Beedazzled Gardens Blog

Gardening Ruminations and Germination

Fern Table Project

I attended the Yard, Garden and Patio show in February and was intrigued by Richie Steffen, curator for the Elisabeth C Miller Botanical Garden who demonstrated how to build a fern table. Taking copius notes, between March and April I collected all the necessary elements and set out to create my own version of the fern table on the shady side of the house.

I secured a 12×12 concrete block from Lowe’s along with four cement blocks and one bar of rebar cut into four equal sections. Siting the perfect location, I placed the concrete blocks on top of one another. My husband pounded the rebar inside each of the four corners to provide the base stability.

I created two moss covered burlap ‘logs’ by rolling blended compost and potting soil into loose garden burlap and tied them up with clear fishing line. I found the most wonderful sheet moss at The Garden Corner in Tualatin and encased the log with the moss, again securing it with fishing line and soaking both with water.  I placed them around the outside perimeter of the 12×12 pad, filling the interior with soil. Next, I added three found moss and lichen covered tree branches from recent hikes. I tucked in 4″ plant material to fill out the soil bed area.

The 4″ plant material used included:
– Anthyrium filix-femina ‘Lady Fern’
– Athyrium nipponicum ‘Red Beauty’ (Japanese painted fern)
– Dryopteris erthyrosora ‘Autumn Fern’
– Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’
– Saxifraga stolonifera ‘Maroon Beauty’
– Saxifraga umibrosa ‘Variegata’

Project Time:
Not including procurement of  materials, it was relatively easy to assemble and took about 1.5 hours total with finessing.
Project Cost:
During summer months, treat the fern table like a fuschia basket – watering every 1-3 days as the soil media can dry out quickly during warm days. During Febrayr/March of the first year cut back all the fern fronds to initiate new growth.

If you are looking for something different to add as a vertical element in your garden, consider a Fern Table. To see the demonstration fern table created at the YGP show, visit Garden Fever in NE Portland.


Author: beedazzled

BeeDazzled Gardens creates specialized perennial beds and containers that attract beneficial insects, birds, and butterflies.

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