New Woodland Garden

It has been an intense spring. I put in four new gardens for clients, planting over eight hundred plants. In the middle of all this work my wife decided to tackle a long neglected area at the top of our driveway which up to now has always been choked with brambles, raspberry canes and bishop’s weed. After spending two days pulling out hundreds of canes and getting very scratched up we exposed a beautiful ancient fallen down apple tree. As luck would have it in the middle of this project a gardening friend sent me a link to a sale at Eastern Plant Specialists based in Maine where they had a special for one hundred Ostrich ferns. What could be better. I placed an order and two days later a large box appeared with 100 plants about 3” high and a root ball plugs about the same size. After planting the ferns all around the apple tree we received two good spring soakings and the bright green fronds leapt about 10” inches in three days. A few weeks later a friend wanted several beds of ostrich ferns removed from her courtyard garden. It was a good deal – If I dug them out I could have them. About 8 years ago I had taken this same friend to a fern nursery on Long Island and she bought maybe 25-30 of these ostrich ferns and there were now about 400 -500 ferns. After digging up over 100 ferns I planted them on the opposite side of the driveway among some Spanish Bluebells. Now I have the beginnings of a small woodland garden at the top of the drive and I plan to research other woodland plants to plant amongst the ferns. I will also add more Spanish bluebells in the fall. I welcome any suggestions for additional woodland plants to add to the new area and/or how to heal my aching bones!

Exposed apple tree after clearing hundreds of brambles

Exposed apple tree after clearing hundreds of brambles

Ostrich ferns from friend transplanted to left side of driveway with Spanish Bluebells

Ostrich ferns from friend transplanted to left side of driveway with Spanish Bluebells

New woodland planting in driveway.

New woodland planting in driveway.

About Don Statham

Garden Designer shares tips
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12 Responses to New Woodland Garden

  1. Deirdre says:

    Welsh poppies?

  2. Brian O'Neil says:

    Most of my garden in Roxbury is shaded next to a brook. Here’s some woodland natives that I have planted that do well:
    Stylophorum diphyllum Celandine Poppy,
    Various trilliums (erectum, grandiflorum, luteum)
    Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple)
    Jeffersonia diphylla (Twin Leaf)
    Other ferns-I especially like these three
    Polystichum acrostichoides Christmas Fern (evergreen is a plus)
    Adiantum pedatum northern maidenhair
    Osmunda cinnamomea Cinnamon Fern
    Erythronium pagoda Trout lily
    Polygonatum biflorum Solomon’s- Seal-
    Asarum canadense Wild Ginger
    Caulophyllum thalictoides Blue Cohosh
    Cimicifuga (actaea) racemosa Bugbane
    Arisaema triphyllum Jack-in the Pulpit
    Solidago flexicaulis Zigzag Goldenrod
    Spiranthes cernua Nodding lady’s tresses

    I use plenty of non-natives too

    If you intend to plant more plants, I don’t have a cure for your aching bones!

    • Don Statham says:

      Brian- Wow you do have your shade plants at hand! I would love to transplant some Mayapple in the area. I have plenty of trout lily pretty much everywhere. Will definitely check out some of these others. Many thanks Don

    • Ross Hamilton says:

      Hello Don,

      Brian gives an excellent list.
      To which I might add kirengeshoma palmata, Japanese yellow wax-bells, which likes the Catskills, or the Drybrook Valley at least. To continue the yellow theme, I’d add the old fashioned lemon yellow daylily, which is tough as nails and fragrant, to boot. It gives a full month of bloom to my garden. Ross

  3. Joan Martorano says:

    Sounds lovely! I love tiarella and sweet woodruff in the shade. Also plumbago and astilbe.

  4. Deborah Banks says:

    You two do nice work!

  5. If you want to add a large-leafed plant, try diphlleia cymosa. Big leaves, small white flowers. The Japanese version of mayapple also has fabulous leaves. I saw it recently in a garden in Hanover, New Hampshire and fell in love!

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