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A Fabulous Fern for Shady Corners

Seasonal Garden Ideas

Fabulous Fern

Here’s a show that’s strictly for the summer months – a magnificent bird’s-nest fern lighting up a shady corner with its huge, wavy-edged, apple-green fronds.

Warm, moist conditions in shade are a must – plus indoor shelter for the rest of the year.

Grow the fern as an indoor plant until summer temperatures outdoors are warm enough – 16°C (60°F) at the very least. Bring indoors again at the end of summer to a heated greenhouse, conservatory or living room.

Planting the fern should take about a hour or so – it’s quite big so will take some handling.

 


 

What you need

Plants
A specimen-sized bird’s-nest fern (Asplenium nidus).

Equipment

  • Large terracotta, ceramic or plastic container with drainage holes.
  • Humus-rich compost with added grit or sharp sand for drainage.
  • Broken crocks for drainage.
  • Trowel.

 

1 Line the container with broken crocks for drainage. Half-fill with the compost. Check the level of the compost by placing the fern, in its original pot, inside the container – it should be planted at the same level as it was before. Adjust the level of compost as necessary.

2 Plant the fern into the compost, firming in well. Top up the compost to within 5cm (2in) of the rim of the pot. Water thoroughly.

3 Bring the fern outside when the weather is warm and position in a shady, sheltered spot. Keep it moist at all times and feed weekly with a liquid fertiliser during the growing season.

Tip

If the care, attention and exacting conditions required by bird’s-nest fern seem a little daunting, then try its smaller relative, the hart’s-tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium, also known as Phyllitis scolopendrium or Scolopendrium vulgare). This fern is frost hardy and reaches about 30cm (12in) tall, with a spread of 45cm (18in). It does well in damp, shady places and likes well-drained, alkaline soil. The variety ‘Marginatum’ has most attractive frilly edged fronds.

Note

If conditions are right, bird’s-nest fern can produce fronds over 90cm (3ft) long and 20cm (8in) wide with their trademark thick black midrib. Bear this size in mind for when you need to move the plant around and when it comes to repotting into a larger container.

Aftercare

Remove old or damaged fronds as they appear.  Keep warm, moist and humid at all times, though you can lessen watering during the winter.

 


 

Seasonal Garden IdeasA project from Seasonal Garden Ideas.

Now available for just £3.99!

    Buy Seasonal Garden Ideas

National Gardening Week

Succulents and Seashells project

Year-Round Interest in 5 Simple Steps 

National Gardening WeekAs it’s National Gardening Week I thought I would do something a little different in the garden.

Instead of the usual flowering basket I’m going to tackle this easy project from our Seasonal Garden Ideas book.

It only takes a few minutes but should give interest throughout the year.

Cute!

 

Succulents & Seashells

Succulents are often grown as indoor house plants, but many varieties are perfectly hardy and do well outdoors – if given full sun and really sharp drainage. Striped and whorled seashells make perfect partners for these shapely rosettes.

Plant in spring. Succulents like these usually flower in June and July but their thick, fleshy leaves provide year-long interest. Creating a display like this will take one to two hours.

 

What you need

Plants

Selection of houseleeks (Sempervivum) and echeverias – read the plant labels carefully to check that the ones you choose are fully hardy. Sempervivum arachnoideum, S. tectorum and Echeveria elegans – and their numerous varieties and colour forms – are some to look for.

Equipment

  • Large stone terracotta or ceramic container with drainage holes at the bottom.
  • Gritty compost, such as that sold for cacti.
  • Broken crocks for drainage.
  • Selection of seashells.
  • Fine gravel or grit for a topping.
  • Trowel.

Instructions

1 Line the container with broken crocks for drainage, then fill it nearly full with gritty compost.

2 Carefully tip the rosettes out of their pots – the leaves can break off easily, so handle very gently – and plant them in the compost, leaving room for the shells.

3 Top up the compost with the fine gravel or grit – allow for at least a 2.5cm (1in) layer. Then pile up the shells around and between the succulents.

