I once visited a terrarium designer in the downtown commercial district of Los Angeles. It was an airy loft space, where glass cases were stacked as high as the ceiling, pencil sketches covered the walls, and young orchids grew alongside bookmarked horticulture books. Reptiles and ferns rustled in a dark back room. Dust and debris floated through the large windows from the bustling open air market two floors below.
This is a companion piece to our Ancient Beauty article.
Water ferns only when the top of the soil is slightly dry. To maintain moisture, fill a saucer with pebbles, place the potted fern on the pebbles, and put a small amount of water in the saucer.
Ubiquitous yet often overlooked, indoor and outdoor ferns are botanical marvels
If you grow ferns indoors or live near some amazing ones outdoors, we may want to feature them in an upcoming story in Garden Design. Send your photos, including cell phone shots, to email@example.com.
Considering that ferns have been around for 400 million years, the most mysterious thing about them is why they remain so mysterious to many gardeners. Lacking flowers, seeds, and fruit, ferns are unjustly underappreciated, except as a backdrop in a vase of cut roses or as a hanging porch plant. Ferns are subtle, but subtlety has its own intrigue. We first notice them in the spring, when the coiled forms of the new growth, called croziers, or fiddleheads, emerge and quietly unfold into fronds.
Ferns have been around for millions of years. To become familiar with the cultural requirements of each one of these “primitive” nonflowering plants would take almost as long. And though I can’t claim to know all 12,000 fern species personally, I can tell you one thing: So far, I’ve never met a fern I didn’t like.