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North Borders

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Sandy Ground, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Sandy Ground

    Sandy Ground Total Gardener

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    Sitting in the garden, contemplating the world is a big part of what gardening is all about. Its peace...

    @ARMANDII any suggestions as to ferns? They are not something I know anything about.

    @daitheplant the suggestion of Pachysandra is something that I am looking into. Being ground cover, it "kind of" sparked an idea. If it can be controlled that is. From what I've read so far it can be invasive.
     
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    • JWK

      JWK Gardener

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      In my shady borders my favourites are:

      Hellobores - will be coming into flower very soon and keep going for weeks.
      Arum italicum 'Marmoratum' - will take heavy shade.
      Bergenia - there are loads of varieties - 'Morgenrote' will give a second flush of flower in July/August
      Daphnes - gorgeous scent during winter/spring
      Fatsia japonica - evergreen architectural - can be pruned back if it gets too big.


      Ferns:
      Asplenium scolopendrium – Hart’s Tongue Fern
      Cyrtomium falcatum Japanese Holly Fern
      Dryopteris filix-mas fern
      Osmunda Cinnamomea (cinnamon Fern)
       
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      • Sandy Ground

        Sandy Ground Total Gardener

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        I had a look at the pachysandra. As soon as I saw what it was called in Swedish, I realised that we had tried to use it in the same spot years ago, and it never established. Neither did lavender for that matter.

        Its a pity really because I would have loved to have used both.

        When pachysandra was taken up, it was tried in another spot also, and never did well there either. I find that surprising, as it is supposed to be quite a tolerant plant.
         
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        • JWK

          JWK Gardener

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          I tried it once and it gradually faded away in my garden, I think my soil is too dry for it.
           
        • ARMANDII

          ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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          Sorry, for the delay, Sandy, but I've had a busy few days and not been able to more than pop in and out of GC.
          Ferns.............I'm always wary of recommending any plants unless I know a person's preference and even then when I recommend a "sure fire" plant I get it wrong as the person isn't as keen on it as I am!!:doh::dunno::heehee: But, I have bought the Ferns that I liked such as Dryoperteris Filix-mas, D. dilata, Matteuccia struthiopteris, Osmunda regalis............all of which I have and are deciduous. Some good evergreen ferns are Polystichum setiferum, Adiantum venustum, and Asplenium scolopendrium. But, for me, the best way is to actually see a Fern for real and decide if I like it. They are so tough and hardy and will basically be, after some thought, a plant that is one of those "let it get on with Life" plants. I use them on the back of borders, in the bog garden, under trees, and along the banks of the wildlife pond. I never really thought "that one's for shade, that one's for dry areas, that one is for wet areas, I merely thought "that one will look nice there! and planted them.............and I've still got all of them. So they've got graceful foliage, reliability, make a nice backdrop, and I love watching them early in the seaons when they're just unfurling their leaves.:hapydancsmil::snorky:
           
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          • ARMANDII

            ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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            "Most ferns are easy to grow and will thrive in any moist, well-drained, shady site in well-dug, humus-rich, neutral to alkaline soil. However, those such as the royal fern Osmunda regalis, require neutral to acid soil.

            Feeding and watering
            Ferns do not usually require feeding when planted in the open garden, but mulches such as well-rotted farmyard manure will condition the soil and give a boost to growth. Where soil conditions are particularly poor a well-balanced fertiliser, such as Growmore or fish, blood and bone can be added in spring.

            Water when necessary, but apply to the roots and not directly to the fronds or crown as this can encourage rot.

            Containers
            Ferns make good companions for other hardy perennials in containers. Use a mix of 3 parts peat-free multipurpose compost, 1 part John Innes No 3, and 1 part gritty sand by volume. When first potting the ferns, incorporate a controlled–release fertiliser. The following year use a general fertiliser such Miracle-Gro during the growing season.



            Pruning and training
            Little pruning is needed but do remove any dead or unsightly fronds before the new crosiers (unrolling leaf tips) appear. Clear away any debris to encourage good air circulation.

