My glorious fern patch usually dies down over winter and I leave the dead and dying foliage lying on the main plant base and surrounding earth to act as frost protection and ground cover. This one has at last begun to die back...
This seems to have worked well for years, then once any risk of further frosts seems unlikely I carefully tidy up the whole area removing the whole (usually sodden) mass and am delighted by how quickly the little coils of new shoots spring up to greet the Spring.
This year, however, I am in a bit of a quandary. After such a relatively mild, wet winter another of my ferns has come through virtually unscathed in fact seems to have loved the experience.
these three photos are all of the same plant...
The quandary is:
- Should I just leave it untouched this year?
- Should I just wait until it does die down (ie also will it die down but just later?) and then hope new growth will replace the old?
- Should I cut off all last year's leaves (even if they still look healthy around the same time of year that they would normally have been a sodden mess)?
I can't remember ever having to worry about this before.