Dry shade flowers

Astrantia Beauty

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One of the gardens I work in has a really long border made up of really really dry shade. It gets at most 30 minutes of direct sunshine a day when the sun peeps through the buildings it is surrounded by. Over the last two years I have read lots of shady space books and scoured the internet for dry shade loving plants that are not too dangerous to be in an area with lots of small children. I have replanted it with a variety of plants at least four times; of course once was because of careless builders dumping scaffolding boards on a month old planting scheme.
My latest attempt was put in, last spring with Hellebores, Heucheras and this gorgeous Astrantia ‘Buckland’. Nothing much happened with it the first year, a few flowers but not the greatest show. I didn’t divide it because it wasn’t looking hugely strong but it has more than made up for it this year. It’s been flowering fantastically for a while and the children simply love it.

Tiny flowers

Erodium Roseum

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Sometimes a small flower can have a large impact; this tiny alpine is a fantastic ground cover and forms into hummocks (love that word), keeping the weeds down beautifully under larger shrubs. A friend has this on two long patches on the driveway and it gets run over regularly but still produces beautifully.

Millpond – painting heads gallery

A wonderful set of beds designed by Diane of Urban Eden Designs got painted in all sorts of animal patterns.

Millpond Primary – Design

Diane’s design is gorgeous, lots of colour, a massive increase in growing area without impacting too much on playing area. What is currently grey and frankly quite dismal and boring will hopefully come alive with people growing and eating.

If you want to see the beautiful watercolour designs she created they are available on the Urban Eden School Gardening pages.


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Love the idea of using old mosaic tile patterns as a basis for patchwork and applique


...an emerging social science


by Jack Monroe, bestselling author of 'A Girl Called Jack'