Ferns in Fall

Ferns in Fall

As the weather cools and plant processes begin to slow  down, many of us resign ourselves to the “wait until next year” philosophy to beautify those problem areas. I for one, am quite guilty of that.  Lately however, with all the rain we have had, I have enjoyed walks in the dampness through our shaded woodlands.  The Fall light, especially in late afternoon, is something I look forward to. The dappled  sunlight coming through windows in the falling leaves makes everything look wonderful in a sort of messy way.

Now, rather than being saddened by the season coming to a halt, I have begun to appreciate the denizens of the understory: our groundcovers. Over the past few years Sleepy Cat Farm has planted large stretches of shaded woodland with beautiful ferns. I have counted nine different ferns in my head and there are likely more on our grounds. The ferns provide wonderful beds for trees, ephemerals, bulbs and of course, our wonderful boulders everywhere.

So many of us who garden in this area do so in shade, while fighting deer issues and dry conditions. There are ferns for all these situations and one needs to know where to find the correct information about them. 

We would like to make 2019 the year of the Fern (along with just a few of its companions — wildflowers, shade tolerant perennials and mosses) to assist in beautifying the shady areas of your yards. Here are a few varieties, photos courtesy of Barry Click from Sunshine Farm and Gardens.

Follow our Instagram page (@sleepycatfarm) for information about upcoming classes with our partners, The Greenwich Land Trust and Sam Bridge Nursery. As a primer, I will begin reviewing what I feel are the best books on the subject, as well as profiles of individual plants here at the farm.