Hosta leaves. Read "5 Problem-solving Plants"

Eleanor Clarke


5 Problem-solving Plants

We’ve all got a corner of the garden that’s tricky to beautify, whether the soil’s so shallow plants just curl up and die, it’s too dark and gloomy, or it might be London clay that’s making us despair. But nature’s brilliant and there’s always a plant that will slot in and thrive, whatever the deal. We’ve put together this little list to help you solve those frustrating – and, far too often, expensive – planting problems. 


Shallow container: Succulents

These cute little water-saving dynamos get top marks if you’ve an old butler’s sink, a wide, shallow pot or similar to upcycle and plant up. Make sure there’s plenty of grit in the compost for drainage, as well as drainage holes in the container. 

Hosta leaves

Deeply shaded side return: Hostas

These shade lovers have some of the most glamorous leaves in the plant kingdom: all vintage seersucker crinkles, chunky pale blue-green ribs or splashes of green tones in painted brushstrokes. We especially recommend the ones with a cream edge to the foliage to brighten a dark corner.

Green Yew branches with red berries

Scared of box caterpillar: Yew

You’d be wise to think hard before forking out on box balls and topiary. It’s gorgeous, creates elegant, tightly packed evergreen shapes in the garden, but it can quickly be left devastated by box caterpillar. Yew is a great alternative that tolerates shade well and can be clipped just as easily.

Red Rose Bush

Clay soil: Roses

We love roses here in London. They’re just the best at coping with the heaviest of the capital’s soils. Bung ‘em in, add a bit of compost to the planting hole and they’ll thrive in your nutrient-rich heavy clay.

Shield Fern Branches

Dry shade under a tree: Shield ferns

Give them some help with moisture-retentive compost or leaf mould dug into the planting hole if you can, and they’ll thrive. Many shield ferns are evergreen and all are lush and exotic looking – we love them. 


Remember, if we don’t have specific plants in stock, just come and ask one of the team. We’ll be happy to suggest an alternative or order it for you, if we can. 


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