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:
Hairy lip fern
Purple-stemmed cliff brake
Hart's tongue fern
Broad beech fern
Long beech fern
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.