Garden Photo of the Day

The Fern Fairway in Summer

Making magic in a narrow garden space

Cherry Ong, a frequent GPOD contributor from Richmond, British Columbia, has a narrow side yard in her garden that she calls the Fern Fairway. She always makes the most of this little space with a beautiful selection of plants, focused, as one might guess, on ferns and other shade-loving plants.

Today she’s sharing some photos of the garden as it looked at the height of summer last year.

This is the north side of the Fern Fairway, with its mainstays Leucothoe fontesiana ‘Rainbow’ (Zones 5–8), Athyrium ‘Godzilla’ (Zones 5–8), Hosta ‘Big Daddy’ (Zones 4–9), Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’ (Zones 5–9), and a metal fern ring.

Athyrium ‘Ghost’ (Zones 4–9) gets bigger and better with each passing year.

A longer view of this very narrow shade garden

Athyrium filix-femina ‘Dre’s Dagger’ is such a show-stopper. The first time I saw it was in Thomas Hobbs and Brent Beattie’s country garden, and it was love at first sight.

One of my houseplants on vacation

Fuchsia ‘Pink Marshmallow’ (Zones 10–11 or as an annual) brings joy to both humans and hummers!

Did I mention that it is difficult to photograph this corridor?

This planter is across the kitchen window. I tried something different this year and used square plastic pots as inserts. When the hostas went dormant, I replaced and rearranged the plants. This extends the season of the container without as much work for me. I can also bring in the annual ferns earlier.

I believe this is Asian saber fern (Polystichum neolabatum, Zones 5–9), a relatively new addition to the Fairway.

The delicate blooms of Cardiandra alternifolia (Zones 5–9)

Paris polyphylla(Zones 5–8) was a raffle win from a local garden club, and Tricyrtis ‘Renkaku’ was a purchase from a home plant sale by a well-known local gardener. I love the combo!


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  1. User avater
    musabasjoosue 02/01/2024

    Cherry, you have such a wonderful eye for details. What a fun, creative space from the ironwork, the containers, and of course the interesting and diverse mix of plants. Nice work!

    1. perenniallycrazy 02/01/2024

      Thanks! Let’s continue to all have fun gardening.

  2. User avater
    simplesue 02/01/2024

    I just love that you make good use of this narrow space and that you named it!
    The metal art with the fern fronds is so perfect for this area!
    Your photo of the Asian Saber Fern is so artistic, such a graceful fern.
    Your Fuchsia ‘Pink Marshmallow’ is so pastel, I love it.

    1. perenniallycrazy 02/01/2024

      Thank you…. All in the name of cramscaping.

  3. User avater
    cynthia2020 02/01/2024

    Love The Fern Fairway - lots of interesting healthy plants and a shady place if the sun is too hot.

    1. perenniallycrazy 02/01/2024

      Thank you. I have not figured out a way to cram a couple of chairs in... =)

  4. btucker9675 02/01/2024

    Cramscaping is a perfect term! This alley is just perfection and I especially love all of the oxidized metal pieces - especially the fern ring. Beautiful!!!

    1. perenniallycrazy 02/01/2024

      LOL. Thanks for your kind words. The fern ring was a fun find at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show (now Festival) Marketplace many years ago.

  5. perenniallycrazy 02/01/2024

    Wanted to issue a correction for the last photo - I believe I misidentified the Paris - that one is a Paris quadrifolia. Sorry, my bad.

    Here's a close up of the Tricyrtis latifolia Renkaku that sits beside it . I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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