Shade Gardening

 The Fernery, when it's finally organised, will be on the right of the driveway.
looking up the driveway

The back of the house has a small garden which up until now has been home to several large Pseudopanax trees. They were removed two months ago as they were too close to the house.

This was my chance to try a shade garden! Unfortunately old tree roots made digging difficult - and there was general dryness. I thought about Pungas, then thought again - not enough water guaranteed!

I didn't realise that Big Fat Sifter the cat used the Pseudopanax branches to get down from the upstairs windows via the roof. So when the trees were felled, he had a problem! He got stuck up there several times since (the other cats, being more athletic, just jumped down).

 These ferns have planted themselves.
ferns behind the house

Sand and Rubble

I'd never gardened in here, as the 'soil' consisted of a mat of tree roots, with builders' sand and rubble underneath. My first plan was to build up the soil with organic matter and dig out the easy tree roots, and I made a start on this. I laid in lucerne mulch and sprinkled it with 'Blood and Bone', and popped a small blue orphan conifer in one of the many gaps. I also spoke nicely to the few ferns in residence, promising them better living conditions.

Water Really Works

Then this area was finally joined up to the main irrigation system. Gardening options suddenly increased dramatically - perhaps I could finally grow some New Zealand Punga ferns, and this garden could become a proper Fernery! Ideally Pungas would need shade and dripping water, particularly if they were to survive the hot summers stuck in a garden. I started to see some lovely combinations of greens and blues (perhaps hostas), rich dark soil and gently misting water.

But back to reality. A ground covering creeping violet is now happily flowering at the moment, and two sad Pachysandrias have cheered up and hopefully will start to spread out. I've planted some stiff spikes of the orange Libertia near the dark brown stained house wall, and scattered some honesty seeds. Hopefully the resident ferns will go forth and multiply!

I'll wait until next spring, and then see if my dreams for a Fernery have germinated.