There is a suitable plant for all types of garden conditions. So whether your plot is damp or well drained, you can work the soil to your benefit.
The level of moisture in your soil, its wetness or dryness, can vary within your garden. Compaction of the soil, poor drainage or a high water table can result in wet soil. This can be influenced by soil type, changes in level or natural springs. Lower areas will be wetter than higher areas, whilst hollows collect water and so are more damp than other areas.
If you have poor drainage due to soil panning then deep digging may loosen the soil. Digging in organic matter may help wet soils that do not have a high water table as this breaks up the soil structure into smaller crumbs. Alternatively, raised beds may be necessary. Planting trees and shrubs on raised mounds will help to protect against water logging.
Some areas may be very cold and wet in winter, but dry out totally in summer. This is very common of clay soils. You can install drainage or add organic matter to improve the drainage but you will still need to select plants need to tolerate both of these extreme conditions.
Some soils may be dry due to thin chalk soils or sand. These conditions can be improved by adding organic matter to increase water retention or by irrigation. Plants such as Lavendula angustifolia, Cistus and Thymus will thrive in such conditions.
Areas wet due to a high water table will be waterlogged. Boggy areas can be planted with marginal plants such as Caltha palustris, Primula japonica, Rodgersia pinnata and Trollius europaeus. Plants suitable for wet areas include Astilbe, Cornus alba, Hosta, Iris laevigata, Kerria japonica and Weigela. Alternatively, drainage systems can be installed.
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