What shall I plant in this bank?

Hi everyone,

Looking for some advice. Having just completed some more excavation around the house we are left with a tall earth bank, very claylike.

I would like to plant something in it that will make it maintenance free. I don't want to have to strim it as it's too high in places to make that practical and also it's big. Around 25 meters in length and 3 - 4 meters tall in places.

Ideally it would be something cheap, not require a geotextile covering of the bank and if it served to stabilise the soil too that would be good. The bank collapsed in the steeper areas during the recent rain, which is why I've made it a shallower slope.

Looking forward to hearing your suggestions!



we have nearly 2 acres...so always looking for giveaway plants!

I have them in the yard ... you want a pup? :0)

lovely...Ive seen these in bloom...now they would fill a nice big area on that bank James!

Then try a related plant, the century plant: they are amazing in bloom.


Loam soil is very fertile...usually about equal quantities of sand, silt and clay...plenty of rotted down compost...usually dark coloured and looks rich.

I could arrange that! funny we obviously have very different plant taste...the other plant I really love...is the Yukka!


I'd say a couple of years... I put the origianal plants in about 5 years ago on a barrier island. They have wonderful plumes and leaves swaying in the ocean breeze. However, the plumes blow seeds all around and now I have smaller ones everywhere that I weed out before they become too established. I have tried unsucessfully to dig-out the two original plants. I have burned them to the ground 3 times to try and burn them out, without sucess. Everytime I mow the lawn I get snagged by the leaves and itch all day. There is only one plant that is worse, thats' a Yucca or bayonette plant.

Carol, If you were closer I'd hire your husband.

What is loamy soil?

never had a problem with hollyhocks...and this year I have 6 in our border...which has good loamy soil... and several on stoney ground as well....would aim to get low coverage of the ground too someone mentioned vinca which is good...Lavatera lovely but disappears in winter... lots of leafy non deciduous bushes...

Pampas as an individual plant can look great...we managed to get rid of ours accidentally...Nick tried to split it...and it died...! we had ours for 15 years...and it stayed a fairly neat clump...about 3ft across....never cut myself on the leaves...but did notice if I caught the inside of my arm on the leaves...I would have an itchy rash for a couple of hours...easy to grow from seed too..

How quickly? Months or years would you say?

hollyhocks need really bad soil - I have tried to grow them in our garden but they hate it. If you notice them around towns they seem to like tiny knooks and crannies in paving or stony waste ground. If you want to plant these then don't add compost, leave the soil as is !

Budhlia and lavatera are two very good options for your bank as Suzie says. They don't really cover the ground but do make nice size bushes.

What about some hollyhocks.Rose tremière in french.I planted some in my garden a few years ago and they seed themselves from year to year.They don't need looking after and are very pretty.

Two other plants which are easy to look after and don't need watering apart from the first year are budhlia (arbre aux papilons) which as you can guess attracts butterflies and lavatera(sorry can't remember what it's called in english

Oh gawd no! Pampas is nasty. It cuts like a razor as you brush against its leaves and is impossible to remove once established! It quickly gets out of control and unkempt. Even burning it cannot kill it...

Thanks Jo, very kind of you :)

I'll PM you the address and keep you in mind if we are near at some point.


the north facing aspect should make it quite a good spot for bamboo, which gives a good windbreak at our cabin. We do have to keep the shoots cut back though, which always makes hubby swear, but is simply a case of treading on them to snap them off.

I have some sage seeds to send you and also suggest mint which covers very well and is good in north facing spots. So are chives, parsley&. I also have 2 thyme, some baby hazel trees, rosemary and some very invasive and useful bamboo that you are welcome to come and take cuttings of if it's not too far or en-route to somewhere for you. Chauvigny, 86300 Vienne. message me an address for seeds if you want them :)jo

Thanks Joan, I thought that might be the case, we have some old stuff, I'll be using that :)

as long as it is well rotted down - ie a year old - this will do great for your garden. Fresh manure will scorch the plants so needs a good year to break down into good compost.