The Hardy Ferns were at the peak of their popularity during the Victorian era. Planted extensively in the cooler shady parts of the garden and grown to perfection in conservatories. There has been a re-awakening of interest in ferns, because of their ease of cultivation and their suitability for growing in damp areas of the garden with low light intensity. Ferns are particularly attractive when planted in association with Hostas and Candelabra Primulas.

ADIANTUM venustrum (Maidenhair Fern). A hardy form of the popular Maidenhair Fern which is widely grown as a house plant. Delicate fronds of bright green foliage, particularly attractive when planted at the base of damp, shady walls. Prefers to be sheltered from winds. 9-1 2 ins.

ASPLENIUM scolopendrium (Hart’s Tongue Fern). Often seen naturalised in certain woodland situations. The broad, wavy-edged leaves are a particular feature of the plant, and are very useful for floral arranging. Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, but is happiest in a moist situation with some shade. 1-1 1/2 ft.

ATHYRIUM filix-femina (The Lady Fern). One of the attractive features of our woodlands, but

equally at home in the garden. Tall arching fronds of mid-green, particularly attractive

when unfurling in the spring. Will tolerate drier soil conditions. 21/2-3 ft.

nipponicum pictum (Japanese Painted Fern). Outstanding fern with green fronds edged

silvery-grey, contrasting well with the deep red stems. Prefers a sheltered situation. 2 ft.

DRYOPTERIS filix-mas (Male Fern). Very adaptable, and grows well in most situations. A common feature of our woodlands and looks particularly attractive when unfurling its fronds in early spring. 2-2 1/2 ft.

– ‘Crispa’. Smaller and more compact than the above. Very attractive. 1-1 V2 ft. – ‘Cristata’. The leaves along the fronds are heavily cristated. Unusual. 1-1 1/2 ft.

MATTEUCCIA struthiopteris (Ostrich Feather). In early spring the developing fronds arise

in circle formation and are reminiscent of ‘feather’ or a growing shuttlecock. At home in

woodland situations with some protection from winds. An outstanding fern. 2-3 ft.

OSMUNDA regalis (The Royal Fern). Perhaps the largest of our native ferns, the large

spreading fronds, when well suited, will grow up to 4 or 5 ft.

At home near water or in

moisture retentive soil which is lime free. 4-5 ft.

POLYPODUM vulgare (Common Polypody). Small fronds 6-1 2 ins in length growing from

furry foot-like divisions. Often seen growing wild in the West Country, usually in walls or

in damp rocky situations. 6-1 2 ins.

POLYSTICHUM setiferum (Soft Shield Fern). Another native fern, long lance-shaped fronds

of finely divided leaves. Very effective. 2-3 ft.

divisilobum. A particularly attractive form with very finely divided fronds. Prefers shady

situations. 1 1/2-2 ft.

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