Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Calla Lilies and Ferns Take Over

My north coast garden was filled with established calla lilies and ferns long before we moved into our Victorian home. The garden looks lush with the calla lilies and ferns, especially in spring and summer. As wonderful as that is, the calla lilies tend to fall over quite a bit by summer after blooming. I know, a metal hoop on a stake would hold them up, but there are so many of them in the back yard in different areas I'd need a lot of stakes and have not seen any of these kind of holders locally at the garden centers. I love seeing the white lily flowers near Easter and they are stunning cut flowers for a vase at that time of year. Still they can be a pain to deal with. I suppose the thing to do is cut back the stems of the fallen lilies, something we've done in the past. The ferns in the back yard are beautiful, full and growing quite a bit bigger each year, expanding out of their areas each season. I have to say I don't mind the excess of ferns nearly as much as the excess of calla lilies since the ferns behave themselves by standing up well other than during heavy rains.

Originally I tried propping up the spent calla lilies with the hoards of driftwood the previous homeowner collected, similar to his collection of huge river rocks, both of these items are everywhere in the back yard. So far the carefully placed driftwood has not worked as well as I'd hoped in holding up the falling stems of the calla lilies. Perhaps another round of placement, a change here and there might help to keep things held back. My husband would just as soon we dug them all out and got rid of the lilies since he does not like calla lilies, but he is convinced you can never get rid of them. We had a batch of calla lilies sitting against our back yard fence in Petaluma and he tried a number of times to expedite them, but never succeeded. I like the calla lilies but what I don't like is how easily they seed when the stems fall. Currently I have a plant that has seeded and wedged itself between the back yard bench and the fence under the holly trees; the calla lily was cut back but I imagine we'll have to dig it out sometime soon to keep the bench from being pried apart by the plant.

The ferns are growing bigger each season, which works under the holly trees but then again, they have to compete with the aggressive calla lilies that can grow to five feet tall or more in a season. The ferns established in the corner near the back gate surround the camellia bush, covering most of it by summer and branches extend over the two azaleas I have planted in the corner near the dining room window. I hope the fern doesn't completely take over this space as this is the biggest, widest fern we have in the yard, rising a good four to five feet tall or more now. If it happens I will probably need to move my azaleas somewhere else. As I watch year by year the calla lilies and ferns get bigger; it must be true when north coast locals say that once you plant something in Humboldt county it grows way past any size given on the plant information tag, plants that establish well here grow huge, no doubt about it. I shouldn't ever complain really, since a lush, full garden is something I've always wanted. The calla lilies and ferns certainly achieve this lush look, making my garden especially green and beautiful in spring and summer seasons.

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