Monday, July 26, 2010


I love what ferns add to the garden--lacy texture, rich color, elegant form, and an airiness to the garden bed.   They are grown for their beautiful foliage.  They are easy and not demanding as plants, as long as they get proper moisture and  shade.  They are especially nice against a foundation or wall, so the fronds of the plants are against it.  They can even provide a nice ground cover.  They rise up from "fiddleheads" from a rhizome or rootstock, then unfurl to show off many tiny leaflets as their leaves.  They can be planted in drifts, back of borders, or naturalized for a woodland look.  They are natural companions to perennials that like shade as well, such as bleeding heart, hosta, bergenia, hellebores, lungworts and wild flowers, such as Virginia Bluebells. The Japanese Painted Fern has leaves marked with silver or gray, and maroon-purple midribs.   There are many varieties to choose from.  My favorites are the Ostrich Fern or Maiden Fern, along with the Japanese Painted Fern.  They can reach up to 2-4  feet in height, and do best when in shade and moist soil.    To contain their spread, dig up new plants every year by their roots and replant where you want them.   Once established, new ferns don't need much care, and I haven't seen any damage from pests.  At the end of the season you can either leave the fronds in place, or cut down.  I like to use the fronds in floral arrangements as a backdrop for the flowers.  (Just make sure you remove the foliage so none goes into the vase water).   I love working with them, and because they multiply readily, a few plants end up being several in just a year or two.  They are truly the plant to have in your shade garden!
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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