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Add some character to your Perennial Garden
A Fern Lover's Story
Ferns—unusual, mysterious, majestic,
primitive. These unique plants that
carpet the shady woodlands have
been on earth, in some form, for
nearly 400 million years. But does their wild
beauty transpose well into the home garden?
Chicago Illinois, Hyde Park resident and fern-enthusiast Steven
Loevy thinks so. Loevy grows more than 25
different ferns in his shade-rich yard.
“My fern collection started because I bought this house
in 1984, and we had a silver maple in the yard, and a syca-
more next door that leafs out in late June. By the 4th of July
there is absolutely no sunlight. I realized that you take the
light you’ve got, and you go to work with it,” says Loevy.
For Loevy’s shady yard, ferns were a perfect fit. Anyone
with an outdoor space that has full or partial shade will find
a unique garden muse in the majestic fern. And as Loevy’s
yard clearly indicates, there is a wide variety of fern species
There is the delicate, graceful maidenhair fern
(Adiantum pedatum) with its black lacquered stems and
horizontal fronds, the cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinna
momea) with its erect stalk of honey-brown spores in spring,
the lush and primitive sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis), and
the royal fern (Osmunda regalis) with its rich wine-colored
fiddleheads and impressive posture.
In all, there are about 1,200 different species of ferns
in the world (and they can be found nearly everywhere
on the planet). But only 15% of these grow in temperate
Read the rest of the story in our Articles section.
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