May 27, 2006

Bad hair day in fern corner

furn cornerA messy green tangle. Fortunately, that doesn't apply to my hair. It's gray enough now that I get offered senior discounts and seats on buses that I don't need or deserve. Gray is not cool but it's better than green.

What it does apply to is the former state of my "fern corner". They looked good as the emerged in the spring, showing off their coloured stems, but once fully unfurled they were a uniform green and the diversity of forms made for a tangle, not a contrast. Clearly something had to be done.

Osmunda regalisSo I dug up the fern in front - a royal fern - and seeing as I was much too fond of it to say goodbye, I throned it in a large pot. Now I can appreciate its stately presence and lacy foliage at their just merits.

I am not an accomplished garden designer, but I do know that contrasts in colour and shape please the eye, so I looked for something that would stand out against the ferns and, at the same time, make them more noticeable. Huechera 'Sparkling Burgandy'I found what I was looking for in a Sparkling Burgundy heuchera. Its decidedly purple colour and rounded, slightly ruffled leaves could not be more different from the finely cut ferns with their tender green. Even the lilies of the valley add something, with their solid patches of green. Once this heuchera has had a year or two to settle in, this corner should be exceptionally beautiful. I'd like to find some hardy cylamens to spread at their feet or, failing that, a silver splash of spotted deadnettle could do the trick.

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