Under the apple tree

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
5 replies 734 views
bossymoobossymoo Forumite
6.9K Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
What can I grow? It's quite shady, and I guess dry. Nothing has survived so far. I've tried a few shrubs, mainly hebes, and bedding plants, but they never seem to take. Shrivel up, and if you tug them, the rootball just ones out exactly as it went in...

Soil has a lot of clay, and is currently covered in chipped bark.

The opposite side has hebes, a bay, an acer and a magnolia that all seem fine. The only difference I can tell is the presence of the apple tree. Which I'd like to keep.

Ideally something low and shrubby to give a bit if form without taking over. Evergreen, maybe colourful?

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.


Away with the fairies :beer:


  • cjb02cjb02 Forumite
    608 Posts
    how big is the apple tree? ie 6ft or 20ft and how dry is the soil? is does the tree take all the moisture

    I would suggest maybe some sort of herb maybe mint which is very prolific or possible a poached egg plant which is low growing and has lots of flowers and again once established very prolific
  • BlondeHeadOnBlondeHeadOn Forumite
    2.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    We have crocuses and daffodils under ours for the Spring, followed by bluebells - which extend the season of interest until about the mid/end of June.

    Then we strim it all down, and leave it for the summer as it's too dry really to grow anything - and apples keep falling off and flattening them anyway.

    Looks nice in the Spring though!
  • bossymoobossymoo Forumite
    6.9K Posts
    I should say it's about 12ft tall. I think I might try some herbs and could even try a couple of pots then in autumn I'll do some bulbs for next spring.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Away with the fairies :beer:
  • edited 5 March 2013 at 9:43PM
    Cottage_EconomyCottage_Economy Forumite
    1.2K Posts
    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited 5 March 2013 at 9:43PM
    Have a search online for "apple guilds", particularly information from a book by Toby Hemenway called Gaia's Garden. If you have a look on the Scribd website there is an excerpt from his book and luckily it's on apple guilds.

    As far as I have seen from reading up on them, you can under plant with loads of plants, including currant bushes, fennel, comfrey, mints, clover, nasturtiums, etc
  • We have a similar sized tree. On the South facing side which gets lots of sunlight we have solved the problem by installing 3 small raised beds about 2 foot high, each filled with a rich compost mix in which we grow our salad crops. As we crop intensively we dig the beds out each year and fill with fresh compost/leafmold/soil which removes any root invasion from the trees.
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