some advice on what to plant in a soggy garden please?

SallyfromtheValley asks: some advice on what to plant in a soggy garden please?
we have just moved to a house with a good size but neglected garden, and although i don’t have any gardening experience i would love to learn. we have started out by cutting right back some massive leylandi on one side, down to about 5ft. they look pretty rubbish although we now have loads more light in the garden. the other side of the garden borders our neighbours gardens with a wooden picket style fence about 5 ft high, and some very small shrubs. the ground here is very very wet. i would like to plant something that will eventually grow to about 5-6ft and be thick enough to bush out and hide the fence. ideally evergreen but maybe something that will flower yearly? i’d maybe like some thing tall at the back with something shorter in front so it looks really colourful in summer? any advice on what would be suitable to plant would be much appreciated. i live in lancashire, uk, if thats relevant. thanks

The answer voted best is:

Answer by sandy s
If I were you I’d get advice from a decent nursery. You could end up spending a lot of money on unsuitable plants that haven’t a hope of thriving. Take a sample of your soil with you, to get the pH done. That’s important too. Good luck!

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  1. I’m not familiar with what is available in your area…but do have some suggestions. Go through your new neighborhood with an eye to what sorts of plants you like that seem to be in similar soil and light conditions. If possible, take a leaf or twig to your local garden center to ask what it is. Your local garden center is also your best source of advice for what will work for you, and there are generally regional books that will have sections on what plants work in what kinds of areas. Your local garden center can also steer you toward the right book for your area.
    Your instincts for the evergreens, something shorter that blooms in front sound very good, I think you might be a natural at this! Gardening is an art, and it often takes experience and time to be successful at getting the look you want so if something doesn’t work don’t get discouraged, look for something else to try. Good luck!

  2. I have the same problem with wet soil. Do a web search for “plants wet soil” and you will get all sorts of suggestions from the pros. Good luck—

  3. Hydrangeas love wet soil – and are bushy enough although not evergreen. Hellebores, primroses and honeysuckle will like it and even an arum lily if the soil is workable. I also have Chaenomoles ‘Geisha Girl’ who sits for 9 months of the year with her roots in a muddy puddle – but is thriving. I have all these in my soggy garden. The Shrub Expert is a good book and will tell you how much light/shade and moisture a plant can tolerate.

    I agree with others on here – gardening is an art and you learn by doing. Happy digging.

    Laylandis don’t like to be cut back to old wood and may not shoot readily if this is what you have done. If you just lopped the top off they should be fine but will need regular lopping.

  4. Must be a reason for soggy patch, suggest you check this out first. is there a water or sewerage pipe running through the garden, could be possible leak?? best to check usually free, also if you cut down trees they will take less water & problem could get worse,shame to spend good money planting if the have to come out again.

    You can then plant what you like, but look for the more hardy plants.

  5. Go to your local garden centre and ask for advice from the water garden section on suitable bog plants. Some plants like Water lilies need to be submerged but other plants such as Iris, Calla lilies and Gunnera love their roots in damp soggy soil. Hope that helps.

  6. Hello Sarah.

    An important point to consider is whether the marshy ground dries out in summer or not. If your soil is clay, it probobly will. Therefore, you will need plants that tolerate these conditions and grow satisfactorily. Prepare your soil by the picket fence by digging in as much well rotted manure and sharp sand as you can get your hands on.
    Suitable shrubs for this situation include –
    Viburnum opulus ‘Xanthocarpum’, Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’, Salix, Sambucus racemosa, Kalmia latifolia and ‘Magnolia virginiana.
    I wish you all the best.

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