Tag Archives: ferns

Woodland Garden, Whetstone, North London

Retreat in woodland garden Whetstonr

Retreat in woodland garden, Whetstone

Mature ash, sycamore, oak and holly make a natural setting for this woodland garden. The dappled shade suits many shrubs, bulbs and herbaceous plants. Whether in the heat of summer or darkest winter, the woodland garden provides a lovely family retreat in Whetstone, North London.




Walk in the Woodland Garden – Whetstone

Path to Woodland Garden in Whetstone

Curved path to woodland garden

The woodland garden is on a fairly steep slope with a bank to one side.  An informal curved  path meanders around the garden.  The path broadens to include areas to sit.  We used small Atlantic pebbles for the path surface.  The curved shape is retained with powder coated metal edging.



Shady Meadow

Dappled shade and meadow plants in woodland garden Whetstone

Dappled shade and meadow plants

We used wildflower meadow turf to make the woodland glade. The selection of meadow plants suits dappled shade and includes Meadow Cranesbill, Ragged Robin, Primrose and Ox-eye daisy. Flower interest over a long period includes early violets, the soft yellow of Lady’s Bedstraw and and the vibrant pink of red campion. It is very easy to maintain with a mow once or twice per year.



Trees in the Woodland Garden

Sleeper steps in the woodland walk Whetstone

Sleeper steps in the woodland walk

Magnificent oak, ash and sycamore provide the framework for this woodland garden. We added brightly coloured willows in the wetter and sunnier areas. Silver birches are included in the dry sunny areas and specimen Magnolia and Amelanchier trees add flower interest.




Shade Plants

The areas in deepest shade have ferns: Dryopteris affinis, Blechnum spicant and Polystichum polyblepharum.  In between are pink foxgloves and purple Mourning Widow. Pink Snowberry and evergreen viburnums give shrubby structure. The dry bank is planted with violets, Sweet Woodruff, Epimedium and Pachysandra.  Other carpeting shrubs weave between tree roots.

Damp Sunny Bank in Woodland Garden

Bog garden at edge of woodland garden Whetstone

Yellow globe flowers and Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ on damp sunny bank

This damp bank is the sunniest part of the garden. Bog plants with bright flowers thrive here. These include Ligularia dentata ‘Desdemona’ which has fabulous heart shaped leaves.  Yellow globe flowers, white valerian and rose-coloured iris appear in summer. Different grasses provide structure . Late flowering anemones, Purple Loosestrife and Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ continue a long season of interest.



The beauty of ferns

Plants for shade and damp

These ferns make excellent low maintenance plants.

Matteuccia struthiopteris

Emerging Ostrich FernsThe beauty of ferns such as these deciduous ferns Matteuccia struthiopteris is evident from late April, when they emerge to unfurl their bright green fronds. By June they look magnificent. Struthiopteris means ‘like an ostrich wing’ and the common name is the Ostrich or the Shuttlecock fern. They like shade and damp and here blue Iris siberica is a wonderful companion.

They spread to make an attractive colony but can be easily kept in check by removing surplus crowns. Both plants have a strong architectural presence and work well in this shady North London garden.

Bright green ostrich ferns

Red Geums provide a cheerful  contrast and the early yellow  day lilies can be see alongside the ferns.  All these plants enjoy our wet weather but appreciate the sun from time to time.

This border is very low maintenance.  The ferns die back in autumn and can be left brown over winter and tidied up as the new fronds appear. Seedheads on the Iris siberica can be left also.

The green strappy leaves of the day lillies, as well as having a good presence, die away and their stems can be left or cut back.