Wildlife Gardening
World’s wildlife is captivating and should be nurtured. Here you can discuss plants to encourage wildlife to your garden, share your wildlife photography or any questions you may have.

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Wildlife in the Shade (5 replies)

8 years ago
Gardening_Graham 8 years ago


Having moved into my place last summer and fighting against the un-mown lawn etc I finally managed to get it "straight" and planted up several pots etc too. 

However there is an old un-pruned apple tree in near one side of the garden, next to the neighbour's garage that has virtually bare ground all around it in a six foot radius. Once I have pruned the tree back so that it is manageable again I would love to plant underneath it with wildlife friendly and attracting bits and pieces.

I will be grateful for any suggestions anyone might have? (I'm happy to grow from seed if needs be)

Thank you! 🙂

Old Gardeners never die, they just throw in the trowel

8 years ago
Florexpert 8 years ago

Hi Gardening Graham,

It would really help to know what type of soil you have under your old apple tree and how dry and shady it is.

For now I'll assume it is fairly shady in summer and gets reasonable light in winter when the leaves have fallen.

It would be nice to choose a few plants, and then plant a lot of the same plants in repeated grouped drifts under the tree, with a long blooming season if possible.

Here are just a few suggestions:

any Narcissus,

Allium ursinum,


Begonia grandis,

Hakonechloa macra,

Hostas (with slug bait...),

Helleborus x hybridus (choose light colours and group by colour, not mixed for best effect),

Crocus tommasinianus,

any Galanthus (so many snowdrops to choose from!),

Astrantia 'Roma' (sterile, won't seed around everywhere :))

Symphytum 'Bocking 14' (sterile again, brings nutrients),

Pycnanthemum muticum,

Digitalis (probably best to stick to one single colour),


Phlox divaricata (perfume...),

Asarum splendens,

Lamium 'Pink Chablis' (nice leaves and flowers all summer),

Brunnera 'Jack Frost',

Viola 'Eastgrove Blue Scented' (shear it once a year),

Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing',


Corydalis 'Blue Line',

Deschampsia 'Goldtau',

Festuca gautieri (nice spiky green mounds, almost looking like moss, group a few together?),

Anemone 'Whirlwind',

Euphorbia 'Fireglow',


Silene fimbriata,

Dryopteris erythrosora (or other nice ferns),


the list of possibilities is nearly endless, so I'll stop 🙂

Remarkable Garden Services
8 years ago
Remarkable Garden Services 8 years ago

Hi Graham

Not to view you with the finger details, what I've done in previous gardens is to put about 2 tone bags of top soil on top of bulbs, or wild geraniums. They'll cover the area and thrive in as minimum soil quality as possible. 

Monty talked about similar problems in his garden towards the end of the last Gardeners World series. He just put the bulbs down and put a spade of soil on top. 

8 years ago
Gardening_Graham 8 years ago

These are great ideas, thanks, much appreciated! 🙂

Old Gardeners never die, they just throw in the trowel

1 year ago
Josh835638 1 year ago

The concept of a wild garden is against formalism. Such gardens are laid out for more, agreeable communication with nature. Wild style of gardening follows no rules, but aim is to make the garden beautiful and natural. Wide variety of trees, plants and creepers are used in a natural way.

2 months ago
mikerooney179 2 months ago

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