Showing posts with label ferns. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ferns. Show all posts

Monday, February 25, 2013

Is it enough?

Not too long ago I wrote about the difficulty I'm having with the area under my cedar tree and a bunch of you chimed in with some really great ideas.

One of my favorites was Laurrie's suggestion to let the ferns develop into a large swath, "But make it a nice big sweep, not just a few." So I added eleven sword ferns to the four that were already there, along with four lady ferns (for a total of five of those). The lady ferns are in the back, along the fence, and they are sleeping right now.

Everything looks sort of ratty and sad right now but I'll trim back the trampled and brown fronds once the new growth starts to come up. And then I'll follow Laurrie's other advice to plant a Dart's Gold ninebark to brighten up this corner, a gro-low sumac (Rhus aromatica 'Gro-Low'), and to move the hellebores into the foreground.

It looks just like a ninebark!

And then I get to redesign the side entrance to the yard, from where I borrowed all these ferns. Hooray! Thank you Laurrie, and thank you everyone who lends gardening advice to me. I really appreciate it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hug a panicky bird


Did you have a good Thanksgiving?

We had a good long weekend. Greg and I played video games and watched bad movies and agreed that we left the house entirely too much. I cooked a big turkey for our friends but didn't eat any because I'm not crazy about it. Then I had to get on a plane on Sunday for a work meeting. But first I froze my butt off in the garden.

And now I need your advice.

This is the side entrance to the yard. It used to be in complete shade because my next-door neighbor's Ceanothus and Douglas Fir stretched into my yard and shaded this area. It was good and I planted all the ferns and hellebores I could get my hands on. Then my neighbor started going senile and thought I hated her Doug Fir and she had everything trimmed along the property line. Then this area was shady on the left but sunny on the right in the afternoon. Everything was fine until this August when we got a weekend of 100+ temperatures and then everything fried and flopped and looked like this.

This weekend I played whack a mole with my plants. I'd dig up one, decide to move it to another area, but then a different plant would be in its way, so I'd dig up that one . . . on and on. Right now the side yard has become a weird mishmash of plants, some of which will stay, others that will not.

This area badly needs height and some contrast. I gave it an enormous plastic pot of grass on top of an old kitchen stool. Sorry side yard, but not everyone gets to be an astronaut; someone has to fry the burgers.

The sweetbox (Sarcococca ruscifolia) has been there for over a year, stubbornly staying small. It's evergreen and fragrant and somehow escaped the blistering sun this summer, despite being a plant that is happiest in shade. So I think I wanna keep it here. I had toyed with the idea of an Acanthus hungaricus here but then I was given an Acanthus spinosus division from Ricki (whose gorgeous banners for your garden would make a terrific Christmas present) and that seemed like a reasonable replacement.

The Chinese fringeflower (Loropetalum chinense 'Sizzling Pink') was removed from another part of the yard and is hanging out here until I find a better place for it.

What would you plant here? It's fairly dry because of the Douglas Fir in the my neighbor's yard, and it sits in shade until the hottest part of the day, at which time it cooks. It's very narrow (less than 18"). It's a pain in the ass to get the hose over here, so moisture-loving ferns were never a good idea. 

Coming into the yard, where it's full sun almost all the time, I've put in Mexican feather grass, some salvias, and sedum 'Autumn Joy.' I ripped out the hops I had planted here because they couldn't climb this strange fence. I need something that can climb up anything. Would it be irresponsible to plant Virginia creeper? Would it even climb this?

Who has my inspiration?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hortlandia: The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon's plant show

I was so good, you guys. There were so many plants at the HPSO sale and I stuck to my list (mostly). I wanted ferns and I wanted crocosmia, preferably one of the crazier varieties from Far Reaches Farm. I am a newbie at this so I didn't know that you could call them ahead of time and ask them to bring plants down. It's too bad because crocosmia is completely unremarkable right now, so they didn't bring any.

There were, however, a lot of ferns. I was on the lookout for Woodwardia fimbrata, the giant chain fern. It's a NW native and it gets six feet tall and up to eight feet wide. What's not to love about a prehistoric hunk like that? We stopped at one table with a lot of ferns and asked. The woman was COMPLETELY BONKERS. She started laughing hysterically, talking about how she doesn't take them the Oregon, no wait, Eastern Oregon, no wait Washington, ha ha ha ha ha HAAAAAaaaaaa.

