A friend of mine who lives in the Midwest mentioned a garden seminar on ferns. It reminded me of how I used to think they were exotic, when I also lived in the Midwest. Now that I’m in New England, I find that they can also be invasive. I inherited a few varieties from previous owners so I don’t know what they are. If anyone can identify them from the pictures, I’d love to hear about it.
Parts of the wooded area behind my house had been cleared and when I first moved in, it was filled with plants of a particular fern. I thought they were pretty, especially when they turned gold in the fall. And then one very dry year they turned gold July and quickly went to brown for the rest of the season. And they don’t hold their own; over time, the poison ivy, small trees and brush (my nemesis, wild berry bushes) filled in. They also tried to fill flower beds, with too much success, and I found that the only way to weed them is to dig out all of the roots or they will persistently come back over and over again. The picture above is taken about a month after I had the area cleared, otherwise they would be brown this time of year.
But not all ferns are equal. There is a clump at the end of the driveway that seems to know its place. And it comes on late enough in the spring to share its space with bleeding heart. It looks nice against the rocks that line the end of the drive and doesn’t mind the way that water stands there in wet years; I’ve backed it with elderberry plants that don’t mind the wet conditionss, either.
Another fern, probably a cinnamon fern, see the distinctive characteristics in the close-up left, takes over a difficult spot. Not only is that a corner of the house where water runoff is an issue, I also pull the mean old hose through the space between it and the evergreen foundation plantings to water plants in the front of the house; injuring fronds but never completely discouraging the plant. It’s tall and adds texture to the combination of hydrangea Incrediball and a grass (a miscanthus?) that I planted years ago.
I’ve added a bonus shot with fall colors. When I took the shot I was thinking that I didn’t remember this display other years. A day or two later, I thought I might try to get a better shot, without the brown leaves, and it was all very brown. The bright yellow display must be very short lived. But nice.