Wednesday, September 8, 2021

It's a small crevice garden, in spirit

It's interesting to me how you can look at something for years, without really seeing it. Then one day, suddenly, your eyes clear and you wonder how you—FOR YEARS—didn't really see...

That mossy rock above, and below, is what I'm currently looking at, and really seeing. It annoys me.

Several years ago a longtime neighbor moved into a housing situation where she wasn't able to take many garden "things" with her, including this rock that she'd hauled around previously from home to home. So she gave it to me. She brought it over and we dropped it right there, and that's where it's stayed, for years. YEARS. I liked it, I brought home those three smaller rocks and dropped them there, thinking they all belonged together. It was pretty inspired, right?


So fast forward to when this image popped up on the Hardy Fern Foundation's Instagram page, I think actually it may have been in their "stories", because I can't find it now. Anyway, that's an Asplenium trichomanes growing out of a vertical rock surface. I happened to have a couple of Asplenium trichomanes kicking around...

...the wheels started to turn. I gathered some other rocks from around the garden...

And then things got serious. What I was planning was essentially a mini-crevice garden. The soil here is so compact and full of tree roots that I can't easily plant in it, so I was thinking of planting on it and hoping that over time the roots of the plants would be able to work into the soil underneath. But I couldn't use just Asplenium trichomanes. I mean as fabulous as it is I obviously needed a feature fern. And it just so happened that I had two very fancy and expensive pyrrosia hidden in my oblong stock tank. Don't bother looking because there's no chance you'll find them.

Here they are, Pyrrosia lingua 'Hiryu'...

And Pyrrosia lingua 'Kei Kan'. I need to liberate both of them, but in our current dry and hot conditions I went with 'Kei Kan' because it was easier to lift. I'll return to  'Hiryu' another time.

So, time to build! Of course it bothered me that my large rocks were so different. One round, one angular, and one midrange and darker in color. I have hope that eventually more moss will grow to cover them and make them more similar than different. 

I moved the gravel mulch away from the rocks and dug down so their edges were in contact with, or beneath the surrounding soil.

Then all the ferns were pressed into the cracks with more soil added and worked in around the rocks.

Once I added as much soil as possible, I then top dressed everything with moss.

Moss makes everything better.

Here's a landscape image to give you perspective on where this small planting is. Follow the short pathway between the garage (brown structure) and the magnolia trunk and it's just to the left of the second large concrete paver.

To the bottom right of the stock tank on the left.


Please be sure to admire the large container of Pyrrosia lingua 'Cristata' on the left, above. Former Hardy Plant Society board member and all around kind person Shari MacDonald gave me a large pot of Pyrrosia lingua 'Cristata' which I divided and still had that large clump to pot up. It's magic!

Anyway, back to the new "crevice" planting. Truth be told I wonder how much this image from Kenton Seth might have influenced my creating this small planting? Obviously his is on an entirely different scale. But they're both a rock planting on the ground level, hugging the side of a large container. I dunno, maybe I flatter myself. Or maybe it's a case of inspiration percolating.

Either way I am happy with the look of the thing.

Moss, rocks, ferns... three of my favorite things!

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  1. Love it ! and really anchors the galvanized container

  2. What a great story! Did you poke holes in the bottom of the stock tank?


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