Greg looked at me like I'd dragged him into an insane asylum and he wanted out NOW. We backed slowly away from the table and hit Cistus where they had plenty of Woodwardia. I told him about the other wackadoo and how she said they're too hard to grow away from the coast. He sanely replied, "No, they grow just fine here."

Any tips?
Nope. Just put them in the ground and water them. You'll be fine.

No hysterical laughter, no word salad. Greg exhaled. He already liked Cistus, claiming it's the only fun nursery for him, but now I think he loves them. I installed it in the rain garden where it will get ample water. Grow, baby, grow!

I planted a Salal behind the rain garden but it could take many years for it get up to size. I decided to fill in this area with ferns in the meantime.

Click to embiggen

Ferns and fringecups (Tellima grandiflora)should hopefully obscure the gutter after some time. I got an evergreen Mexican male fern, a really cool looking golden-scaled male fern, a cinnamon fern, and a Japanese painted fern. I also put in three fringecups from another plant sale, and a lady fern from another part of the yard. Hopefully they won't look too silly with the non-woodland looking bamboo and Japanese aralia (Fatsia japonica) to the right. I love that plant too much to move it. It wards off bad spirits!

I also had a brainfart and confused broad-leaved shooting star (Dodecatheon hendersonii) with broad-leaf starflower (Trientalis borealis). I already have shooting stars in my yard and find them so uninteresting (even though they look crazy!) that I didn't take a single picture of them last summer. What I wanted was the painfully pretty starflower, a groundcover that likes shade. I've had a hard time finding it in nurseries here and I fell in love with it at a naturescaping tour. It was interspersed with meadow rue and it was the prettiest woodland scene I've ever seen. I mean, come on:

Image from here:

So pretty. Shooting star is neat-looking but not the look I wanted.

Image borrowed from here.

(In my head, at least) the leaves of the starflower would mimic the tropical-looking leaves of the Japanese aralia and it would fit in better with this scene. I'll just have to keep looking.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Oh thank goodness

Spring is here--the lady ferns arrived! I was so worried they would never show up. I have no idea how this lady fern took up residence with a sword fern. I have tried to extricate them from each other but they seem to be in love. So I let them cohabitate.


In the summer the lady fern really takes over, just like a woman (ba dum shish!).

I moved a bunch of lady ferns in the side entrance last fall and they have yet to pop up again. I don't know if they're dead, pouting, or just traumatized. My wild ginger, which every book and website promised would take over this area, has sat like a bump on a log for two years, neither dividing nor conquering. But if you get very close you can see that it's flowering.

Asaraum caudatum

Of course, all the ginger I planted will have to be moved, since I had the cedar tree underlimbed and this area is no longer shady. I have to rethink this whole area and plant things that like dry, sunny spots (can you hear Loree's pulse quickening?).

The first tulips arrived! I honestly can't remember what these are, only that Greg wanted orange bulbs so I planted orange bulbs. What baby wants, baby gets (as long as it's tulips).

The tufted-hair grass (Deschamsia cespitosa) is growing by leaps. The common rush (Juncus effusus) sits and waits.


My climbing hydrangea (Schizophragma hydrangeoides 'Moonlight') is leafing out but I hear it can take four years for this vine to really get going. So I have to be patient. Perhaps I'll make myself a cocktail to pass the time.

The leaves of this tiny trillium are not much bigger than my nail and I'm so pleased that the house painters didn't destroy them. I actively fretted about my stupid trilliums.

I moved a potted flowering currant here and I think the hot pink blooms are looking nice against the new paint job. So I guess it was worth all the worrying.

I cannot bring myself to trim my sedum 'Autumn Joy' of its summer seedheads. They are too pretty.

But you know what I should be doing, instead of taking pictures? Getting all of these in the ground.

My shipments from Annie's Annuals and High Country Gardens came this weekend while I was in California, helping my niece turn 8. I love my niece but do you know what torture that was? To know all of this was waiting for me?

Happy spring! For reals this time.