Hardy Ferns, Perennials Guide to Planting Flowers

Perennial Flower Information

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Hardy Ferns – Shield Fern, Hay-scented
or Gossamer Fern, Lady and Male Ferns, Royal Fern, Maidenhair
Fern, Cinnamon Fern, Walking Fern, Climbing Fern

Almost everybody has a spot
in the garden around the home which is so shady that
very few plants will grow there and consequently these
spots are bare eyesores. Have you ever taken a walk
through dense, cool green woods and admired the wealth
of ferns growing there so luxuriantly, and wished that
you could have them around your own home to lend their
quiet and cool atmosphere ~ Most of these ferns can
be grown easily if one is willing to give a little attention
to their care. The Maidenhair Fern (Adianlum
pedatum) is
perhaps one of the most delicate of
these hardy ferns. It grows from 12 inches to 18 inches
high and has long, curved fronds borne on long, slender,
black stems. When this fern is once well established,
it increases very rapidly. The Royal or Flowering Fern
(Osmunda regalis) is very stately, growing from
2 feet to 3 feet high. The fronds are large and pale
green in color. The Cinnamon Fern (Osmanda cinnamomea)
often grows 5 feet high. When its fronds unfold
they are covered with a rusty wool, but as they develop
they become perfectly smooth. The Hay-scented or Gossamer
Fern (Dicksonia punctilobula) grows in masses
18 inches high. It spreads very rapidly. The fronds
are large and much divided. The Lady Fern (Asplenium
Filix faemina)
and the Male Fern (Lastrea Filix-mas)
are two of the best ones for general gardening.

The Lady Fern grows from
2 feet to 3 feet tall and has finely cut foliage, while
the Male Fern is an evergreen sort growing about is
inches high.

The Walking Fern (Camplosorus
rhizophyllus) is
a low creeping fern. It grows in
little tufts with evergreen fronds which take root when
they touch the ground, forming other small plants. The
Climbing or Hartford Fern (Lygodium palmatum) is
another small, dainty fern. Its slender stalk will
grow from 1 foot to 4 feet high, with small, palmately
cut leaves. The Christmas Fern, Asplenium acrostichoides,
an evergreen sort and is more showy in Winter
than in Summer. It is especially at home in rocky places,
prefering moisture and shade. The Aspidiums, especially
A. marginale and A. spiaulosa, are attractive
ferns for moist places. A very common fern, the Common
Polypody, Polypodium vulgare, although not individually
beautiful, is seen to advantage upon the ledges of gorges
where it forms dense mats of foliage. There are a great
many different species of ferns and if they are carefully
studied, almost any corner in any garden can be supplied
with a touch of fern.

UTILIZE. Since most of these
ferns require a shady and moist situation, they can
be massed along shady. woodland paths, at the edges
of ponds or along the sides of streams. Many are good
for planting on the north side of houses and as edges
for borders. The small ones are almost invaluable for
the rock garden or near small artificial waterfalls.
In the ordinary garden very pretty effects are gained
by planting the early flowering bulbous plants among
them, because the fronds of the ferns begin to unfurl
very early in Spring. Collections of hardy ferns are
extremely interesting. Many of the sorts are good for
cutting during the Summer.

GENERAL. Very few of these
ferns will grow in sunny situations. Try to imitate
nature when planting them in your gardens. Shady or
semi-shady places ale best, planted underneath trees
and around tall shrubbery, where the plants Will be
more or less protected from the sun and hot, dry winds.
Good drainage is absolutely necessary and it is advisable
to raise the fern bed 3 inches or 4 inches in order
to insure this. Plenty of water should be supplied during
the dry Summer months. In preparing the soil, dig as
deeply as the roots of the trees will allow. If the
soil is clayey or poor, use plenty of decayed leaves,
peat, manure and other loose materials. The soil should
be very fine; light and porous. `’then planting the
small ferns in the rockery almost pure leafmold can
be used. None of the ferns should be set deeply in the
soil, most of them requiring about an inch of soil covering.
Those which grow from crowns should be set on the soil
so that the crown is not covered. Ample room should
be left between the plants because they spread so readily.
The Royal or Flowering Fern can be grown in 2 or 3 inches
of still water or in very moist places. The Cinnamon
Fern is usually found in mucky soils. The Gossamer Fern
is one of the best to grow along walks for it will grow
in either sun or shade. Ferns should be reset in the
Spring or during the Summer through August. This will
give plenty of time for a new set of fronds to come
while the roots are getting established. If they are
planted in the Fall they require a good mulching of
leaves. The fronds should be cut back when the plants
are moved.

PROPAGATION. The Ferns are
propagated by dividing the root stalks, which are the
underground stems from which the upright stems grow.


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