Hundreds of millions of years old, ferns are among the most ancient of our flora. The fact that ferns don’t flower is more than made up for by their highly decorative fronds or leaves. Many ferns originated in woodland or densely forested areas where little sunlight could penetrate. Their resulting shade-loving characteristics make ferns one of the best plants to brighten up those shady or north facing areas of the garden where something green but nonetheless ornamental is required.
Asplenium Scolopendrium Angustatum (Hart’s Tongue Fern) is a hardy evergreen fern with beautiful lime green leaves. It thrives in dappled shade. Hart’s Tongue Fern will eventually reach a maximum height and spread of 1 metre.
Dryopteris Wallichiana (Mr Wallichs Fern) a handsome fern with lime green fronds and black stems.
Many ferns have received the Award of Garden Merit from the RHS (AGM) – this is a good indication that these plants will perform well in our UK gardens. AGM approved Athyrium Niponicum Var Pictum (Japanese Painted Fern) is particularly ornamental with its silver fronds. It will thrive in moist shade.
Another AGM recipient is Cyrtomium Falcatum or the Japanese Holly Fern.
The AGM Japanese Tassel Fern Polystichum Polyblepharum, native to Japan, is quite architectural and will thrive in moist shade.
Native to the UK is Matteuccia Struthiopteris or the Shuttlecock Fern – another recipient of the AGM.