After two ferns died in the shade of an evergreen oak, we are replacing them with currants. The coast live oak (quercus agrifola) doesn’t like summer water and creates deep shade all year, a difficult site for nearby plants. Last winter we pruned a nearby currant and used the cuttings to start replacing the ferns.
Shown above, the two new currants (ribes sanguineum glutinosum ‘White Icicle’) are to the left of the surviving giant chain fern (woodwardia fimbriata), and they’re all within the drip line of the coast live oak in the background. The evergreen oak provides shade all year, and the currants and fern are on the north side of a solid fence, where they get little direct sun. This spot has deep shade and restricted water (to protect the oak tree from oak root fungus). We live in the San Francisco Bay Area; the fern and oak are California natives.
Planted twelve years ago, our California native plant garden is fairly mature where we’re only making incremental changes. The first part of this post shows our decision process to replace the ferns: problem statement, issues, alternatives considered, the selected alternative, and progress in implementing the alternative. Second, we chose to replace the ferns using cuttings from a currant, so the post concludes with a description of hardwood propagation and progress after five months.