Friday, 6 July 2012

Fern Mania

My order from arrived. I thought it would be nice to grow some more ferns, not only on the fern stand but I also have some room in the the garden and in my grandmother's garden. I went for plugs as this is a cheap and easy way to grow a large variety. I picked up a couple I really wanted and went with a surprise plug mix which made opening the little packages very exciting. I planted the little plugs over in smallish pots in normal potting soil as per instructions. When the roots come out of the bottom they are ready to be planted out and this could take between a couple of weeks to a couple of months.  Let's have a look at what I got and where (dependant on preferred growing conditions) they are going to end up.

Osmunda regalis, or the royal fern. This fern likes moist soil and probably more light than other ferns. It also gets quite big and will look great both in spring and autumn. Since it likes moist soil I will probably plant it in my border where I have amended the soil with extra sphagnum and leaf mold to get a moist and acid soil to grow the Meconopsis in. I hope it fits in the back there because the room is somewhat limited.

Polystichum setiferum 'Plumosum Densum', the soft shield fern stays quite small (fronds reach 45 centimetres) and feels at home in a hummus rich but well drained soil and can deal with both a bit of sun and shade. It does well in rockeries and is evergreen. I think this is a prime candidate to be potted in a nice terracotta pot and to be placed on the fern stand. The fact that it is evergreen adds interest there when the tree ferns are moved for protection.

Dryopteris marginalis, the marginal wood fern is a very hardy species (it grows in Greenland) and can tolerate both acid and base soils. It can grow in shade and semi shade and prefers some hummus in the soil. I think this is a prime candidate for the little fernery I am planting in my grandmothers garden. She has a spot on a slope that is quite bare at the moment (the only things growing there now are a couple of NOID ferns). It is a slope so it is quite dry and it gets some dappled sunlight. If I add some extra compost or leaf mold I should be able to grow quite a lot of different ferns that can handle some dry soil.

Dryopteris dilatata 'Jimmy Dyce', the upright broad buckler fern stays quite low and and is not too fussy about the soil. The fonds are supposed to  gain a blueish green tinge when they are adult. I think I want this one in my woodland garden since it stays quite small and should fit in with some of the other half shade plants.

Dryopteris dilatata 'Lepidota Crispa Cristata' , this Dryopteris has really nice almost parsley like foliage. It loses the foliage if the winter is on the cold side and like the previous fern likes a bit of moisture in the soil. I am a bit conflicted as to where I am going to plant this out. I think it would do best in the woodlandy moist area but quite frankly there is not that much room. The foliage is really nice and even though it might loose it's fronds in winter I think this would look really good in a container on the fern stand. I think I am just going to let it root for a while and decide later.

Dryopteris erythrosora, the autumn fern. This is my first (and only) double since I bought a mature specimen in spring. It is incredibly lovely when the new fronds roll out in a fiery glory. Even though it likes a more woodsy moist soil I think since I have this one double I can experiment a bit and plant it on the fern slope. I will make sure to add plenty of leaf mold and compost to add to the moisture in the soil and will provide some extra water in it's first year. 

Blechnum gibbum ' Silver Lady', this is one of the ferns that I picked myself and it is a bit of a odd one out because this is not a hardy fern at all. It is in fact a small tree fern that is commonly grown as a house plant. I will however keep it outside when the temperature permits. It will probably take a while before it has any sort of trunk. I have two other tree ferns (Dicksonia antarctica and Cyathea australis). The dicksonia is quite nice and hardy and I protect it in winter but I keep it outside in a sheltered spot (unless it is really really cold then I keep it in the shed). The Cyathea is a different story and seems quite sensitive even to above freezing low temperatures. Once it is getting nippy I will get this one inside and I think I will follow the same patterns with the Blechnum.

Dryopteris remota, scaly buckler fern. I am not sure what is going to set this apart from the other Dryopteris ferns but I will plant it out on the slope with some extra hummus and see what it will do.

Dryopteris intermedia or fancy fern needs the same things that the other Dryopteris need. This has really nice fine fronds and I am tempted to plant it out in another part of the garden that it quite shady and can be kept moist. But it will have to prove to be chicken proof so I might keep it in a container until it is of a decent size.

Thelypteris palustris, or marsh fern. Ha ha not a dryopteris! This fern likes it feet wet. Since this has a bit of a sprawling messy habit I think it would be a good plant to but in the back of my quite moist border. There it can fill out the bare bits without overgrowing any statement plants whilst providing a nice backdrop to others.

  Dryopteris tokyoensis, the Tokyo wood fern. This forms a nice almost shuttlecock like tight upright shape which would make it a nice focal point in the garden. Since it is expressly mentioned to be deer proof I think it might also be chicken proof. I think it would look nice in the back of the garden in front of some extremely boring hortensias.

Athyrium 'Ghost', this is another one I specifically picked out because it is so amazing. It is a cross with a Japanese painted fern and has a more upright habit and a very very ghostly colour. Like this the plant looks a bit dead but I trust it will perk up. Since this is so very very pretty I am going to keep it on the fern stand to be admired.

Dryopteris seiboldii, this does not look like any of the other Drypoteris' with its leathery fronds. I have a feeling that this will not get too big and since it is interesting and evergreen should look nice in a container on the fern stand.

Polypodium vulgare 'Bifido-Multifidum', quite a mouthful this one, this tolerates dry shade very well though it can even handle full sun. This makes it a perfect candidate for the fern slope (not that sunny though). 

 Selaginella uncinata, it doesn't look like much yet but in the right conditions it has a amazing bluish sheen. I have actually tried this one before (I picked this one out) for in the terrarium where it quickly died. It should be hardy so now I am trying it outside. I am going to keep it in a container and if it is happy I can take cuttings and see if I can plant it out here and there.

 Athyrium 'Lady in Red'. I picked this one out as well because it has really nice red stems. I am probably going to keep this on the stand until it gets too big.

This is how the fern stand looks now, maybe a bit crowded but in a couple of weeks I should be able to plant a couple out. All in all I am very happy with my order even though it was a bit heavy on the Dryopteris and I might have preferred a couple of different species but the fact that most of these should be quite easy is encouraging. 

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