Posted: 21/09/2013 at 17:20
Clay is full of nutrients and most plants do quite well as long as it is not solid, dry so you cannot dig it. People normally tell you to add in grit but I found that easier said than done as when I dug a whole I had one solid lump of clay on the end of my spade. My garden is on so solid a clay that all we had to do to get a pond was to dig a hole. I have yellow clay and blue clay. My chidren made vases out of it and I dried them in the oven and they are excellent vases I still use. The flower beds were wet and cold in winter and like concrete in the summer, I have however had alot of success with Cynara Cardons, roses, clematis, day lilies, fox gloves, ferns, grasses, hostas, some irises, snow drops, daffodials and crocus and for trees, acers, cherries, hawthorns, etc then if it stays wetish you can try astilbe, ligularia etc. Most shrubs are ok as well from hydangeas to spireas and weigelas. In fact all sorts of things. Just make sure you dig a hole at least twice as large and deep as the pot of the plant you are putting in and add lots and lots of compost, and make sure you water when needed.In addition ever year I pile about 7 -10cm of homemade compost on top of my clay soil, no chance of digging it in but I have found that the worms absorb it into the clay and over the 11 years I have added it, I now have about 30cm or more of lovely soil before I hit the heavy clay. Even after the first year I added it there was quite a lot of improvement, so much so that I often forget that I am on very heavy clay until I decided to create an annual wild flower meadow and had to strip of the turf. I ran my Mantis over it which just scratched the top few inches but I still sowed it and it has been lovely all summer.