If you want suggestions of ferns to use as ground cover in shady spots, where you are probably already growing some, Mobee Weinstein has a list for you. But many of her ideas about making room for ferns in your life are less expected — and even the ground-covering types she recommends may be unfamiliar.
How about an eight-inch-tall carpet of native oak fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris), through which precious spring woodland wildflowers like trillium, Jack-in-the-pulpit or violets would be happy to pop?
Or you could try combining a trio of un-fernlike ferns in an impromptu seasonal water garden, assembled in a trough. Or call another assortment of distinctive varieties into duty, as an indoor-outdoor centerpiece to grace the terrace dining table (before coming indoors to overwinter among the houseplants)?
That’s just the start of a list of fern-based inspirations from Ms. Weinstein, the author of “The Complete Book of Ferns” and a longtime foreman of outdoor gardeners at New York Botanical Garden.
A Way to Garden, and a book of the same name.
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