I’ve been twice frustrated by losses of sweet ferns (Comptonia peregrina, below) in the garden. The reasons are uncertain, though I suspect positioning in too much sun and unsurprisingly, too little moisture.
I first became curious about sweet fern seeing several shrubs at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Sweet shrub is notable mostly because it is a shrub that appears to be a fern, which might seem less than compelling, but I had to have one. These were in partial sunlight or brighter, but it is fair to presume there is irrigation to compensate for the sunny exposure. Many plants can be stretched with regular irrigation, but that is not a possibility in this garden.
After a second failure I was resigned not to consider a third try, but today, after seeing several natives along a mountain trail, I’m ready for another. Of course, along the trail the sweet ferns in bright shade get no more irrigation than my garden at lower elevation, but only an hour away. My mistake, I think, was that more shade is required. I must restrain myself not to order until cooler temperatures in September.
I must also plant Turk’s Cap lilies (Lilium superbum, above), I think again, though I don’t recollect actually planting them. I suspect a prior purchase was obtained from a less than stellar source, but in any case, after seeing several in open woodlands I am more confident in locating them.
Certainly, there are other lilies superbly suited to the summer garden, but I am curious to duplicate the best of local native flora when possible.