The Fernery Choosing the Best Ferns for your Garden
If you are a gardening enthusiast, there is a chance that a portion of your garden is going to be reserved exclusively for the growth of ferns. In many gardens, especially in places where ferns do not grow naturally, thanks to the inclement weather ferns are grown in hot houses, or in a fernery.
This is because this plant family is beautiful and numerous enough to deserve such a personalized structure for the display and growth of such attractive plants. The design may be varied as far as the shape, height and size are concerned, depending on the area available to you. This book is going to give you more information on how you can introduce ferns into your garden. After selecting the best choice, depending on your locality, you can grow them successfully, thus adding to the attraction quotient of your garden.
Ferns love moisture, and that is why they are so common in rainforests, where the microclimate is wet, humid and moist throughout the year. In their natural state, they are always going to be found in grottoes, near springs of water, and in shaded situations. So if you want to grow this lovely class of plants successfully in your own particular garden you need to duplicate these conditions artificially and as nearly as possible.
So that means when you are making your fernery, you need to have two – three reservoirs of water near at hand. And if you want to add some more pleasing additions to that place, you can also place in an artificial fountain. This is going to add to the ambience. Also, the evaporating water from the fountain is going to keep the atmosphere of the fernery moist and humid during a very dry and hot season.
Also, any sort of reservoir of water in a plant house, be it a fernery, or a hot House, is desirable because it is going to be a very convenient source of water for the plants.
Laying out a Fernery
Ferns can be grown very easily with other plants, which prefer the same microclimate and moisture content in the atmosphere.
The design of your fernery is going to depend on your own preference in design. It may be laid out in ornamental beds in the first instance itself. You can then raise the beds with some rock work, to your desired height which can be anywhere between 1 to 4 feet.
Remember to leave pockets and spaces for the plants to be planted in the reservoirs of water can be similarly surrounded by pavements of rock, or just rock work which is going to make that area look very attractive and beautiful.
The wall running around the house can also have rock work sloping down from the top at an angle of one in four. You can plant a number of fern plants here, which have a low straggling growth. The spaces in between can be filled in with Selaginellas popularly known as Spike Moss. In such a case, the overall effect is going to be very striking and attractive.
Materials for Rock Work
Apart from rocks, which you then select from the sides of the river bed, or even from mountain and hilly areas with the erosion of time have made them round and smooth you can use other ingredients and materials for your rock work. This is of course for the design part.
The next best material for rock work, if you do not have the real stuff easily accessible is the concrete which you are going to get from the roofs of old houses, which have been knocked down. These are obtained in any size and not only do they have a very fine effect, but they are also going to furnish your ferns are very important element of food – carbonate lime.
So if you find some rubble near some construction areas in your locality, and they have been knocking down the concrete and cement plaster roof, collect a sack full or more of this rubble. This is going to enhance the looks of your fernery while keeping your ferns healthy.
Naturally, you are going to need some soil, and nothing beyond well decayed leaf mold mixed with a little bit of river sand should be used in your fernery.
Rich leaf mold, essentially, which has been made out of compost from your previous year’s autumn leaves is the most excellent natural fertilizer available to you. You can also get this mold, if you are living in a woody – Forest area.
All you have to do is go under the nearest huge and old tree and start digging the ground near it. All the leaves, which have been shed, every year and fallen down at the roots are going to have decomposed, giving you Rich leaf mold and compost.
I remember going for a hike in the jungles with my family, and the moment I got into the woods, I just dug into my backpack to bring out the handy lightweight shovel to fill up some bags full of compost! Once a gardener always a gardener, and just looking for opportunities to get natural resources wherever and whenever and totally free…
Naturally, all of them were very indignant because they were not going to be traveling back all the way home later on in the day with who knows what creepy- crawlers present in the compost and also, cleaning the inside-of-a-car -of-leaf-mold charges after one of our hikes turned out to be so expensive!
So make sure that when you try out this stunt, the rest of the family also happens to be full of gardening enthusiasts who do not mind millipedes, and other insect life in their vicinity, brought in from the woods.
After the ferns have taken root, you are not going to need any sort of soil. That is because they are quite capable of attaching themselves firmly to any sort of surface, including the concrete and they are going to get all the nourishment they need from there.
Tree ferns are plentiful in hilly areas, and all you have to do is go there and collect them. In many parts of the world, ferns are used for indoor ornamental plants grown in pots and containers indoors.
The soil which is most favorable and commonly used to grow ferns are fine sand, leaf mold and peat.
Proper drainage is necessary both in your garden beds and in a pot. If you’re using the pots as a container, remember to place some crocks and pebbles at the bottom of the pot. Ferns may like moisture but they definitely do not like waterlogged soil.
When we were kids, our science teacher used to take us on botany rambles in the jungles every Saturday. Apart from inculcating in as a deep and abiding love for botany, plantlike, animal life, and helping us get rid of fear of insects and creepy crawlies, he always asked us to collect lots of ferns and Moss – we never called them ferns and Moss, we call them Pteridophytes and bryophytes; very proud to say these long names – to take back to plant in our own gardens.
