Hi Celticus, So, your problems are: tricky access, hot, dry, limited soil, deer. I would work with what you have naturally rather than try to change it. Look for plants that are heat and drought tolerant and are not favoured by deer. Bearded and dwarf bearded Iris, native grasses, junipers, maybe a Swiss stone pine or eastern arborvitae — I would suggest you look around your area for what else nature has devised; visit neighbouring gardens and any public gardens you can. See if there are any show-stopper private gardens nearby that are open during Garden Conservancy open houses that might have similar situations to yours. Resist anything that says ‘new’ or ‘hybrid’ since it will, no doubt, be dessert to deer. Not much specific to help, I know, but good luck! Ailsa
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.