Plant­ing for suc­cess

Alberta Gardener Magazine - - Garden Market -

im­pact. It can really cover ground, but don’t worry – if it gets out of hand, just eat it! Both are na­tive to most parts of Canada.

Crown-form­ing: Male ferns and Wood ferns (Dry­opteris spp.) are good ex­am­ples. Many are ever­green, drought tol­er­ant once es­tab­lished, and a few even take some sun given am­ple mois­ture. An ad­di­tional bonus, the fid­dle­heads are adorned with shaggy or pa­pery scales in bronze or gold hues. Crested golden male fern (D. affi­nis ‘The King’) is a deep-green, ro­bust fern with tas­sel-look­ing fronds. Smaller in stature, fancy wood fern (D. in­terme­dia) is one of our lac­i­est-look­ing na­tive.

Patch-form­ing: Lady ferns (Athyrium spp.) po­litely fill space grad­u­ally and can be di­vided ev­ery three to five years. Favourites in­clude our na­tive red-stemmed 'Lady in Red' (A. an­gus­tum) and Ja­panese painted fern (A. nipon­icum var. pic­tum) with fronds of metal­lic bur­gundy, sil­ver and green that really light up shady spots. For best ef­fect give these ladies a loose, mois­ture-re­ten­tive soil in bright to dap­pled shade.

When plant­ing con­tainer­ized plants, fol­low the rule-ofthumb “plant at the same depth as it is in the pot.” With bare-root plants or di­vi­sions con­sider the fol­low­ing: Col­o­niz­ing and patch-form­ing ferns grow from un­der­ground rhi­zomes and should be planted just slightly be­low the soil sur­face. Crown-form­ing ferns should be planted with the crown above the soil sur­face. Bury­ing it will cause rot and even­tu­ally kill the plant.

Ferns are easy to grow, very low-main­te­nance gar­den plants. Most ap­pre­ci­ate moist, hu­mus-rich, well-drain­ing, slightly acidic soil. How­ever, as in na­ture, this ideal isn’t al­ways avail­able in the gar­den. If you have stony or sea­son­ally dry soil, don’t de­spair. A site pre­pared with com­post or leaf-mould and sea­sonal mois­ture-re­tain­ing top dress­ing of mulch are all that’s re­quired. So, no mat­ter what type of shade you have, there’s a fern for that place!

Iain Jack is owner of Fern­wood Plant Nurs­ery, an on­line mail-or­der nurs­ery spe­cial­iz­ing in hardy gar­den ferns lo­cated in St. Mar­garet’s Bay, NS. www.fer­n­wood­plant­nurs­

Spring os­trich fern.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.