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Which flowers grow well with ferns

(13 Posts)
artylady14 Mon 27-Jul-15 18:29:59

Very excited, my gardener came and created a border for me and planted some jasmine climbers against the fence with the ferns I chose - polystichum setiferum and polystichum polyblepharum. I want to plant some flowers in and around them. They were planted diagonally - so one at the front and then one back,etc. Our back garden is north-facing and doesn't get much sun so am looking for some lovely flowers to go in with the ferns that like part-shade and clay soil. What goes in this type of border that I could get my hands on to create instant flowers in the garden this time of year? I really love Rudbeckia but read that it needs full sunsad
Thanks for any tips, I am a beginner gardener!

shovetheholly Tue 28-Jul-15 18:07:49

How soggy is your soil? If you get lots of rain, you may be able to get in things like ligularia. I have a variety called 'the rocket' and it looks lovely, but it is thirsty.

Things that are out in my garden now: Some types of Japanese anemone are very keen on shade. I just bought one called 'dancing swan' which is white flowered with delightful purple backs. It is lovely and I am very pleased with it!! Another plant that is becoming very fashionable and is in flower now is thalictrum. There are many varieties with wonderful maidenhair like foliage and sprays of delicate flowers in white, pink or purple (depending on the variety). They truly dance in a shady corner.

Some kinds of persicaria like shade and are in flower now, as are some geraniums (dragonheart packs a deep pink punch). Toad lilies are lovely and exotic-looking, if tinier in scale. Hydrangeas are a more obvious choice - don't be put off by the old-fashioned blowsy ones as there are some lovely modern paniculata forms which have cone-shaped flowers. If you have room, rodgersia pinnata is a really interesting plant with pannicles of flowers from late summer - like ligularia, it appreciates moist soil. Hostas, normally grown for foliage, also have pale purple flowers this time of year. They're notoriously a feast for slugs, but if you grow in pots, this limits the damage!!

artylady14 Wed 29-Jul-15 18:00:31

Hi and thanks for the reply! I still dont have a clue what to buy so thanks for all this information. The Japanese anemones and toad lilies look lovely and I will try and get some from the garden centres. I have tried googling 'dancing swan' but cant find it, only 'wild swan'.

Ermmm. I dont know if my soil is particularly moist, I have been told it is very well-drained as I had it rotovated but I can water it a lot? (beginner gardener here).

I will have a look around for all these so thanks a lot, you have been very helpful.

PolterGoose Wed 29-Jul-15 21:32:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Panzee Wed 29-Jul-15 21:34:33

I've got a fern and geranium mix, they seem to go well together.

DoreenLethal Wed 29-Jul-15 21:36:24

You don't want to set yourself up as having to water all the time; it is best to work with what you have and plant what works best in your soil/situation.

Have a look at neighbour's gardens and see what they have in their shady patches, and start looking at the same sorts of plants. Don't forget that lettuces, spinach and lots of other leafy veg do well in shady spots through the summer.

Methe Wed 29-Jul-15 21:39:40

Helibores! They're not summer flowering though, and tend to flower over winter but they hold their flowers for a long time and I think the flowers are some of the most beautiful out there.

I have a shady border with ferns, hostas, helibores and hardy geraniums. I have made the decision that the hostas gone after this year - I am fed up of feeding the slugs! Hostas aren't easy to keep looking move without copius slug pellets., which I won't use.

PolterGoose Wed 29-Jul-15 21:50:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MisForMumNotMaid Wed 29-Jul-15 22:01:36

My hostas are in teracota pots by the ferns. I inherited lots of crocosmia which are thriving in the shade too. I had so many i'd planted what i wanted in my sunny front garden so thought i'd use some as green filler in the shaddy back garden (with ferns under benches). I've now got a wonderful bright line of orange/ red through the ferns. I'm surprised how well they've done.

artylady14 Wed 29-Jul-15 23:16:57

Brilliant, thanks for your advice. It's good to hear from people with similar plants in their garden. I will check them all out at the garden centre....and I wouldn't have thought of rhubarb. grin

shovetheholly Thu 30-Jul-15 08:58:52

artylady - I got the impression at the stall that the anemone might be a brand new variety. I think 'Dancing Swan' will be pretty close. I got it from Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants.

If your soil is well-drained, it's probably not damp enough for bog garden plants. As Doreen says, you don't want to give yourself a nightmare, and use loads of water, keeping something alive that isn't completely happy in the conditions that you have. So cross ligularia off that list!

Hellebores are a wonderful suggestion. They really dance in the winter, when you need cheering up. Have a look at the double-flowered 'Harvington' varieties: they have beautiful colour, really deep purples and vibrant pinks just when you need it most: www.hughnunn.co.uk/

shovetheholly Thu 30-Jul-15 09:04:55

Oh, and methe - I second mumnotmaid's idea of hostas in terracotta pots. I have very heavy, wet clay in my north-facing garden and slugs are rampant. There is absolutely no way I could grow hostas in the soil, they would be shredded in seconds.

My BIL, whose hostas are absolutely show-quality pristine, advised me to put them in pots (his are also on saucers of water). I was initially sceptical about terracotta - surely the pot would dry out too fast, with the roots exposed on all sides in a porous clay? But no! Put the pot in a shady area and they seem to love it! And they look terrific against the orange too.

So I am getting quite into growing them now! I just got a new one called Mr Blue. It's one of the more upright ones, and it has gorgeous pink stems on show against that lovely blue-grey coloured foliage some of them have. Tis a really lovely plant. I'm also growing some from seed for the first time in my greenhouse - it's a mixed selection, so what comes out will be a bit of a lucky dip, which is quite exciting really smile

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Thu 30-Jul-15 23:02:12

Some lilies can do very well in shade, in my (limited) experience... I agree about hellebores for the winter too!

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