fallofrain
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New Gardener, What to Plant with Lilies of the Valley

Hi. I am a new gardener and have a very small space to work with. We live in the city and just have a patch of dirt around a grown tree outside (surrounded by sidewalk) most of which is filled in by tree roots.

Last year we removed all the ivy that had taken over this spot (and, fingers crossed, it does not look like it has come back this year). In early spring we planted a few Lilies of the Valley. They are my favorite flower and my mother actually brought me some pips that she had try to force over the winter for my wedding without success. They are coming up slowly and one has a flower already. :D She also brought me some pots that had blooms but I did not realize how much water they needed and, unfortunately, the blooms have already faded. (I learned my lesson and am watering the plants every day now rain or not).

I'm trying to figure out what I should plant with the lilies of the valley so that we will have blooms throughout the summer. Any thoughts of what else would do well here? If so please let me know any suggestions on when I should plant them.

The area is somewhat shaded as it is under a tree and on the north side of the building but it still gets a good deal of sun.

Thanks very much in advance.

bullthistle
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Hosta, astible or go to perennials.com and put in shade and you'll bring up as many plants as you can imagine but the tree roots will take as much mositure as you will give the perennials. Anyway to build up the soil?

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Kisal
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I plant flowers around established trees. I'm glad you got your Lilies of the Valley started, so you can enjoy them. I would plant annuals, myself. In such a confined place, and working around the tree roots, I think dealing with perennials would be difficult, because most of them ... the ones I'm familiar with anyway ... will eventually need to be dug up and divided.

I'm facing just such a situation right now. I recently cracked a rib when trying to re-establish the edge of the flower border around a tree. The blade of my shovel hit a root, and the shovel rebounded and hit me in the side. :(

Later this year, I have to go remove the Siberian iris I planted in that bed several years ago, so I can relocate them. I'm not looking forward to the job. :P

That's all just my opinion, however. I'll never put perennials around a tree again, though, unless they're in containers.

fallofrain
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Location: Philadelphia

Thanks so much for the suggestions. We did raise the soil a little. We put stones around against the sidewalk one the one side (there was no room to do so on the street side) and so there’s a little bit of soil, but not much. I don’t think we could really raise it much more than it is already.

My mother suggested annuals as well. Perhaps I’ll give that a try at least for this year.
I’ll probably have to dig up the lilies of the valley at some point to separate them as well but at least that will a bit less complicated.

Thanks again.

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Kisal
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I don't think digging up the lilies of the valley will be anywhere near as difficult as digging up a perennial could prove to be. You'll probably be able to use a trowel for the job, as opposed to a spade or digging fork.

I like annuals. Yes, they have to be planted every year, but you can jave something different every year, if you like. :)

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rainbowgardener
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shade under a tree

It is a difficult spot for things, because it's not only shady, but the tree sucks up a lot of moisture. Some perennials that tolerate that pretty well but wouldn't need dividing, because they are ground cover-y, just spread out slowly, include sweet woodruff, hay-scented fern (ferns and lily of the valley is a very pretty combination that I've done in the past and the hay-scented is a native fern that doesn't need as much moisture as some) and trailing arbutus (ground laurel). I don't have experience with the arbutus, so I don't know how easy it is to grow, but it's described as having fragrant flowers.

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