Ferns have been a relatively recent discovery for me. In fact it was back in Spring 2006 that I first really appreciated just how beautiful the unfurling fronds can be reaching up from a woodland floor. I'd stumbled across the Filicarium, a small fernery, set in a spinney, tucked away next to a property we'd recently purchased.
Owned by Mr Dubois, who was sometimes referred to as the 'Perigordine fox' on account of his numerous, slightly unorthodox property deals, the Filicarium was something of a hobby for him until he flogged the land at about the same time we'd completed on the house close by.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, prior to the sale of the land, he let me take a few of the ferns and thus gave me a planting answer to some difficult areas that I 'd struggled with here at Le Banquet such as the bed in the photograph above which receives only a few hours of dappled sunlight from May onwards courtesy of the large Lime tree which comes into leaf and shades the ground below.
Already planted with Japanese Anemones, Anemone × hybrida , Lily of the Valley, Convallaria majalis , Periwinkle, Vinca minor plus a young Hydrangea paniculata (can't remember which one) It's the ferns that bring it to life as the croziers unfurl and bring their slighty exotic structure to the whole area.
I am really taken with the Holly fern, Cyrtomium fortunei with its large leathery fronds.
The crested fronds of the Dryopteris affinis 'Cristata'. I've just noticed the seedlings of the 'Touch me not', Impatiens balfourii in the bottom right hand corner, an enthusiastic self seeder which also grows well (too well) in this border.
I think this is the Male fern, D. filix-mas of which I've got quite a few together with the Golden male fern D. affinis. Some of them are quite large and I think their fronds may attain a metre or so by late summer this year.
Here's some placed in another 'difficult' corner . The wall is dotted with Asplenium trichomanes, the Maiden hair spleenwort which pops up everywhere.
Here's a closer look together with Kenilworth ivy, Cymbalaria Muralis.
Finally, above is the Maidenhair fern, Adiantum just starting to put on new growth. This is actually colonised around my small well which is fed via a source. Not exactly looking its best now, in a month or so it will be covered with fresh, delicate new growth. All you've got to do is stick your head in a well to see it!