life in fern land

One of my garden mentors, Chris Sann of Applied Climatology, talked me into trying something new a couple of years ago: evergreen ferns. Today, I really appreciated being talked into them.

Green and more structured, they add green in the woodland array of browns in the fall and winter.

Christmas Fern, Holly Fern, Autumn Fern, Tassel Fern,and Sword Ferns. I don’t have Deer Fern yet but would like to add it to my gardens.

And I also love winter garb of my Ostrich Ferns, which are not evergreen but pretty in the late fall and winter with their brown structural plumage.

Until I started shade gardening seriously I didn’t understand the variety you could find in ferns. But there are so many to try and I love what they add to my garden beds.

I find the more unusual ferns at more specialty nurseries, boutique growers (like Applied Climatology at the West Chester Growers Market), and via mail order growers like New Hampshire Hostas and Companion Plants and Crownsville Nursery. I have also bought lovely ferns from Yellow Springs Farm. As a matter of fact, Yellow Springs Farm is how I was introduced to Sensitive Fern, and that is a plant on my list again for next spring.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a nice article from a few years ago available on ferns.

Cold Climate Gardening also has an article on ferns from 2018.

Crownsville Nursery has a page on their website dedicated to fern resources.

The Washington Post ran an awesome article in October of this year on ferns and the National Arboretum. You see, the National Arboretum has a Fern Valley. Fern Valley exists because of a lady named Edith Bittinger. I have never been to The National Arboretum but it is on my bucket list!

I don’t pretend to be a fern expert. I am not. I am however, a fern appreciator. I like the way they wave in a beeeze, or the way raindrops roll off fronds. I love watching them unfurl from fiddleheads in the spring.

So many wrinkle their noses when you suggest adding ferns to the landscape. I wish they wouldn’t. They add so much to the garden.