Day 115: shuttlecock fern

Daily details from the garden to bring you inspiration throughout the year


Some ferns lend their lush greenery to the garden all year round, while others will deprive you of their company over winter. This latter group appear with many a languid gesture throughout spring, in the full knowledge that we’re looking upon the unveiling ceremony with wrapt admiration – the shuttlecock, or ostrich fern (Matteucia struthiopteris) being a prime example. Its fronds easily achieve a height of 75cm and often over a metre in the damp conditions which it prefers, where it will spread both by means of spores produced in spring but also by runners. A colony of fresh green shuttlecocks is a spectacle worth seeking out but, while it will mix well with other shade-loving plants, it’s wise to consider the final height of this fern when planning planting combinations, particularly for the summer months. 

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Hello! I’m Andrew, gardener, writer, photographer, and owner of a too-loud laugh, and I’m so pleased you’ve found your way to Gardens, weeds & words. You can read a more in-depth profile of me on the About page, or by clicking this image.