fern wall

The fern wall

Under the pergola, a lattice had been occupied for 3 years by a garrya elliptica which had grown in all directions, but without ever blooming. Maybe a specimen that never blooms? In any case, tired of this waiting, I decided to replace it with a decor that would have a more immediate effect.

I was inspired by Jack Wallington’s blog and his ferns wall (Fernatic: 50 fern species, 1 living wall). As an experiment I have started on a modest scale, with only about ten different species or varieties. 8 ferns were purchased and potted in mid-June. I added a fern (unidentified) from the nearby forest and a splinter of my Athyrium niponicum fern ‘Metallicum’, which grows in the ground under the pergola.

Square pot with 2 holes at the back

A pair of slate hooks….

…placed in the holes

And a fern in place!

For the containers I opted for terracotta pots, made on request and to measure by my gardener’s assistant / potter / ceramist. These square pots have 2 holes at the back, and the hanging system consists of a pair of slate hooks.

Hanging (rear view)

This combination is ideal for hanging the pots on the mesh.

The ferns wall on 25/07/2019

Here is the result, 10 pots of 10 varieties of ferns, hung on the lattice in the shade of the pergola. The shade comes from the akebia quinata, which completely covers the pergola and even overflows a little. In the middle of summer only the ferns in the upper row see a bit of the morning sun.

With cleats to straighten the pots 27/07/2019

With this hanging system, we have the same problem as with the system used by Jack Wallington, namely that the pots are inclined forward, and therefore the water tends to come out of the pot from the front. So I added (temporarily) cleats to raise the pots, which are now almost vertical. It’s better for watering.

After a month and a half, the ferns are in great shape. They are entitled to their daily watering, at the rate of one and a half litre bottle for the whole, or even 2 bottles during the heat wave.

Click on the pins to display the names of the species.

Second season: extension of the surface area in May 2020

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, Papi Jo decided to significantly increase the surface area of his fern wall…

Since it was impossible to go to the store to buy a new trellis, I added up the pieces of trellis (square mesh) that had been lying around in the shed since the pergola was built. This more than doubled the size of the original fern wall. New “made to measure” pots are ordered and executed by the “resident” potter-gardener’s helper. All that remained was to furnish them with new species and varieties of ferns. 

Extension of the fern wall


The photo shows, a little in random order, the current ferns and empty pots waiting for fresh fronds. The new trellis has a narrower mesh, which will make it easier to place the pots precisely where you want them, while maintaining the correct inclination.

At a plant festival in Cardroc a few years ago I happened to notice the booth of a fern grower. But no plant festival this year, at least not immediately, so I ordered directly from the nursery: Les jardins d’écoute-s’il-pleut, located in the Vouvant-Mervent forest area.

14 May 2020

The ferns ordered from the nursery Les jardins d’écoute-s’il-pleut arrived this morning, by Chronopost. The journey took longer than expected due to the current circumstances. But thanks to the very careful packaging of each pot, all specimens were fresh and in good shape. Only a few broken fronds to be deplored, on the most fragile specimens, but they will grow back.

Now all that remains is to arrange all these little specimens in the pots waiting on the fern wall.

Opening the package

In the process of unpacking

Unpacking completed

Finished unpacking

May 25, 2020

Hanging up over!

Click a pin to see the related info and then click on thumbnail to zoom or on the link to view the plant’s full record (right-click to open the plant record in a new tab)…