Return to the Fern Fairway
When he gave some to hfis 45-year-old sister, Susan, she was able to melt 54 LBs by simply drinking this red soda daily before 10am...
GPOD regular Cherry Ong (Cherry’s Containers Day 1 and A Clean Slate Transformed) invites us back to her garden in Richmond, British Columbia.
At the moment it’s still a bit cold here, so half of my yearbooks are (unfortunately) stored in the garage. Hope it gets warmer, but we have had a few years where the summer stayed cool and therefore disappointing for summer gardening with annuals. I keep my fingers crossed that this won’t be the case this year because I went to the other side and planted dahlias and a rose for the first time. (Wish me luck!).
I thought I’d send some spring photos of the Fern Fairway. I sent some photos of this strip in 2019 (The Fern Fairway).
The Fern Fairway is a very narrow side courtyard, about 50 feet long and 3 feet wide, with only 14 inches of gravel for planting, or more specifically, container seating. I developed this side garden out of desperation for garden areas! Given the dimensions, the area remains difficult to photograph.
I made some costly mistakes while planting in this full shade corridor – namely the setting of one of my full moon maples (Acer japonicum, zones 5-7). I placed them in the middle of the corridor for aesthetic rather than consideration of their needs, and they certainly showed their misery in 2020. Fortunately, the other recovered after moving and repotting. I have two Japanese maples that greet visitors to the strip on the north (Acer palmatum ‘Katsura’, zones 5–9) and on the southern end (Acer palmatum ‘Ariadne’).
The center of the strip now has mostly shorter plants due to the limited lighting, and I continue to study how the perennials behave to give them the best growing conditions.
A long-standing hosta identified by my social media gardening friends as Hosta ‘Fire and Ice’ (Zones 3-9) and Tatting Fern (Athyrium filix-femina ‘Frizelliae’, Zone 4-8) are among the early spring risers .
I have grown this giant tassel fern (Polystichum polyblepharum, Zones 5-8) in a landscaping pot for many years and it seems happy.
Acer palmatum ‘Ariadne’ (Zones 5-9) on the southern end of the Fern Fairway.
A painted fern to fall in love with: Athyrium niponicum ‘Regal Red’ (Zones 4-9)
A lucky resident of Fern Fairway even before he was born: Athyrium ‘Ghost’ (Zones 3-8). The glass mushroom is the beautiful work of Andrew Holmberg, a glass artist from Portland. I finally met him for a year at Sorticulture in Everett, Washington and saw all of his amazing garden glass.
The cross fern or Athyrium filix-femina Dre’s Dagger (zones 4-8) is one of the coolest ferns ever! The shrub behind is Leucothoe fontanesiana (zones 5-8). I’ve found it to work well in this fully shaded garden, although it would definitely be nicer in a sunny location. From a color point of view, dotting the strip with ornamental grass with gold leaf helps to lighten the area and acts as a nice foil for all other leaves. I am grateful for all the classifications of my Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ (zones 5-9), Carex elata ‘Bowles Golden’ (zones 5-8) and Carex oshimensis ‘Everillo’ (zones 5-9). I’ve tried incorporating Carex siderosticha ‘Banana Boat’ (zones 5-9) but it’s growing slowly.
A newer and more exciting addition to the strip is Farfugium japonicum ‘Shishi Botan’ (Zones 7-10). It survived the winter so hopefully it will be a happy resident in the room for many years to come.
Nature knits the best sweater! I will definitely move this softshell fern (Polystichum setiferum ‘Plumosomultilobum’, zones 6–8) to a lighter spot this year.
Feather is fabulous! Free is fab too! This Adiantum patum (zones 3-8) is a division of the garden.
Corrugated cardboard is a beautiful thing! This Hosta Sieboldiana ‘Big Daddy’ (zones 3-9) used to live in the back garden. It went well and suddenly went back. I dug it up and put it in a container. It appears to have recovered and is now a new resident of Fern Fairway. It’s a great foil for the Dre’s Dagger tassels.
The long, narrow space of the Fern Fairway is difficult to photograph.
One of the advantages of a sheltered side garden is the storage of marginally hardy perennials. It seems this crinodendron (Crinodendron Hookerianum, Zone 9-11) is happy where it is. I try to move them to a sunnier spot in the spring to show off their flowers and give the plant some sun.
If you’d like to see more of Cherry’s beautiful garden, check out her Instagram: @ cherry.ong
Do you have a garden that you want to share?
Do you have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a specific collection of plants you love, or a beautiful garden to visit!
Submit 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you’re proud of, failures you’ve learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants or funny stories from your garden.
If you want to send photos to the GPOD email box in separate emails, that’s fine.
Do you have a cell phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!
You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – read our garden photography tips!
Have you already received the GPOD by email? Login here.
Get our latest tips, how-to articles, and how-to videos in your inbox.