Ferns can be a wonderful addition to the shady garden. However, they should be used with care since many are very aggressive and spread by underground runners. They can easily over run the border. But many are wonderful feathery additions to the garden, staying lush and green all summer. The Japanese Painted fern is never a problem. My favorite is the Maidenhair fern which stays where it is planted, slowly growing into a nice sized plant The first picture shows the maidenhair fern in early spring when it is about to unfurl. The second was taken in my friend Marion's garden. She has planted several different fern behind her Japanese primroses for an effective backdrop. I don't fuss with my maidenhairs. plant them in ordinary garden soil in partial to full shade. The maidenhair seems quite drought tolerant and I don't water it unless there is an extended period without rain.
This maidenhair fern scarf is hand painted silk by Morgansilk. Her silk scarves are each a work of art.