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PROBLEMS The Beechgrove Garden's Carolyn Spray answers your questions; How can I put my shady past behind me?

Byline: Carolyn Spray

QI HAVE a shady spot in my garden and have tried to grow all sorts of plants there but to no avail. Can you tell me if I'm wasting my time or are there any plants that will tolerate these conditions?

ADON'T worry. There are many plants which grow in shady areas. Just imagine wild plants in forests and jungles all over the world in the same conditions and they grow away quite happily under the tree canopies. If you'd like taller plants to give height then try acuba variegata which has green leaves speckled with gold and grows to about 6ft. They do produce berries in winter, but you'd need a male plant such as golden king to fertilise the variegata. For a medium-sized flowering shrub I suggest osmanthus burkwoodii which has perfumed white flowers in the spring and lovely leathery glossy foliage. For a low- growing flowering shrub there is nothing to beat the hypericum calycinum with its gorgeous shaving-brush flowers in late summer and early autumn. It reaches about a foot and spreads widely.

QI WAS given a Michaelmas daisy from a friend's garden. It was in full flower, but I watered it in. Then it promptly died on me. What did I do wrong? Also, where can I get New England asters?

AALL herbaceous plants should only be moved when they are fully dormant and have died back to a cluster of buds at ground level. This is between November and March and during this time you can divide and move them with impunity. New England asters - novae anglae - are available at all good garden centres in the spring. The best one is Harringtons Pink.

My favourite aster is frikartii monch which is a beautiful blue and doesn't get mildew as so many Michaelmas daisies do.

IF you have a gardening query, write to: Carolyn Spray, Seven Days Magazine, Sunday Mail, One Central Quay, Glasgow G3 8DA.
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Title Annotation:Gardening
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 12, 2000
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