Friday, August 27, 2021

And then there were three...

Longtime readers may remember I've admitted to not caring for staghorn ferns. Well, until suddenly I did. Last summer I put together this trashcan-lid hanging staghorn based on a design I saw from Max on Instagram.

I loved it then, I love it now—but more importantly I've kept it alive for almost a year!

Alive through time spent both outdoors and indoors... I am (to quote a friend) feeling quite chuffed!

Fast forward to this summer and I got a sweet card from my parents with some $ earmarked for flowers or a plant. They'd intended to send me flowers after my ankle surgery but were busy and didn't get around to it. I figured this kind of monetary gift is meant to be spent somewhat frivolously. See something you love but wouldn't normally buy? Grab it. That's just what I did when I saw an interesting staghorn at Tony's Garden Center. I already had the planter but hadn't yet used it... I think they make a great pair.

Just the staghorn alone seemed a little under sized for the planter—even though it's a large plant—so I added a tillandsia and some Spanish moss, Tillandsia usneoides.

The "horns" are pretty spectacular on their own...

Mom says she doesn't care for the Tillandsia usneoides, as it looks fake. I like how it softens the hard shape of the planter. Of course it helps that I am a huge fan of Spanish moss...

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, there is now a third staghorn in my garden. The purchasing of this plant—a Platycerium bifurcatum 'Netherlands'—predates the last, as I picked it up at Rare Plant Research in May. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it, so it just sat untouched for 3 months until I was finally able to tackle the project. 

The plant has three shields, this pair which I chose to use as the front...

...and this one that is now hidden at the back.

I picked up a pair of pizza screens for a couple of bucks at a metal salvage spot here in Portland. I now know that you can get shiny new screens for not much more than I paid for used ones (here and here), but like that I'm reusing something that may have ended up in a landfill. I started the project by piling sphagnum moss on the screen...

Andrew loves buying me garden tools for my birthday, so I used this new wicked blade to cut off the backside of the potted staghorn soil/root mass.

Now it's flat!

I laid it against the moss...

Then I added more soil...

...and more moss, trying to make a softly slopping shape around the root mass. This is where you might be wondering if I knew what I was doing. Nope. This was just an idea. Would it work? Dunno. But I'm having fun trying.

In retrospect I should have used something more permanent than this string to tie it all together—wire may have been a better choice. I built the bromeliad mount I recently shared with fishing line and I was DONE playing with that material so this is what I grabbed. 

I covered the soil and sphagnum moss with green moss I'd been collecting, I then wove the string back and forth and through the wire mesh. Obviously this string could quickly rot, so I am going to have to reinforce it before that happens. 

I tucked in more moss to hide the string and this is what it looked like—almost finished.

I say "almost" because I felt like another layer of planting needed to occur in that moss. Rhipsalis to the rescue! (maybe Rhipsalis pilocarpa?)

I cut up a small houseplant I had and tucked the stems into the moss where it should quickly root. Then the whole thing was hung on the "green wall" (aka our fence)...

I absolutely love it and I'm thrilled that it came together pretty much as I envisioned it would.

Will it thrive? Only time will tell. I had no idea what I was doing when I made the original staghorn trashcan lid or the three bromeliad mounts that surround this creation on the fence, and they've been going strong for a couple of years now.

The only thing that makes me a little unhappy is that I didn't get to do this in May or June—that the project had to wait until August. Why? because The Great Migration* is getting ever closer...

*The Great Migration = when non-hardy plants need to be moved to a protected location to survive the winter.

A note for those of you who follow my blog via email subscription. Blogger (Google) announced earlier this year they were discontinuing the follow by email option in July. Here it is late August and those emails are still being sent, surprising, but I expect them to end any day now. I have not yet migrated my subscribers to a new service. I hope to do so soon, but I thought it was also worth warning you that your emails may end abruptly. I’ll still be posting here Monday, Wednesday, and Friday though, so click on over here anytime for the latest! 

All material © 2009-2021 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

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