Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Shady Porch Corner Needs a Fern

I decided the perfect plant for my shady porch corner would be a sword fern. I've tried a number of plants in this corner and only a heather and Johnson's Blue geranium did well there. Part of the problem is the large pink jasmine vine growing on the porch railing, it is such a rampant grower that it shades the already shady corner area quite a bit more. I like the pink jasmine in this spot so shade plant it is. Originally the previous home owner had a low wooden planter with another pink jasmine growing out of it. The jasmine vine didn't do too well in the low wooden planter and ended up growing out of the bottom of the rotted planter box and getting established under the porch area, then the original jasmine plant started to die off. Not the best choice on the home owner's part but what are you going to do? So the wooden planter came out and created a bleak area where little else would grow.

There is still a good sized spot in this section that needs to be filled. The other fern in our yard (see photo of fern above) tends to get huge when it likes where it is planted. The area next to the front porch has limited space so I decided to use a sword fern with its upright leaves to help fill up the corner. I remembered I was able to dig up pieces produced from the huge sword fern in my Petaluma garden since it always had new fronds coming up outside of the original plant. I took a chance and looked at the bigger of the two sword ferns I brought with me from Petaluma that were established under the holly trees. I was lucky enough to find a new frond in the back of one of the plants. I dug it up, roots and all, and planted it in the corner spot next to the porch. The photo on the left shows the single sword fern stem from the newly planted fern with the Johnson's Blue geranium leaves in front of the new fern. It will take a season or two for the fern to get bigger but for now it is a good foot tall piece that should do well in the corner. I'm looking forward to seeing the porch covered in tall fern leaves in a few year's time.

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