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I'd either extend the border, 2 foot is very narrow, nor do away with it


I agree that the position alongside a conifer hedge is very inhospitable but I don't think anyone is suggesting that plants should just be plonked there and left to get on with it.

If plenty of nutritious and moisture retaining FYM and/or leafmould is dug into the soil to prepare the bed before planting, and watering and tlc provided for the first couple of years, then I believe Dryopteris would cope in that position, with a good annual mulch and of course a good dousing with a bucketful or two of water if it's seen to be flagging in a particularly dry spell.

That at least has been my experience. 

Blairs I know what you say is correct.   It's a difficult situation for most plants. 

Two things.

.....I dug up Dryopteris The King few years back and neglected it by leaving it unplanted on the top of lid on one of my compost containers (shady, dry) then noticed it doing very well in its first summer....prob growing 3 or 4' .  It is still there and It still looks fine. I always try to plant things where, in theory, they will thrive. (I hate unhappy looking plants)  at some time I will plant this fern in its ideal place...viz., in some good soil with moisture.  

Second thing......a neighbour has a Leylandii  castlewellan  gold hedge some 10 ' high and wanted something to grow on the shady and dry/parched side.  I suggested hemerocallis that grow reasonably well there albeit  with limited flowers.  He also grows Dryopteris in between ......soil was enriched before planting. Last I saw it was doing fine 

I have Centranthus, Crocosmia, Geranium Claridge Druce and shasta daisy( cant just remember the latin of the top of my head) they are all thriving under my neighbours hedge

My gardeb us 2ft higher than other gardens and the trunks are about 3ft away from boarder if not more. I have enriched solid and fertilise and water well. Will try and put another picture.


plants have thrived here, just stretched and pulled to light!


In a tight narrow border plants often stretch for the light.  Although sunny I have one such and I now grow mounded perennials there.  The tall plants at the back, on the wall, tend to encourage plants  in front to grow away from them. 

What plants did do well there Red Dahlia?  Apart from being pulled to the light you say they grew well...?  

Coincidently, I've just  watched gardeners world....recording ....and Monty has Dryopteris planted in his dry border ........think it was his lime avenue.  Check it out. 

I share Blair's comments about ferns basically....always thought they all needed moist shade but am surprised how adaptable (some) are

I had a geyser, heaucra, lupin, black wizard rudbeckia, hollyhock, scabiosa and dahlias In the bed. I have raspberries at the very left and back of the border. All grew well and flowered but pulled to sun.


the hollyhock didn't do too well with rust but grew like mad with the rusty leaves.


i have a foxglove to plant but I'm wondering if that would pull too. I have a little crocosmia type plant too with short strap leaves and that has done well. 


Which way does the bed face Red Dahlia?


There ought to be enough sun there for foxgloves not to pull to the light too much. 

Astrantias need good moisture Red dahlia ...they will disappear if it's too dry.

Liatris yes.  Should be good for them.  I think hardy salvias should be good there too.  Nepeta too.  Achilleas if reasonable sunshine.  None of these should be drawn by the light 

Try euphorbia amygdaloides and epimediums , water well in the first year to get them established first and then they should manage on thier own after that.

Fox gloves, forget me not, heucheras and  brunnera  will do very well too.( brunnera will trollerate dry shade once established). Thick mulches will help to improve moisture retention. 



hollie hock

I have couple of large beech trees at the bottom of the garden and have found that things like primoses, bugle, campions, foxgloves seem to do well.

Looks like my foxgloves have found a new home then. I have some perennial lobelia but I figure I will have to move most of my plants In spring to get my garden sorted! My partner keeps telling me im a pest and will never be happy!

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