Oi course, ferns thrive best in shade, and genuine alpine flowers do not. But we must do the best we can. Some of us cannot afford elaborate watering devices and, therefore, the only way to keep rocks cool is to shade them. So we must make a special study of flowers that demand partial shade, and have the alpine charm. We must select ferns that have interesting leaf forms and spreading growth, instead of the tall, coarse ferns of commonplace form.

There are fifty-two kinds of native ferns that can be bought from nurserymen, but the following seem to me most appropriate because they answer the above requirements, and are a foot or less in height:

Common Names

Scientific Names

Common polypody

Polypodium vulgare

Hairy lip fern

Cheiianthes lanosa

Maidenhair spleenwort

Asplenium Trichomanes

Walking fern

Camptosorus rhtzophyllus

Purple-stemmed cliff brake

Pellaa atropurpurea


Botrychium Lunaria

Hart's tongue fern

Scolopendrium vulgare

Broad beech fern

Phegopteris hexagonoptera

Adder's tongue

Opkioglossum vulgatum

Bulblet fern

Cystopteris bulbifera

Brittle fern

Cystopteris fragilis

Long beech fern

Phegopteris1 polypodioides

Oak fern

Phegopteris Dryopteris

Rusty woodsia

Woodsia Ilvensis

The club mosses and selaginellas are also interesting and refreshing and nearly a dozen kinds can be had now through specialists in native plants.

I would not make a fetich of having rock plants that are less than a foot high. I would have the maidenhair for its open, airy grace, the gossamer fern for its hay-scented foliage and the Christmas fern because it is attractive as late as Christmas.