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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Fern Garden

Fern gardens are becoming more are more common, as people are realizing the potential that these beautiful plants have. While many other kinds of plants do not vary much from species to species, the leaf structure, size, and shape of ferns can differ greatly, making an all-fern garden nice to look at indeed. Fern gardens are also rather easy to care for, and can grow in several different regions.

The first part to starting a fern garden is to consider the area that it would inhabit. Many species of fern cannot tolerate any frost or temperatures under fifty degrees, so living in a colder zone limits the selection of ferns to choose from. The Christmas fern will retain its green foliage throughout the winter in zones as cold as zone four. This makes the Christmas fern useful for gardens farther north.

One way to avoid limiting fern selection in colder regions is to transplant the ferns each fall into pots or hanging baskets and place them indoors for the winter months. When placed indoors, ferns are easy to care for and require little sunlight. In the garden, nearly all ferns prefer full to partial shade, and all require a fair amount of moisture to thrive. Placing a fern garden beneath a well-shading tree will assure the plants get little sunlight.

Another advantage to placing fern gardens underneath a shady tree is the addition of one of the most interesting ferns, the staghorn fern. The staghorn fern requires no soil to grow, and can be suspended by chain from a tree branch, to make a ball of foliage. These interesting ferns can be attached to hardwood boards and give the impression of a hanging basket, yet there is no basket to be found.


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