Six on Saturday: 20.4.19 Ferns and fronds

This last week has seen me unwrapping my tree fern from its Winter protection and the start of many of the fern fronds unfurling. Fresh fronds in Spring are one of the purest greens in the garden. They are a great joy to watch each year as they uncurl. While I appreciate many people may not share my interest in ferns please have a scroll through to see their different forms. Next week I promise to return to the tulips I’m sure the rest of the garden bloggers will be posting about. So here we have six ferns in the garden.

1. Dicksonia Antartica

I’ve just unwrapped my tree fern from its winter covering. Tree ferns are meant to be large majestic showpieces for the garden. Mine is still a runt. It has however survived the winter as it has fresh fronds unfurling. I’m looking at a good many years until it develops its characteristic trunk. James Wong had written about the need for care in April so I’ve given it a good water and going to look at some fertilizer. I bought it last year and it suffered from the drought. I’d like to give it a better start this year.

2. Asplenium scolopendrium ‘Harts tongue’

Hart’s tongue is one of my favourite ferns. For many, it grows like a weed but it is evergreen and with the wider fronds it can survive in pots and in the ground. The fronds on this one are lovely tight spirals uncurling gradually. It adds a nice contrast of shape and texture amongst the other ferns in fern corner. The fronds are wonderful tight hairy coils.

3. Dryopteris Affinis ‘Cristata the King’ Scaly male fern

This is deciduous in my area. In warmer areas, it can remain evergreen. I bought this reduced as it was shrivelled and brown. However, I was confident it would recover with fresh ferns in Spring and I’ve been repaid for my faith. New fronds are coming through so hopefully have a nicely filled out fern again soon. This can grow to heights of a metre but I’ve generally seen it shorter than that but we’ll see as the year goes on.

4. Fern Matteuccia Struthiopteris ‘Ostrich Fern’

I purchased three of these from Sarah Raven. This one is coming up well, the others no sign of life yet. Maybe stick to the flowers from there. More her area of speciality. The ostrich fern is another deciduous fern. I’ve only just started to add deciduous ferns as I mainly bought ferns for that constant evergreen backdrop but I’ve come to appreciate some of the other forms. The change of colour in Autumn provides a different type of interest.

5. Fern plugs

I bought a cheap set of fern plus. I think one is another harts tongue fern, one is looking to holly fern. I need to have a look through the books or wait a bit longer for the others.

6. Windowbox planter-Fern Asplenium Trichomanes ‘Maidenhair spleenwort’

I started work on window box planters for the front garden. As we are having fresh render on the house I don’t want to drill into it yet. So these will be raised on stone bricks to height. I’ve done two of these windowboxes planning plants for the shaded conditions. They each have two Asplenium trichomanes ferns. This is a lovely small delicate evergreen fern to give the box some constant interest. Then the shoots you can see are hosta blue mouse ears. This grows with pale glaucous blue leaves to a height of about 10-15cm. Both came through the post from Edrom nurseries and I’m very happy with the state of them. You never know what you’ll get with online purchases but these are great. I’ll look at some Autumn crocus or cyclamen for Autumn interest and snowdrops for late Winter and Spring.  It’ll hopefully look nice as it fills out. I’ve never really bothered seriously with window boxes. I’ve always seen them as something terribly old fashioned filled with horrible bedding plants so I’m looking to make something I’m happy with.

I hope my exploration into ferns this week hasn’t bored you all too much. Alice isn’t too interested in the ferns either. She’s been enjoying her hand me down tractor from her cousins and the return of the bubble machine. I promise to give you some flower love next week. The tulips are looking set to hit their stride. The dahlia seedlings are looking ready to pot up.

If you fancy taking part in six on Saturday check out the participant’s guide. Then check out the comments in The Propagators latest six to see other gardeners six. With gardeners contributing from around the world there are lots to enjoy.

I’ve got dahlia seedlings to pot up and a bit ground to attack with the mattock. The weather is supposed to be warmer so I hope you all manage to get out and enjoy yourselves.

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Six on Saturday: 6.10.18 wet Autumn day

After another period of dry weather, it looks like today is going to be a wet day. That’s the bulb planter cancelled for the moment. I don’t think Alice will go along with doing it in the rain. At least the ground will be softened.

1. Cyclamen

I’ve bought a few large cyclamens from Tescos. These ones haven’t flowered yet. Most of the trolley had red flowers, so we’ll see what colour these come out. They’ll give a nice burst of colour in the foliage corner. The leaves are nicely veined and fit well with the heuchera.

2. Fatsia-spider web

Carrying on from last week, I bought another fatsia for the patio. This is a variegated version. Accounts differ about whether it is less hardy than the standard variety. We’ll see over the winter in a side by side comparison.  It also isn’t supposed to grow quite as big. I had considered bringing it inside for the winter, but I think I’m going to just try to keep it sheltered.

