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Pennine Petal
I can grow purple loosestrife! Sloping site, catches the wind, sun most of the day on 2/3 of the garden, but not as far north as you. Right up on the Pennines though so we always get the bad weather. Perhaps I just started out with some poor specimens. Will try again this year. I have seen some growing at the side of the road up the hill from me. Perhaps I will go and pinch some!
Bunny ...
We were given ours as garden fillers from friend of OH into non clay garden. In front , part are in rubble/hoggin bark clay side , sun from lunch til sunset, others are in heavy clay topped with bark , shade most of day til evening under beech trees (40ft high) ...spread ! Neighbour has them now too(she is a play thief) and hers will be clay /soil 20+yr old garden. Pinch some you have seen and try those otherwise I shall dig mine up and bring them

As Bob and others have said, clay soil is very fertile and will grow many plants very well but you do need to be patient and very generous adding layers of well rotted manure and/or garden compost every autumn.   The worms will work it in for you over the winter and the prodding with a garden fork will help aerate as well as improve drainage.

Friends of mine have just such a one hectare garden they started 9 years ago.   They make their own compost and also buy in tonnes of council compost every autumn.  He then spends December and January barrowing it around the beds.   Even after a few years it's making a huge difference and they grow a wide variety of trees, shrubs, roses, climbers and bulbs and hardy perennials so there's something to look at or smell all year round. 

Mabs

I have dry soil in part of my flower beds, no amount of watering helps, the water just "sits" on top of the soil. Can anybody help with ideas/suggestios.

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fidgetbones

Lots of well rotted farm yard manure or spent mushroom compost

 

Dovefromabove

It sounds as if the soil is compacted - as Fidgetbones says, dig in lots of manure and/or compost - you need to attract lots of earthworms. 

Fairygirl

Good advice there Mabs- the soil just needs breaking up with some nourishment  and elbow grease! 

KEF

bump

hi can anyone help last year we put in some raised beds & filled with loam soil after the really hot weather it is now rock solid even though it was well watered & hoed

I have waterlogged clay soil from about 8" under my top soil

Have dug it out to 15" deep and am going to try adding Dendrobaena Worms, covering them with (onion and Citrus Free) compost, adding more at regular intervals.

What I hope to create is an open wormery

Worms will aerate the clay, I hope

Only problem that I see is the water logging may drown the worms, so I will break up the base and add some coarse sand.

Any comments

Ross_Hill@talktalk.net

B3
I chuck spent potting compost onto clay. The the worms do the rest. There aren't many nutrients left but it improves the structure. This even works with the yellow stuff. There are usually short windows of opportunity when the soil is workable ( usually after moderate rain). This is when to dig it over. This works in London but I'm not sure how it would work in wetter areas.

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