Garden Diary - April

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Container Gardening, an NYBG Plant Studio Course
Sample Final Project

image courtesy Daryl Beyers all rights reserved

The Plants
Bird’s-nest fern (Asplenium nidus), Common asparagus-fern (Asparagus setaceus),
Maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris), Heart fern (Hemioinitis arifolia)

The Potting Mix Recipe
2 parts high-octane potting mix (potting soil, organic fertilizer, and dried chicken manure) plus 1 part perlite

For my container garden, I wanted to create a romantic, draping collection of ferns with a variety of textures in a classic terracotta pot that will age well. The combination doesn’t exactly follow the “Thriller, Filler, Spiller” format, but I did choose different heights and textures to give the overall design interest and balance. All of these ferns will need soft, diffused lights, which is perfect for the north-facing window where I have placed them. They will need medium draining soil with high fertility, so I used the High Octane potting mix recipe and added dried chicken manure that I collected from my backyard chicken flock. I added perlite for drainage.
[Note: If you do not have any backyard chickens, bags of dried cow manure may be found at garden centers.]

These ferns will need regular, consistent watering, as they do not like to dry out. While the soil is rich in fertilizer, I’ll plan to maintain it by adding a bit of compost every year. I plan to prune it lightly as needed for aesthetics and may need to pot up and divide, as necessary. Due to the semi-arid climate with cool winters where I live, I plan to keep the container inside year round.

I have always loved the look and textures of ferns, but have not been successful at keeping them healthy (or even alive!) in the past. This course has helped me to understand the wide variety of unique needs that each plant has. I am confident that I will be successful with my fern pot as well as future container gardens, because I have learned how to match plants to the right environment and pot as well as how to water and fertilize them appropriately. When I’m not sure, I will know what resources to turn to to figure out a plan.

See Container Gardening, week four
Container Gardening, week three
Container Gardening, week two
and also
Container Gardening, introduction and week one

Gratis registration for this Plant Studio course has been provided by the New York Botanical Garden

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