Oh Painted Fern, Where Art Thou?

Sometimes my lackadaisical attitude to gardening and haste to ‘get things done’ backfires.  Last fall I engaged in a flurry of transplantation, shifting plants from one part of the garden to another for various reasons.

Some, like a couple of good-sized blueberry bushes that live in my ornamental garden, just needed more space.  The expansion of the garden that we undertook last year provided that, so the blueberries were uprooted  (gently) and moved out where they’ll get a little more sun and to allow me easier access for picking fruit.Blueberries

Several smallish hydrangea and a dwarf rhododendron were also repositioned to balance the planting in my shade garden.  Then I started transplanting perennials.  During the summer I’d been taking notes (in my head, of course) of which plants had outgrown their location, or weren’t thriving because of a lack or surfeit of water or sun.

I love the delicate Erodium planted behind my Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) and it thrives on neglect and drought, blooming non-stop all summer, so I unearthed a few chunks and planted them on the other side of the tree, between two own-root roses, where nothing seems to want to grow.  Next summer that garden will be a medley of pink blossoms!


Erodium spilling over the pathway

I transplanted my Corydalis flexuosa from an altogether hidden spot to a place of pride under my Shin de Shojo Japanese Maple.  Those gorgeous blue flowers and delicate foliage deserve to be seen!  I know that it will look ragged after blooming and then go dormant by midsummer so I planted something else in front of it that will emerge a little later and not obscure the sapphire blue blossoms when they’re peaking.  If only I could remember WHAT I planted in front…

Corydalis flexuosa

Corydalis flexuosa

A rambunctious Hosta ‘Striptease’ has been relegated to a shady, damp corner where it’s not likely to smother any less vigorous plants and one of my favourites, a Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum pictum) was rescued from oblivion behind a lush peony ‘Karl Rosenfeld’.  If only I could remember WHERE I planted that fern!  I’m fairly sure that it’s somewhere nearer the house, where I will see it more often, but I’m not exactly clear on where I put it.

Hosta 'Striptease'

Hosta ‘Striptease’ trying to smother Hydrangea ‘Little Lamb’

The problem is, all these perennials were moved as dormant clumps, with little to no top growth (handy for locating them) and then to top it off, quite literally, I put a fresh layer of compost over the entire ornamental garden, burying any subtle hints of vegetation.

Now I’ll have to wait until my painted fern breaks dormancy to see where I put it.  There are two or three places where I may have planted it, including in front of the corydalis,  but I don’t want to root around, potentially damaging soft new shoots on newly transplanted plants. So I’ll just wait…

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About hortophile

I am a very opinionated, slightly obsessed gardener with decades of experience in the retail nursery industry. A lucky resident of the "Wet Coast" of British Columbia I tread a muddy path between practicality and beauty, with my veggie patch, herb garden and fruits vying for position with the beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers that I can't resist. DON'T ask me to choose between them! I believe in environmental responsibility and common sense.
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2 Responses to Oh Painted Fern, Where Art Thou?

  1. jilliho says:

    Or…you could try taking notes! Keep a garden log, I highly recommend it. Especially as you get older, and the memory starts to fade a little. Love your bossy big sister.

    • hortophile says:

      Blah, blah, blah…. thanks sis! I know I should keep better track, I certainly do for my veggie garden because I’m pretty careful to rotate crops, and I did start out with a plan but…

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