Field of Science

Fiddlehead crown

Our gardens can generally be classified as shady, so TPP has been working at increasing our fern diversity while keeping the ostrich ferns and sensitive ferns in check. Winter hardiness is not so much a problem as is the hot, dry summers of the upper midwest and the clay content of our soils. In addition to the usual garden ferns, a couple of more unusual ferns have managed to hang on even if not particularly flourishing.  Here's a Hart's Tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendium) sending up it's spring fiddleheads. As you can readily see, the fronds are long, un-divided, straps, and often persist through the winter.  Given the rather tricky conditions needed for its culture, it's a bit of a surprise that this fern has survived under a Japanese maple although it has remained a fairly small plant and is kept caged to prevent it from becoming bunny candy and much smaller. Since it is native in Michigan and New York, it's no surprise it doesn't like our summers. Our local fern growing guru says it's doing well. His fern and moss garden/collection is impressive, but requires watering and quite a bit of care.  And he's just offered us some new plants. Nice!

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