Mature Sword Ferns Find a New Home

Tuesday, October 30, 2018
This is the second time this year that I have acquired sword ferns when an old property was purchased with the intent of either demolition and rebuild or a quick flip.  The amount of waste is heartbreaking, but when I have approached the flipper or demo guys, they have been more than accommodating in allowing me to take what I want.  Portland Nursery or Bosky Dell Natives sells starter sword ferns for about $20--mature ones this big I'm assuming go for a lot more. 


My dear husband hauled about 12-15 mature sword ferns from a site around the corner that is being flipped. The owner had to move to an assisted living facility, and her old garden was completely ripped up, including mature rhododendron and azaleas, which we are also going to attempt to replant, but not sure if they'll make it as they were not dug up with the intent of transplanting, so their root systems are pretty mangled.


My challenge is to not only think through where I place these in our garden due to their size, but also to remove the English Ivy that runs through their root system.  Unfortunately, they came from a lot where this invasive species was allowed to run rampant, but that doesn't mean these sword ferns need to be tossed.


My husband laid them out in a long row, and I'm going through and meticulously removing the ivy from the roots of the sword ferns.  I'm sure there will be a few strands I miss, but we already work hard at removing preexisting English Ivy from our lot, so will just check these from time to time to make sure it isn't coming back!


But don't they look nice?  Here are a few of the smaller sword ferns I placed here and there beneath our large Deodar cedar.  There are native bulbs, perennials, as well as a native honeysuckle that are starting out here.  It's also home to one of my two shepherd's poles, which attracts many native birds.  As the plants mature, it will create refuge and habitat for the birds as they flit to and from the feeders.


Here is one of my favorite corners, coming along quite nicely.  I placed two of the mature sword ferns, and we will be placing a birch stump between them as another place to sit or for a pot in Spring.  The tree is a blue elderberry, native to the Pacific Northwest.  I wrote a post about this tree back in February.  Elders typically grow on the edge of gardens, regarded as protectors, watching over the other plants of the garden.  I love that ours will do the same from this Southeastern-most corner of the garden.  It's a lovely spot, and our garden continues to evolve into a beautiful native backyard habitat for beetles, bees, birds, squirrels, and other creepy-crawly things.  These sword ferns are a lovely addition, and it always feels good to protect those plants from gardens that were loved for many years.

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