Friday, July 29, 2022

The fern bowl becomes the bromeliad bowl—but where did the ferns go?

Back in May of 2019 I put together a planting I referred to as the "fern bowl"—kind of like a fern table, except it wasn't on a flat surface but rather in a large, shallow bowl. Here's a photo from that post (which you can read here)...

Three years in and that planting needed a refresh. Thankfully all the important players were still looking good, but I could tell they weren't thriving any longer. Plus I was kinda itching to use the bowl for a few of my smaller bromeliads and an expanding collection of cryptanthus—and so I did, and I love the way it turned out.

So, what did I do with the ferns from the bowl? Well, last spring something strange happened to the huge podophyllum clump that used to fill this stock tank and they just sulked (see how fabulous they once were here). Unfortunately they weren't anymore robust this spring...

So I moved the sad plants that remained elsewhere in the garden and prepped the tank for new occupants.

I needed a background to build off of and so I buried this section of I-beam I happened to have in the garage (doesn't everybody?) and also planted a chunk of driftwood I hauled home from our last trip to the beach.

It's just begging for something to work it's way up those "branches" don't you think?

All planted up!

Truth be told, I planted and stepped back and thought "I need some metal in that corner" (to help hide the awkward meeting of the garage and fence). I immediately thought of these two pieces over near the tallest palm in the garden, but they're a little too small—and being used as trellising.

They both came to be mine thanks to Alan Bertin, the Mardi Gras Gardener.

Alan picked them up at BBC Steel (which I wrote about here), so the next morning I had free I was off to BBC to see what I could find that would fit easily in that corner...

I do like sticking to a theme, in this case circles. But you pay by the pound here and this number was so heavy I could barely drag it over to take this photo.

Lots of fun circles here, but these panels were way too big.

Ditto for those leaf shape panels.

I don't need more cylinders, but these were mighty attractive.

Tempting to have a seat and mull over the options.

In the end I went back to revisit these really big circles cut into thin metal sheets—easy to move and cheaper too! I went with the two in the middle, the shorter piece with 8 holes and the one with 4 holes and a solid side.

Here they are in the corner...

Hard to see in a photo...

But providing a nice back-drop in-real-life. I spray them down when I'm watering, hoping to speed along the rusting process.

So let's look at the plants! Not all of these were moved over from the fern bowl, I'd had this project in mind for awhile and so had been "collecting" plants.

Pyrrosia sheareri along with some black mondo grass—these were in the fern bowl.

Asarum maximum 'Ling Ling' also from the fern bowl planting.

More Pyrrosia sheareri, this from Cistus Nursery.

Asplenium trichomanes

Disporum cantoniense 'Night Heron'—I am very excited about this plant being elevated and thus easier than my current plant is to photograph when the blooms show up in the springtime.

Pyrrosia polydactyla

Pyrrosia sp. SEH#12547, purchased at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden.

Final shot, you might remember this pair from my haul post after the trip up north in June; Rhododendron 'Strawberry Sorbet' and a syneilesis hybrid from my friend Camille's garden

Although I'm just finally sharing it now, this planting all happened earlier in July. Thank goodness things had a couple weeks to settle in, as we're currently in the midst of six+ days in the high 90's and low 100's. I'm babying this planting and hoping everything makes it.

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All material © 2009-2022 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude


  1. AnonymousJuly 29, 2022

    As I scrutinized the assembled plant in that corner, my eyes caught the sight of the bromeliad attached to driftwood and hanging on the fence post. It is fabulous.
    Did you leave Asplenium trichomanes in a small terra-cotta pot?
    Pyrrosia polydactyla is drool worthy and I'll encounter one eventually.
    Strawberry sorbet and the syneilesis hybrid looking wonderful: fuzzy and happy.

    1. The Asplenium trichomanes you ask about is planted in a rusty metal tube. That Pyrrosia polydactyla is one of my very favorite plants, right now it has shade cloth up to protect it from our run of VERY hot days, as the sun hits it directly for a an hour in the afternoon.

  2. I hope this heatwave will be your last for the summer season. The revamped fern bowl turned bromeliad bowl looks great. As to your new corner creation, you don't do anything by halves! The new metal pieces are a master stroke. I wish I had a standby plant collection like yours, although I'm accumulating something of a stockpile myself as I longingly await the cooler, hopefully damper days of fall.

    1. It's been crazy hot! Spring is for plant accumulating and I usually try to have them planted before July rolls around, I was just running a little late this year.

  3. Wonderful changes and new additions -- and thanks for the reminder on BBC Steel! Must find a way to visit...

    1. It's easy, just drive on over! I hope you're not driving the Mini up here though, as you won't fit much in there.

  4. The black Ophiopogon is a good accent to green and galvanized.

  5. I love what you do with random bits of metal. Something so mundane and ordinary turned into something extraordinary.


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