British Columbia: Ferns for landscape SW BC

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by janetdoyle, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    I have not addressed "ferns" in previous posts but now am getting around to it -- we have various messy ferns on our townhouse condo property in some areas and I have simply trimmed off the brown fronds in winter around my townhouse but now that I am a council landscape coordinator I have responsibilities! ARE there any evergreen ferns commonly-used and readily available in this area which don't go brown in winter? Or do they all have some browning as the fronds age? I just walked through a nice public Trail pathway through another private condo land area where there were sword ferns, I think, all green, neat and curving fronds and no brown parts, but I imagine someone was landscaping and trimmed them off? They had individual long fronds curving up from the base, with narrow strait serrated leaflets about an inch and a half to two inches long coming off these main fronds. I saw some browned ferns in another area, very tall, which had separate small frondlets branching off alternately from the main frond stems, and these frondlets have small narrow leaflets off them, rather than off the single long frond stem as in the sword fern... but all brown; am I making myself clear? What type of fern are these latter? Maybe just neglected... I'd like to avoid ones that mostly lose their green colour in winter... any recommendations for larger ferns to plant as a ground cover under a high canopy of some pines, firs, cedars, on a bare and shaded berm where not much grows other than some good choices I had our landscaper plant there with for example some donated sarcococca which seems to like that terrain...
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Sword ferns have more damage in less favorable sites.
     
  3. sasquatch

    sasquatch Active Member

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    It sounds like you are describing Bracken fern. they die back in the winter, and come up again in the spring.
     
  4. Nath

    Nath Active Member

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    Its not a fern but have you tried Phormium, its a great landscaping plant and will offset your ferns nicely and is very cold hardy it hardly browns at all unless deseased which is rare. it will also give a nice splash of colour on grey days.

    Nath
     
  5. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks -- I will try some of the Phormium and see how it does. The fern that browns and which I have disliked is perhaps the bracken fern [is this the one with multiple leaflet fronds from one main stem, and several main stems rising up?] but I believe the one which was in my garden was made up of single long fronds rising up from a base. But it tended to go brown and messy in winter...
     
  6. Nath

    Nath Active Member

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    I love ferns especially the wild Bracken variety that they have here in the UK, mine dies off every winter and seems to come out of nowhere every spring looking almost like a Cycad shoot when they start off, I've wondered sometimes if they are a distant cousin in the chain off development over the centuries, perhaps Ron B can answer that one anyhow lately here in the UK they have started selling Tree Ferns, they cost a fortune but look so exotic, they have a caudax like a cycad too, I havent got the dosh to spend on one yet around 150 dollars or more per plant but they would look great in any garden!

    Maybe you could use some low level Sempervirums to give good ground cover very ornate and cold and damp hardy too, just an idea. Also wandering Jew is great from Spring to autumn and gives you a different perspective, it dies back in the colder winters but springs to life in April here in Nottingham in the UK.

    Nath
     
  7. cindys

    cindys Active Member

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    Here is a list of hardy ferns from Heritage Perennials:
    http://www.perennials.com/seehowto.html?item=5
    Some of these are evergreen in Vancouver and Victoria.

    If you get to Vancouver, go to VanDusen Botanical Garden and see the Fern Dell - a really nice collection of ferns of all sorts. You can see what the evergreen ones look like.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2010
  8. galiano

    galiano Active Member

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    I have a lot of sword ferns and they remain mostly green with only a little brown on each leaf. Right about now I cut all the leaves off right back to the ground, and then give each of them a little bit of 6-8-6 ( because I have a huge bag of it)
    They respond beautifully each Spring and look great until the next winter.
     
  9. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    good, thanks -- I have to start watching ferns more carefully and try to figure out what is what.
     

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