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Suggestions anyone?
The lowest branches on my Magnolia stellata are very near the ground. The roots are very near the surface. Speedwell and celandines have no problem colonising the space but I would like something labour saving that can be established without much digging to prevent said weeds from taking over. Spring is no problem but weeding in summer is rather difficult unless you are built like a grass snake...



what about some of the phlox sublata or ajuga as they come in many leaf colours and there is a really nice pink flowered one instead of the usual blue.

7 May, 2018


I love the creeping dogwood Cornus canadensis. It has so much to offer; might be worth a try.

7 May, 2018


Thank you for replying!

Thats pretty Jimmy. I looked it up and it suggests humus rich soil though, and under the tree its rather hard and dry as well as very shady.(Even the speedwell is on the small poor side...) Suppose I ought to mulch it really.

Sbg, not enough light for the phlox unfortunately as its pretty shaded under the tree - the lowest branches are only about six to eight inches above the ground..
I put a couple of Saxifrages on the other side and they grow well but don't flower so they are coming out into better light. Will have a go with the Ajuga - there's plenty in the lawn...(blush...)in spite of my efforts.

I suppose I could cut the bottom branches off but it seems a pity as it looks so nice when its in flower.

7 May, 2018


Hi I have been doing this today, a large stellarta in a new clients garden, it’s in a smallish border so I have carefully renovated it without it being obvious, the lower branches that were draping on the ground have been lifted, established beneath are drifts of pulmonary, so that may be an idea, I may plant a brunera Jack Frost yes it will give much interest through spring and summer but will die back for winter so for winter spring some galanthus and aconites etc would work and some primula denticulatas, a couple of heaucharas would look good, however don’t be afraid to cut some of the surface roots out so you can fit these plants in, and also lift some of the lower branches, it will make a real difference.

7 May, 2018


How would you lift the branches Julien? I did think of cutting them off but I do like the effect of them being so low. Pulmonaria sounds nice, one of the plain blue ones would be good, but would it tend to get mould in such a dry spot?
I would never have dared to cut some roots as the tree is very precious for sentimental reasons but will give it a go.
Jack Frost is a great idea (again as long as it can stand the dryness.) I have a few blue anemone nemorosa and some anemone blanda but the latter are much fewer this year for some reason. Probably all needs a good mulch.Surprisingly there's a couple of self sown Welsh poppies - I bet they wouldn't have germinated if I'd sown them there! I'll try a heuchera too and see how it gets on.

Thank you for all the suggestions.

8 May, 2018


Hi , on the stellata I have been working on, it is very large, have reduced its height and have cut some of the lower branches off to the trunk, I have purposefully only taken a few out so it leaves about two feet from the ground this makes it stand out properly,lifting it any higher would not look correct I feel for a stellata.

8 May, 2018


How big do they get then Julien? I thought they weren't particularly tall ones, though I was amazed to discover how wide they can get. All set to take over the border in another 20 years or so (when i won't be around...)_

8 May, 2018


Yes they are not particularly tall, but depending on the situation and other surrounding shrubs then sometimes a reduction in the hight can benefit the rest of the planting scheme, the girth like you say can be a problem, with this I use selective pruning over a few years so flowering is not overly affected a bit similar to clipping a overgrown camellia.

8 May, 2018

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