Newly Registered
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Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2006 11:53 am

Best things to plant by a canal?!


I'm new here, so I hope I'm posting in the right place and everything :)

I've recently moved into a house located literally *on* a canal (in the East Midlands) (although there's probably about a half metre drop onto the canal itself), and I was wondering if anyone has any tips on what I should plant to be environmentally friendly/attract birds, butterflies etc.

The garden is rather small and doesn't really have a lot growing in it at the moment, except for ivy on the fence. The problem is also that it is mainly decking, although I'm hoping to change that. The free available space is located around the periphery, so tall growing plants would be no problem. Apart from that, I'd like to stick to pot plants/smallish plants where possible. I would also like tips on what could be planted around now, if that's possible :)

I know I'm asking a lot, but I'm not an experienced gardener or anything, and any help at all would be appreciated!


Greener Thumb
Posts: 1651
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: Quesnel, BC, Canada - Zone 4a

Hi Jenny-kitten! Welcome to the forum!
There a number of things to consider before any decisions can be made about what to plant. If you can send some answers to the following questions it would help:
- What kind of soil is it? (clay, sand, loam, etc)
- Is it fairly boggy and wet, or just damp?
- Does it dry out at all?
- What type of climate do you get - hot, scorching days, cool nights, rain, no rain, etc.
- How much space are you talking about?

That should help us have a better picture of the site you are describing, so that we can give you much more accurate advice.
Thanks Jenny-kitten, look forward to hearing back from you! :wink:

VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2006 11:53 am

Hi Val!

Thanks :)

I'm not very sure about the soil types - quickly read up on them but it's a bit confusing as the people before us have covered all the soil with tiny pebbles/stones etc. which we will be removing (nightmare!) so it's difficult to tell. Possibly chalky, loamy or silty?!

I think just damp.

I'm fairly sure it would dry out pretty much completely if left.

Usually it's mild, rains every few days though. At the moment hot days and coolish nights...

Hardly any space at the moment as it's literally just a strip around the perimeter - I'd guess the 2 main strips are around 3m long by about 20cm, and there is a bit of space at the front, which is why I'd prefer things that can be planted in planters/pots if possible.

Sorry I couldn't be more help, I'm not good at this sort of thing!

Greener Thumb
Posts: 1651
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: Quesnel, BC, Canada - Zone 4a

Great Jenni_Kitten! The first thing that you need to do before planting is amend the soil so that the plants will have the nutrients they need. You can read more about what to add in the Organic Forum. To remove the gravel/stones, you could shovel it through a screen, or rake it, for some reason all the rock keeps coming to the top. Then just shovel them up! Then come the plants!
I am listing plants that are butterfly and bird friendly, but because I do not know what zone you are in, I am not sure that they are all hardy to your area.

Perennials - Tall
Shasta Daisy
Purple Coneflower

Perennials - Medium

Perennials - short

Biennials - Tall

Honeysuckle Vine
Trumpet Vine

Annual - Medium

Annual - Short

Sand Cherry
Service Berry

That should give you a start, take a look at these and see what you think. Let me know if you need some more suggestions, and for sure let me know how it goes! :wink:

VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

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