4 Water moderately, then follow the plant label instructions for subsequent watering. Position the container in full sun and bring into a sheltered area during winter.

Tips

As an alternative to seashells, try pebbles or cobbles of various shapes, sizes and colours. These plants also do really well in rockeries or on the top of drystone walls.

Notes

It can take quite some time for a houseleek or echeveria to flower – and when it does, that rosette dies, but it is quickly replaced by new ones. The leaves of some varieties change colour in summer, turning from green or silvery grey to red or bronzed.

Aftercare

Deadhead flowers as they wither (they usually appear in summer). Remove any withered or damaged leaves.

 

 

Seasonal Garden IdeasSeasonal Garden Ideas is a beautiful
book featuring simple projects, with
easy-to-follow instructions, to add
beauty to any garden.

You can order a copy for just £3.99.

Buy Seasonal Garden Ideas

 

 

 

 

 

 

#seasonalgardenideas

#nationalgardeningweek

Easy Autumn Hanging Basket

I’ve been absolutely thrilled with my petunia-filled baskets this year

but they’re starting to fade now and it’s time to think about getting planters ready for an autumn display.

This little project from our book, Seasonal Garden Ideas, uses a gorgeous selection of heathers, evergreens and stones and should see the baskets looking brilliant until the beginning of winter.

 

Autumn Hanging Basket

Hot Spot Hanging Basket

Here’s an unusual late-season hanging basket, with plants perfectly suited to their position in a real hot spot – in full sun against a dry wall.

Plant in late summer; the arrangement should last until the beginning of winter. Planting up will take about an hour.

Plants

  • Two plants of bell heather (Erica Cinerea).
  • Thyme (Thymus serpyllum variety with variegated leaves).
  • Stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium ‘Purpureum’).
  • Variegated rock-cress (Arabis ferdinandi-coburgii ‘Variegata’).
  • Dwarf conifer – this is a really tiny spruce (Picea).

Equipment

  • Hanging basket frame, wires and hook.
  • Hanging basket liner (plastic, hessian, felt or moulded paper).
  • Gritty ericaceous (acid) compost.
  • A few stones and/or pebbles.
  • Fine gravel or grit as a topping.

Instructions

  1. Insert a thick layer of liner into the basket – prick small drainage holes through if necessary.
  2. Half-fill the lined basket with very gritty ericaceous compost – good drainage is essential here.
  3. Plant the dwarf conifer first, right at the back of the basket. Set the bell heather plants on either side of the conifer, then firm in all three.
  4. Adjust the level of compost in the basket as needed for the other plants, then plant the thyme on the left and the stonecrop on the right, with the variegated rock-cress in between. Firm in and top up the compost to within 2.5cm (1in) of the rim. Water lightly.
  5. Arrange the stones and/or pebbles between the plants to give the appearance of a  mini-rockery, pushing them into the compost for stability. Finally, spread a 2.5cm (1in) layer of fine gravel or grit on top.
  6. Hang the basket against the wall on a sturdy hook. The gritty compost and stones and pebbles will make the basket heavy, so ensure that it hangs securely.

Tip

Give the thyme a quick squeeze with your fingers as you pass by for a burst of herby, spicy fragrance.

Notes

The dwarf conifer won’t stay ‘dwarf’ for very long. Check its likely height and spread after five years before buying. These have a terrible habit of turning into giants alarmingly quickly. Remove it from the basket before it gets too big and heavy and plant in

the garden.

Aftercare

Water sparingly in dry weather. Clip the heather and thyme in spring to remove straggly growth and to keep the plants neat.

 

Seasonal Garden Ideas £3.99This project is taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas; a beautiful book featuring easy half-day projects, with easy-to-follow instructions, to add beauty to any garden.

Available now at the amazing price of just £3.99!

Five Easy Ways to Attract Hedgehogs to your Garden

There’s something very magical about sitting quietly and watching wildlife.

On a recent visit to my parents’ house I was lucky enough to observe a trio of hedgehogs enjoying a feast on their patio.

