The Pod invasion and a few other fun things

Let’s take a look at what is brewing in the garden, shall we?

The tiny emerging leaves of this little Epimedium ‘Bandit’ brought a smile to my face when I noticed it. When I stuck it in the first fern table I ever built, I wondered whether it was dead or alive. This morning, I got the answer. Gotta tell you – it made me ridiculously happy to see it!

Having in my possession a number of seemingly empty  – or struggling – 4″ pots of former goodies, I built another fern table last week. The empty spots you see are actually not empty. They are just… dormant, shall we say? I realized when putting together this table that fern tables are to pot ghettos what soups are to refrigerator cleanings – a marvelous opportunity for putting together something unique with whatever you happen to have on hand. Even if I, over the time I’ve had them, have brought them to the brink of death – here is a chance to give them a spot in the limelight, where I can observe them up close. I’ve also found that gardening is a game of patience. Given enough time, there is still some life in some of those tiny roots, and one day, I just might be delighted – like with that little Bandit previously mentioned! Trust me – this will fill in, and look lusher with time.

You see that leafy marvel on the lower right? It’s a Scopolia carniolica – previously unknown to me. Often used as groundcover, it gets these most adorable little red bells that hang underneath those leaves. In my opinion, this is a plant best enjoyed up high, where you can see those cute little flowers.

The buds look almost black – I’m so excited to see them!

Slightly below the Scopolia on the same fern table, is a recovering Haquetia epipactis nestled next to Selaginella kraussiana ‘Brownii’. Can’t get enough of those green flowers. Next year, there’ll be more!

I always thought the lung-like leaves of Jeffersonia diphylla were so fun and weird, this one got a prime spot on my first fern table. In a post I wrote a few weeks ago, I thought this plant was J. dubia. Now that the leaves are up, I realize I was wrong. Sadly, I’m still looking for the whereabouts of J. dubia. Might it have gone to the inventory of the damned?

A week or so ago, it flowered!

This little vignette caught my eye from my second fern table – a cyclamen leaf that found a way through a crack in the rotting old log.

Some of my favorite signs of spring are the fuzzy spikes of the Shredded umbrella plant – this is Syneilesis palmata against the backdrop of a floppy Farfugium leaf. (It seems I need to cut that one back and mulch the crown of the Syneilesis.)

I noticed that last year’s foliage of Disporum cantoniense ‘Fat Boy’ has taken on this striated texture that I thought was kinda cool! Since I bought it, this plant has changed name, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what the new name is. To me, it will always be ‘Fat Boy’.

This is one of those plants I specifically bought to use in a fern table; Oxalis magellanica ‘Nelson’. It blooms with the most adorable little white flowers!

I have a rather large clump of Podophyllum pleianthum – the Chinese Mayapple. You can see it emerging here, along with the ever spreading Arisarum proboscideum – or Mouse Plant.

Here it has spread several feet to invade a little vignette consisting of Arisarum, Erythronium, and Adiantum venustum.

But these are the most travel happy of the Pods. They came up right around a black Hellebore, far away from the mother plant on the other end of the garden. They must have arrived as seeds, carried by some kind of animal. I know I didn’t plant one there. Tomorrow I’m going to try to dig one up for a friend. Not a moment too soon. Before long, if left to their own devices, they would be towering over that little Hellebore!



About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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31 Responses to The Pod invasion and a few other fun things

  1. Exciting, indeed; and imaginative use of old stumps

  2. janesmudgeegarden says:

    Oh my goodness, nearly all of these plants are completely new to me, and I’m sure very few of them would grow in the climate we have here. What an exciting collection you have. I look forward to those flowers completely emerging.

    • annamadeit says:

      Hi Jane! Sorry for the tardy reply… for some reason, your comment ended up in my spam folder… Apologies for that! I hope in the weeks to come, I will find additional goodies. Many of them are small, and recently planted, but there are some favorites whose arrival I always eagerly await. Where do you garden?

  3. bergstromskan says:

    Super fun Anna, thank you! I want to play with you…….

  4. I may have to spend a few minutes on the fainting sofa. Dear lord, gorgeous plants & gorgeous photography. I NEED that Scopolia carniolica. Fabulous.

  5. annamadeit says:

    Thanks, Patricia! It’s a cool plant for sure! When it spreads, I will give you a piece. 🙂

  6. Evan Bean says:

    Love all the little scenes of spring arriving. I like the way Disporum ages, with those purple markings, provided they aren’t flattened by snow as mine were. Oh well, new shoots will be emerging soon enough! I fear I may be givimg my plants performance anxiety with my frequent close inspections, as I look to see what has grown.

