Small bed no longer ignored

Saturday morning I went to visit my gardener friend Mike. He had some clay pots that he wanted to give to a "good home", and had a few plants that he wanted help digging and dividing. So after loading about two dozen pots of various sizes into the truck cab I started digging ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) which he wanted to reduce and relocate. With Mike's generosity I ended up with ten or eleven good-sized ferns -- more than I expected -- so I had to look for another place to plant some.

I had been thinking about planting ostrich ferns here next to the patio, and had even purchased a small specimen earlier this year (in the black pot). I'm glad I never planted that one, as it's still so young compared to what I dug. This bed is just weeds right now, so seems perfect for a makeover.


Removing the pot to make sure I have a clear idea of what this might look like...

...I cleared the weeds, pulling by hand rather than using the scuffle hoe in case there were tree seedlings that I wanted to save (there were not):

I then placed a few of the dug plants here on top of the soil to help me visualize:

I'm not sure that this is perfect, but it's certainly going to look nicer than the violets and other weeds, and it is shady enough for ferns under the japanese maple... I forged ahead and finally got the nerve up to remove that too-low tree branch seen two photos above. It was taking up a lot of useful patio space and now that there is something to look at in this bed it had to go.

I salvaged two japanese painted ferns from the front garden where they have been struggling under the sugar maple for a few years. Here they will have more moisture and get more attention, and will help to fill the edge of the bed at least until the ostrich ferns fill in more.

I really like the result! I might try to add some creeping jenny to help cover more soil here, or maybe I should just mulch it.

I wasn't planning on doing anything with this bed right now, but I'm glad I did!

(The remaining ferns I put into the back part of the garden near the pond to spread freely and naturalize)


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outlawgardener  – (May 27, 2015 at 9:05 AM)  

The ferns look great in this bed and you'll enjoy them from the patio all summer long!

Mark and Gaz  – (May 27, 2015 at 10:40 AM)  

The ferns look great on the bed, fab results! Been transplanting shuttlecock ferns here recently too :)

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (May 27, 2015 at 12:17 PM)  

This looks fantastic! I wish I could grow ferns in our arid climate.

Anonymous –   – (May 27, 2015 at 3:42 PM)  

love ostrich ferns - they're native too. looks inviting!

Alan  – (May 27, 2015 at 5:14 PM)  

The consensus is that nobody doesn't love ferns. :)

Gerhard: what if you could grow ferns but had to give up most Agaves -- would you take the deal? (doubt it)

Anon: Interesting that they're native to both the eastern US *and* to Europe.

Lisa  – (May 27, 2015 at 9:07 PM)  

I do love ferns! We have so little shade in our yard that I finally planted some in a bed that gets about 4 hours of direct sunlight. By August they look completely whipped, but I enjoy them until then!

Alex McKee  – (June 28, 2015 at 6:58 AM)  

Alan's right, they're native in Europe too. I have ostrich ferns in my garden in England.

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