are such individualists. You'd think that planting different varieties from the same family all together in a group would make for a rather dull, if intense, planting. But no — each manages a distinctive look, and I for one would be hard pressed to tell you which was my favorite! No wonder the great Victorian gardener Gertrude Jekyll dreamed of a rock garden devoted entirely to Ferns, a "restful delight of cool and beautiful foliage."
Even if your garden space is limited, find a place in the shade for Ferns. They ask for very little care, and repay you with ease of growth and breathtaking beauty. Most are easily divided after two or three years in your garden, increasing your garden beauty without costing you a dime. Best of all, they add texture like no other perennial — graceful and airy, despite their hardiness and willingness to grow.
In this article, I describe the very best Ferns for your garden this spring. And if you're looking for a particular variety to plant in mass or to dot among your shade landscape, I've got some fine recommendations. Remember, all of these Hardy Ferns
are guaranteed to succeed in your garden, and if you divide them regularly, they'll "live forever"! Enjoy the ease and beauty of Hardy Ferns
in every shady spot.
Among the most popular and widely-grown in American gardens, Hardy Ferns
have come by their reputation honestly. An easier, more dependable, and lovelier Fern would be hard to imagine. The native North American species (A. felix-femina) is an absolute must for beginning gardeners, nearly growing itself. And the Asian species (A. nipponicum) contains the magnificent Painted Fern family, with some of the most beautiful frond colors in the world. The two species complement each other nicely, thriving in very moist to wet soil (waterside plantings are stunning!) and normal to alkaline soil.
In the wild, Ferns thrive in the dappled shade of the woodland, finding their feet in rotted leaves and other rich soil ingredients. Very few (Brilliant Fern is one exception) can tolerate dry soils, and all prefer a good pampering their first two years — lots of water and humus!
Work the soil well and deep before you plant your Fern, raising the bed at least 3 inches above the soil level. If you have heavy soil, lighten it with rotted leaves or coarse bark.
Ferns need both moisture and excellent drainage, which can be a balancing act — a good, rich mulch works wonders. If rot is a problem, make the mulch gravel or other coarse, well-draining material.
Plant your Fern very shallowly, with the crown flush with the surrounding soil.
Keep garden debris away from the base of your Ferns if you can. Rot can be a problem when the crown of the fern sits in stagnant water — though some, such as the Tatting Fern, will happily rest in an inch or so of water on the bank of a stream or pond. If you see signs of Rot, apply a fungicide and chances are your Fern will shake it off!
If possible, water the roots and not the fronds.
If your Fern is evergreen, you might want to thin the old fronds in spring as the new ones appear. At the same time, apply a new layer of mulch for the new growing year.
Every 2 or 3 years, you can dig up and divide your Fern into several new plants to share with admiring friends or to increase your own garden's beauty!
Hosta Shade Lily, Plantain Lily Planting:
Set plants 15 to 30 inches apart, depending on the ultimate size of the cultivar
or species. (Set very dwarf kinds 9 to 12 inches apart.) Hostas are among the best of plants for
shaded situations, but some also succeed in full sun, as they become larger and more mature.
The hotter the summers, the more shade will be necessary to prevent scorching the foliage.
A high shade canopy providing dappled light is ideal.
Those with blue foliage are outstanding in the
shade, while the yellow/gold types will effectively light up dark areas, but prosper, too, in considerable
sun. Individual cultivars of green-gold or variegated patterns vary appreciably in the amount of sun they
can tolerate. While widely tolerant of soils, hostas do best in a well-drained soil that still affords ample
moisture – the sunnier the location, the moister the soil should be. Incorporate generous amounts of
humus in the soil, particularly those on the limy or alkaline side.
A winter mulch is
extremely important the first winter, to prevent heaving of unestablished plants as a result of alternating
freezes and thaws. Once established, hostas can be left undisturbed for many years, but as landscaping
needs dictate, can be moved at almost any time during the year, except midsummer.
A Tradition of Distinction
Since its founding in 1920, Wayside Gardens has brought the rarest and highest-quality plants to the garden market. Wayside was founded in 1920 by two acclaimed growers who came together to pursue their shared vision of marketing all high-end plants for the serious garden enthusiast. Originally located in Mentor, Ohio, Wayside Gardens swiftly grew a reputation for the highest-quality plants and the most sophisticated clientele. In 1975, Wayside was purchased by the Park Seed Company, and moved to Hodges, SC. The company has flourished since then, growing to become an undisputed leader in rare and unique plant growing.
Wayside's horticulturists travel the world in search of new and unusual plant cultivars and proudly offer the garden industry’s most sophisticated selection of high quality and rare perennial plants, bulbs, trees, shrubs, roses, vines, and indoor plants. Beginning with ties to the Dutch family bulb business in Holland, our horticulturists have developed close relationships with perennial and bulb growers throughout the United States and Europe, providing access to many rare and unique garden treasures. Throughout our history we have had the pleasure of introducing numerous exotic foreign and domestic plant cultivars to the American garden market. The Wayside collection of new and exclusive plant products is so preeminent that the catalog has long been lauded in the industry and is even used as a reference work in horticultural schools.
Impeccable Quality and Value – We Guarantee It!
At Wayside Gardens, “pedigreed plants” and “root strength” have always been watchwords. The Wayside Gardens impeccable plant quality begins with selecting only the finest new product offerings with improved plant features and numerous advantages for our gardening customers. These improved plant selections are then grown to our exacting quality standards by garden industry professionals. This produces superior plants with well developed root systems and healthy, vigorous plant growth habits. That is why we proudly guarantee all Wayside Gardens' products to perform as advertised, being of superior quality, true to type, and shipped properly.
Larger Containers & Well Established Root Systems
We use larger containers and grow bigger plants than other nurseries, leading to greater root strength. Where appropriate, Wayside Gardens propagates our plants vegetatively rather than from seed, to ensure the plants possess the correct form and are true to variety, like a true double form, as opposed to the single or semi-double forms that may result from seed propagation. Because we employ only the finest and most technologically advanced plant growing methods, you can be confident in receiving healthy plants ready to burst forth in glorious growth in your garden.
- Unique, well-established and vigorous growing plants offer greater value for your money than other nurseries.
- Dedicated to providing detailed plant care instruction and informative plant information to make your product selection and planting truly enjoyable.
- Trained horticulturists are on-call to offer you any help or advice you need on how to care for your plants.
- All Wayside plants are carefully packaged to ensure a safe arrival.
- Your plants will be shipped to you at the proper time for planting.
- Honored to be your first choice in horticulture.
- If your item has received our recommended care and still doesn't perform to your satisfaction, we will replace it free of charge or credit you the item’s cost.
- Wayside Gardens is committed to helping you make your gardening an exquisite experience.