How cute are they?!!
They look as though they are
wearing little spikey skirts!

I am determined to encourage these cute little mammals to our own garden and after some advice from Mum and Dad, here’s the plan:

Continue reading

Plant a spring flower medley in one hour

How to plant a spring flower medley

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Celebrate the start of spring with these easy planted pots

Well thank goodness……..spring begins on Wednesday.

Let’s hope it heralds plenty
of sunshine and new growth.

I have already glimpsed swathes of crocuses and the daffodils are bravely shooting through our lawn at the moment. The front garden does need a little help though as it’s still looking pretty sparse.

Seasonal Garden IdeasThis easy project from Seasonal Garden Ideas
(£3.99 dairydiary.co.uk) is perfect to brighten it up!

 

 

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Spring Flower Medley

Spring-Flower-Medley-2The beauty of growing plants in pots is that you can bring very different species together to form interesting associations – as proved by this captivating little group themed around the colour blue.

Buy the different plants in March and pot up for flowering in April and May. Takes about one hour. Plant in full sun.

What you need

Plants

  • Three deep blue hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Delft Blue’), in leaf, flower buds showing.
  • Five to seven Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’ in leaf.
  • Ten to twenty grape hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum).
  • Three small pots of Anemone blanda ‘Violet Star’.
  • One large pot of trailing variegated ivy (Hedera).

Materials

  • Three blue ceramic pots (or any other containers of your choice).
  • Two small terracotta pots.
  • One watering can with a wide mouth.
  • Enough soil-based potting compost to fill all the containers.
  • Broken crocks for drainage.
  • Horticultural grit or gravel (optional).
  • Trowel.

Instructions

1 Water all the plants thoroughly so the rootballs are moist right through. Line all the containers with a layer of broken crocks for drainage.

2 Start filling each container with compost. About halfway up, place the plant in its pot into the container to check for the right level. The top of the rootball should be about 4cm (1½in) below the rim of the container. Add more compost as needed.

3 Carefully tip each plant out of its pot, supporting the rootball and compost with your fingers on each side of the plant stems. Place in the container, firming in gently, then top up with more compost all round the plant, aiming to keep the top of the compost 4cm (1½ in) below the container rim. Firm the plant(s) again, then lift the whole container and tap or bump it gently against the ground to settle the compost and even it out all round.

4 Repeat the planting procedure for all the containers and plants. Water them all thoroughly using a fine rose on your watering can. If you like, scatter a layer of horticultural grit or gravel on top – this will keep weeds at bay, help to retain moisture and give a neat appearance.

5 Finally, position the newly planted containers in their allotted spot and wait for them to flower.

Tips
Choose a spot in full sun for the Anemone blanda – these only open fully when the sun is shining right on them.

Notes
When choosing your containers, bear in mind overall size and height. The aim is to have a range of sizes from short at the front to tall at the back.

Aftercare
Support the top-heavy hyacinths with discreet bamboo canes and soft string ties if needed. As with most bulbous plants, when the hyacinths, grape hyacinths and iris have finished flowering, allow the leaves to die back completely before lifting the bulbs/corms/rhizomes and planting in the garden. Alternatively, discard the old plants and replace next year with new.

Project taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas.

Plant now for a gorgeous spring display

Plant now for a gorgeous spring display

I would adore to live in a chocolate-box thatched cottage, or an imposing Victorian townhouse, but the reality is actually a 1980s red brick square.

We live in a lovely village and our house is very practical for a busy family, but what it’s not is pretty.

So my mission is to try and soften its
appearance with a gorgeous garden.

As time and money are not in abundance at the moment I need to start small.

Seasonal Garden IdeasWith this project from our
Seasonal Garden Ideas book, the
patch of lifeless soil underneath
the living room window can be
transformed into a fiery riot of
colour (fingers crossed!)

Click here simple step-by-step instructions.

Seasonal Garden Ideas is available for just £3.99 – it is an ideal low-cost Christmas Gift for family and friends.

 

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