            Propagation


            Division
            The easiest way to propagate hardy ferns is by division. It depends on the growth habit of the fern as to how it will divide:

            Creeping rhizomes

            • In spring, cut the rhizome into segments about 5-8cm long, ensuring that each segment has at least one growth bud and a small root ball
            • Pot up individually into peat-substitute based compost at the same level at which it was growing. Planting too deep will result in the sections rotting
            • Place the pots in light shade and keep the compost moist
            Crown splitting
            It can take up to ten years for a genuine ‘split’ or ‘multiple crown’ to develop. Many nursery-raised containerised plants consist of multiple plants that were initially pricked out and potted up in clumps. Tease apart mature crowns with two back-to-back forks and pot up immediately or plant out.

            Bulbils
            A few ferns, for example some cultivars of the soft shield fern, Polystichum setiferum, develop small bulbils along the midrib of the frond. If such a frond is pegged down onto the soil, the bulbils will eventually root into it and can then be detached and grown on. After six months the plants are ready to be lifted.

            A less common hardy fern, Cystopteris bulbifera, bears numerous pea-like bulbils on the undersides of the fronds, which soon drop off, rooting quickly when they reach the ground.

            Leaf bases
            This process is very effective for propagating sterile cultivars, notably those of Asplenium scolopendrium.

            • Dig up mature plants and remove the soil prior to gently peeling off the short, dead-looking leaf bases from the older rhizomes
            • Wash and then remove any frond or root remnants
            • Plant 1cm apart in sterilised compost ensuring that the attachment point (the green end) is pointing upwards
            • Place in a new polythene bag, inflate and seal
            • Keep in cool conditions with good indirect sunlight and in 3 to 4 months, young fronds should be visible emerging from the newly developed bulbils
            • Prick out into sterilised pots of compost (see below) and harden off as for spore propagation
            Cultivar Selection


            *Denotes native to the British Isles

            Deciduous ferns for damp situation
            Adiantum capillus-veneris*
            Adiantum aleuticum AGM
            Athyrium filix-femina* AGM
            Cystopteris bulbifera
            Cystopteris fragilis*
            Dryopteris affinis*
            Dryopteris dilatata* AGM
            Dryopteris filix-mas* AGM
            Matteuccia struthiopteris AGM
            Onoclea sensibilis AGM
            Osmunda regalis* AGM

            Evergreen ferns for damp situations
            Adiantum venustum AGM
            Asplenium scolopendrium* AGM and cultivars
            Asplenium trichomanes AGM*
            Polypodium vulgare*
            Polystichum setiferum AGM and cultivars*

            Dry shade
            Hardy species of the following genera are tolerant of dry shade, but will need regular watering in their first season and would appreciate a mulch of leaf mould, bark or garden compost:
            Asplenium
            Dryopteris
            Polypodium


            Very wet sites
            Athyrium filix-femina* AGM (and its cultivars)
            Matteuccia struthiopteris AGM
            Onoclea sensibilis AGM
            Osmunda regalis* AGM"

             
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            • "M"

              "M" Total Gardener

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              This is true. However, the one I have is still a beautiful green (just ... snow covered :heehee: ). It is in a sheltered position, so maybe that makes a bit of a difference? :dunno: It has never truly died back either in this garden or my previous one; although it does tend to sort of "shrink" a little bit in the winter months.
               
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              • ARMANDII

                ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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                I agree, "M", some of my "deciduous" Ferns haven't died down completely over the last two or three years, but I've put that down to the milder Winters and seeming blending of Seasons that Climate Change seems to be responsible for.:dunno::snorky:
                 
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                • "M"

                  "M" Total Gardener

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                  Well, I might need to eat my words if the snow decimates my specimen :heehee:
                   
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                  • Anthony Rogers

                    Anthony Rogers Guest

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                    How about Fuchsias. If you stick to the F. Magallenica species and its varieties you can't go wrong.

                    For the Spring how about Bergenia and Dicentra Spectabilis ( Bleeding Heart ).
                    A good groundcover which has sweetly scented flowers is Galium ( Woodruff ).
                     
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