    • annamadeit says:

      But it’s so much fun to inspect all those little new shoots… I do it too. I prefer thinking I’m giving encouragement, rather than pressure. I hope they take it that way, because good grief – I’m out there snooping around a lot! LOL!

  7. Alison says:

    The Scopolia looks interesting, I need to see it with the flowers open. Love the close look at your fern table. I think it looks good even with the bare spots. I’m admiring that big chunk of wood you used. I really think this is the year I finally get down to work and put mine together.

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh, you should, Alison – it is SO MUCH FUN!!! I can’t seem to stop making them… I’ll be sure to post pictures when they open – they are super cute! 😀

  8. tonytomeo says:

    What a bunch of eerily weird plants! Some of them seem to be from another planet! The pictures are such that I would not recognize them even if I were familiar with them.

    • annamadeit says:

      Haha – are you telling me I went a little overboard with the macro lens? Anyway, I tend to love the oddballs – they are so much fun! And, quite honestly, I have a similar reaction to so much of the cool stuff you guys grow down there in California – which I hotly wish I could grow here. But, you are right – we have plenty of our own weird plants – thank god!

      • tonytomeo says:

        It was not so much the lens as the weirdness of the foliage . . . or whatever those plant parts were. Most of our native plants are rather simple, although I believe that the coastal redwood is the most excellent tree in the world! We do have many cool exotics, and can grow such a nice variety. It is not cool enough for those that need a chill in winter, but too cool for some tropical plants that are sensitive to frost.

        • annamadeit says:

          We have a lot of fabulous natives, too. One of my faves is Vancouveria hexandra. It’s a fern-like thing that looks like a maiden hair fern on steroids. That said, I’m a sucker for foliage, and keep pushing boundaries… Fingers crossed! 😀

  9. Lots of treasures! I’ve always loved Hacquetia epipactis but never had a great place to plant one, perhaps tucked into my fern table would work. Do you guys have them at JC?

    Oh and I shared a few photos of your garden last Friday:

  10. annamadeit says:

    Ugh… I’m dreading to look… You’d have to be an amazing photo editor to make that mess look presentable. Dare I hope for close-ups???
    Yes, we do have them at JC, but I bought mine from Dancing Oaks at last year’s Hortlandia.

  11. I love your new fern table. The upright stump on the right is the perfect backdrop for your little treasures. I understand your thrill. To see our plants come back from dormancy is the best feeling!

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks, Grace – it truly is! I saw another couple of things today I had forgotten where I had planted, and almost thought I had lost. Not so. They are back, with new, fresh, glossy leaves, exuding optimism and perfection. They make me so happy!

  12. Kris P says:

    I can imagine the joy you get out of your fern tables, Anna, as they made me smile just seeing the photos. I loved your comparison to making soup out of the leftovers in the fridge too. If only ferns were happier here. I had quite a few in my former shady, well-irrigated garden but they haven’t adapted well here, even in the shadier areas – I think the near-constant wind and drier conditions are relatively intolerable for them. *Sigh*

    • annamadeit says:

      I’m sorry it’s too dry and windy for ferns where you are, Kris. I think you can still use the basic principle of hard surface gardening though, and just adapt the plant selection to things that DO thrive where you are. Since I first saw these tables, I have wanted to go to the beach, pick up some really well weathered drift wood, and plant a “beachy” arrangement of sorts, using things like Armerias, low growing grasses, Statice, Jovibarbas etc. Maybe that would work for you – I think you could make it beautiful!

  13. FlowerAlley says:

    I love this. I did drag a few interesting stumps from the woods, but they have not made it down in the garden
    Maybe tomorrow. ..

    • annamadeit says:

      Whenever you do decide to do it, you will have a blast. It’s actually a really good pick-me-up for a not so great day. I built this soon after someone ran into and wrecked my truck. That positive, creative focus was balm for a weary soul. 🙂

  14. Peter Herpst says:

    Very exciting to see all of these cool plants reappearing for the season! “Fern tables are to pot ghettos what soups are to refrigerator cleanings” made me laugh out loud! Love your fern tables!

  15. annamadeit says:

    Aw, thank you, Peter! I laughed too, when it occurred to me (having just done a fridge cleaning). It’s true, though – I bet I put at least 20 plants in that last fern table. Fern tables are a phenomenal way to clean up all those little 4-inchers sitting around with nowhere to go. I think they are the best thing to happen to my garden in years. Not only are they fun to make – they also bring all those little plants up to where I can see them!

  16. Pingback: Wide vistas and wet closeups | Flutter & Hum

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