3. Aeonium arboreum-Zwartkop

My aeonium was left out last winter. It survived, but lost a lot of leaves. Having hung on in there it has gradually recovered over the year. So this year it’s coming in. I’m going to try it in the loft. There is a sky light giving a small amount of light and it shouldn’t need much water during the dormant winter season.

4. Sarracenia-pitcher plant

Having talked about some going in, now one going out. I had this pitcher plant inside, but can’t find a position it is happy in. The windowsills are all too bright and it was getting some leaf burn. Pitcher plants need lots of light, combined with lots of water. Ideally, rainwater. Pitcher plants are carnivorous, so take nutrients from insects. The hard tap water I get would do it harm. It was suggested putting it outside and it seems to be a bit happier. It will shrivel down for winter like a herbaceous perennial. It is currently being tested for UK winter hardiness with the plant being grown outside all year. As I don’t have a good spot inside I may leave it out and see how it does. I may lose it, but it isn’t going to thrive inside.

5. Holly fern-fortunei

Another fern going on the patio. While it’s browned a bit at the moment it was cheap and new fronds in Spring will replace the brown ones. I have one in the border already in fairly deep shade, but it can be pot grown if kept moist. I thought it was a nice contrast of leaf shape to the couple I’ve bought so far. It is native to Asia. I’d quite like to find a painted fern, another Japanese native, to go with it to add contrast of leaves and colour. The bright green of these in Spring is a wonderful sight.

6. Rain

My dad, kindly, mowed the lawn earlier in the week. Luckily, as I am not going to be able to do it now as I’ve had continual rain for the last few hours. All the supermarkets are selling Autumn lawn repair boxes. But I think mine has done pretty well through the Summer drought with no watering. Seeded well, cut to a higher level and no SPring watering has done it good. If you water your lawn in Spring and when it’s establishing it encourages shallow rooting. Supposedly, If it’s left to its own devices it roots deeper helping during dry periods. Either way, it’s looking lush. Not a mass amount of colour in the garden at the moment, but the hydrangeas are still giving a good display as they gradually fade. Some of the roses are set to give second bursts. The verbena has been keeping the pollinators happy. The rain is helping it all look fresh.

I’d talked about the patio last week but didn’t really show it properly. It is just a concrete slope. It is getting paved, which should make it look much better. The slope does, however, help all the plants planted in the border at the end of the patio. The hydrangeas benefit from lots of water in Summer, so getting all the water runoff from the patio helps them a lot.

Hope you all enjoy your weekends. Check the propagators blog to see more six on Saturday posts.

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Six on Saturday-28.7.18

This weekend I am off to hear the banns being read in church for my upcoming nuptials. So off to enjoy the in-laws to be garden. They have a lovely cliff side garden. Last time I visited the pond had just been re-dug and had attracted newts, so be interested to see progress.

My own garden had become quite crowded. The ox eye daisies had gone past their best, as had a number of geraniums. So they have been chopped back. Some are already giving new flowers, but lower to the ground. They were growing very thick, so now it has revealed areas that have been concealed for a month or so. Quite a lot of bare ground that is tempting to fill.

1. Heuchera

I bought these two last year and had growing in pots for some colour over Winter, but it was too sunny a spot. I added them under the acer. They have recovered well. This area is all about the foliage ferns and heuchera give all year colour.

2. Cyclamen

This was grown inside. After the flowers were best their best inside I planted it out. It’s given a second burst of flowers. I don’t know what variety it is, so don’t know if it will survive the Winter. A pleasant dash of colour for now though.

3. Hebe

This Hebe suffered badly this Winter and I considered removing it. It has just about recovered, but it’s growth is a bit patchy. Hopefully it will sort itself out. The flowers are bee magnets.

Luckily I took cuttings, which are now putting on growth. They’ve been easy to get going and keep going. I’d like to establish a few more to take a few for the school garden.

4. Fern-polypodium vulgare ‘Bifido multifidum’

I’ve bought another fern for the fern patch. Common polypody is a hardy evergreen variety. It likes free draining soil and prefers loam or chalky soil. As I have neither I’ll need to mix in some sand and grit into it’s planting hole to give it good drainage. Currently I have tongue and feathery shaped leaved ferns. So this will add a bit of variety with its more rounded leaves. It’ll need watering through the Summer to get settled in. The leaves from the trees above will give it a good mulch when they shed.

The ground is hard as rock right now. So I will hold off on planting and soften up the ground for a week or two watering it well. This is the patch it will be added into.

5. Love in a mist

These were sown directly into the soil and are growing up through the Charles DeMills rose that has finished flowering. The feathery foliage is a photographers dream for soft focus shots. Stunning!

6. Rain

Finally we got rain. All the singing and rain dances have worked. A day and night of on and off storms yesterday has refreshed the garden. The lawn looks lusher already. Our wash water has been keeping the hydrangea going. The tomatoes have been a daily task. But for one day I can have a rest. So we’ve gone from worrying about drought, to now worrying about flooding.

Hope you all enjoy your weekends and all your gardens have benefited from the promised rain of the weather forecast.

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