mahonia  Ceres mentions is a good idea. The bigger varieties like 'Charity' and 'Winter Sun' will get to a good height. Yellow sprays of flowers in winter time. Again, easy to obtain.  I don't know if your Magnolia is a pink variety or a white one but the white Viburnums would work with both and the Mahonia would look very smart with the Hollies. A pink Viburnum would work well with a pink Magnolia. You could put a Buddleia in there as well - it will quickly fill the space while the other shrub grows. 

Thank you all so much for your suggestions, I can't wait to go shopping.

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