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Fond of Fronds

A thread for all fern aficionados to relive Pteridomania and find Jurassic sights, unfurling curves,  verdant green and perhaps some frizzy hair dos. At least a place with this initial post, but the more the merrier. I would love to see more pictures of ferns and descriptions of how they grow.

My garden is on chalky clay, so on the alkaline side. That means Polypodium, Polystichum, Dryopteris, and Asplenium are the main genera in it, with additionally Cyrtomium, Blechnum, Athyrium and Adiantum. Below I describe a few, but I realise that some favourites are missing, Dryopteris wallichiana, D. atrata and D. kuratae. Most of them are still tiny, and wallichiana actually looked this year as if it might have some form of chlorosis (hence omitted here).

Above mostly polystichum setiferum. A young Fatsia japonica will hopefully flesh out, form an understory, and provide contrasting foliage. This border is further underneath a young evergreen Spanish Oak that has the crown lifted a bit to free up the understorey. The white  blossoms scattered across are from a Choisya ternata. The oak may lead to a lack of moisture in the future, but the shade is useful, the border heavily mulched, and established ferns can cope quite well with dry conditions. With the ferns, Choisya, Fatsia, Oak and an interloping Camellia this border is heavily evergreen and a winter favourite. The tree stump is a Lilac that I could not make work.

A recent addition is this Dryopteris Sieboldii. It is probably too close to the other ferns, but most of what I do in the garden is doing and undoing so hey ho.

The same border with Heart's Tongue ferns, Choisya foliage and the Camellia.

An old picture of three Polystichum braunii with in the foreground Vancouveria hexandra, a lovely low spreader. These have grown a lot since.

Cyrtomium falcatum, a wonderful fern, with Asarum Europaeum below it and a few stems of Tricyrtis formosana to the right. I hope the latter will pull through.

A recent picture of a what is a bit of a folly, a dry stone wall that has a mound and valley on one side. The ferns are Polystichum tsus-simense and one Asplenium trichomanes hanging on for dear life. The brown mass is Persicaria vaccinifolia (it looks nice the rest of the year, but I'm not sure how much it wants to rule the world). On top of the stones is a less visible mass of arrived-of-its-own-accord-ivy-leaved toadflax (Cymbalaria muralis) that is now swamping some other A. trichomanes. As I like the toadflax, I leave it be, and am trying my luck with trichomanes elsewhere.



  • WibbleWibble Posts: 89
    Lovely pics! I got started on ferns this year, as a solution to a very dark, damp bit of my garden. Some I bought (will have to go and look out the names), and a good few I replanted from the natural fern breeding ground round the back of the heating oil tank. No idea what species those are.

    ’Doing and undoing’ is definitely a good descriptor of my gardening style too!
  • BigladBiglad Posts: 2,893
    I suspect that all of us are doers and undoers at some point :) 
    East Lancs
  • Lovely photos. I only have one from much earlier in the year, a dryopteris unfurling ...

  • I bought a stunning Coniogramme emeiensis (Bamboo fern) a few months back. Currently in the cold frame until I decide where to plant it. Being a recent UK introduction its hardiness is a yet unproven. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • tui34tui34 Posts: 2,859
    Lovely @B3  Mine looks as if it has been combed with a firecracker!!   :p
    A good hoeing is worth two waterings.

  • RubytooRubytoo Posts: 1,323
    Is it possible @micearguers your Dryopteris wallichiana is a variety that is pale coloured?
    There is one that sounds like it is pale in colour called Jurassic Gold.
    Sorry if I misread your post and you think yours maybe cultivation problems.
    But if you find it is okay then check out others .
    For example we have Athyrium niponicum, the Japanese painted fern, the old basic original coloured one.
    But these days I know you can get variations of pink and silvery colours in the leaves.

    Great idea for a thread. And some lovely photos already by everyone.

    I am trying to get to grips with Asplenium trichomanes , having failed in the past  a new one is being...placed in the sacrificial altar of our garden.
  • Definitely worth trying to find Dryopteris of my favourites.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • Fabulous photos @Silver surfer .
    We also love ferns and have had them for many decades in our garden. They thrive in all areas, shade, damp, sunny, clay soil. We have many of the ones mentioned and are well worth having in any garden.
    This Dickonsia antartica is planted in a bamboo area of the gardena and decided to grow a bifurcated frond.
    This Dickonsia antartica was bought this year to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. It has since grown 6 new fronds and looks magnificent.
    The croziers of the developing fronds of all ferns are amazing.
    We have in a boggy area Matteucia struthiopteris that was given to us by a B&B owner on the Isle of Wight when we stayed. It has done so well that it has spread into our neighbours garden mush to their delight. (sorry no photo).
    Another different one has been growing in full sun...Blechnum chilense. Had to split it as it was taking over the area. (sorry no photo).
    Great to see so many people appreciating ferns.

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