Best Choice of Ferns
Club mosses – Lycopodiums
Ferns are Pteridophytes. Mosses are Bryophytes. Nevertheless, some of the mosses are a genus of plants having great delicacy and beauty, even though they have the aspect of ferns. There are other plans which have a form like a club. You can find them either in erect form or in drooping form.
They are best cultivated in a land where you are going to get plenty of water. If the atmosphere is deficient in humidity, you may not be able to cultivate them successfully.
However if you are living in an area with plenty of shade and plenty of atmospheric humidity and moisture, club mosses are going to flourish in your garden.
If your area is subject to frost, you may need a glasshouse.
The method of cultivation of club mosses is to plant them in a soil which is composed of a little bit of leaf mold and river sand and mix the soil with charcoal and some coconut fiber, pieces of old bricks and mortar broken up to the size of plums.
I have seen very attractive baskets made of galvanized wire or wood and filled with the above mixture and having just the plant or two of club mosses suspended from the roof of glass houses and conservatories. They are also going to do extremely well in shaded rockeries.
Naturally the most ideal condition for the successful growth is going to be humidity without which they are not going to develop to the perfection stage you intended.
Propagation of Lycopodiums
These lycopods propagate very easily with the help of suckers which they throw up plentifully. These may be gathered and planted separately in new baskets or containers. But the best thing about these plants is that once you have them in your garden, they are going to be self-sown, thanks to the reproduction through spores, which they are going to broadcast far and wide as time goes by.
The real ferns are a very extensive class of plants, all more or less remarkable for their grace and beauty. As they are flowerless plants, they come under what are known as cryptogams. Many people are under the impression that ferns are very difficult to cultivate, and that is the reason why so many people do not include them, either in the garden or as ornamental plants for the decoration of your balcony or indoors.
Funds are as easy to cultivate as any other order’s plants and they only require the conditions in which they are found growing in nature. Like I said before anybody who goes hunting in the hills to collect ferns cannot have failed to notice that these attractive plants are invariably found growing in shady places, overhanging a piece of water, a running brook or any other place where the soil is made up of very light mold formed of decaying moss and leaves.
Also, these are going to be present in large quantities anywhere where you can find limestone rock. So if the area is full of leaf mold and peat, you are going to find ferns there.
Also, you may notice that ferns grow abundantly in the crevices on brick walls and when these are pulled up by the roots, you are going to see pieces of lime and mortar adhering to the roots. That is why if you mix lots of mortar in the soil in which you are going to plant once, the roots are going to adhere to them, from which they are going to get their nourishment and the plants are going to present a most healthy appearance.
So that means the best soil which you are going to make for growing your ferns is going to have two parts of concrete and old mortar broken up into pieces the size of chestnuts, one part coarse silver / River sand, and one part of the most decayed leaf mold that you can find. Remember that there are plenty of market garden and nursery men out there who are going to persuade you to buy some expensive fertilizers which are going to make your ferns flourish. Don’t get tempted by their persuasive marketing strategies!
Thorough drainage is necessary in fern culture. If you neglect this, you are undoing everything that you have done in all other respects. Though these plants love plenty of moisture, they are not going to like any sort of area which is full of water lying about at their roots and stagnating there. This renders the soil sour and unwholesome.
If you are growing the ferns in containers and pots, you should fill them up with pieces of old mortar, bricks, small pieces of stone, or clinker and cement – broken up in pieces – with a layer of dry moss. After that, you can put the soil in and then plant your fern.
Remember that frequent syringing of the plants in hot months or plentiful watering overhead with a watering can with a very fine rose is necessary to keep them in good health and in fine fettle.
This book has given you plenty of information about ferns, and how you can increase the beauty of your garden, and add distinction to it, by planting these attractive plants anywhere in your garden
If you think the weather is too cold in your particular area, where you want to grow these ferns, you can make a hothouse or a Glasshouse. Especially the maidenhair ferns which like a humid climate, but they like a little bit of warmth, more. On the other hand, there are plenty of sweetly scented tree ferns and gymnogramma, which may possibly not grow in a very cold climate, unless you grow them in a hothouse.
There are plenty of places where you can get glass frames at a really reasonable rate. These are available in all sizes and designs. Even ordinary glass frames, which are placed in a warm and pleasant spot – Southerly aspect – with a hotbed for placing the pots can be considered to be an excellent choice for growing these ferns.
Ferns are such a very extensive family that I have managed to touch upon just a few of them, for your garden. Nevertheless, you may want to go online to look for indigenous ferns available in your particular locality. The way to grow them has been shown here, through spore dispersal or through division of the plants and rhizomes.
Apart from their general adaptability, elegance, and suitability for ornamental purposes, ferns are also quite sturdy. After all, they have been in existence ever since the world began, and managed to adapt themselves in an atmosphere where the weather was muggy, humid and full of moisture.
Luckily we still have plenty of areas in the world today where the weather conditions are still prehistoric and free from pollution and global warming. So as long as the rainforests of Asia, South America, Borneo, Sumatra, Java and other parts of the world flourish, the ferns are going to persevere.
So like the Ferns, Live Long and Prosper.