There are few things more calculated to give a certain gothic je ne sais quoi to the garden than a good display of ferns.

The trouble with ferns, however, would appear to be that they definitely have a strong will of their own. In my garden there are two distinct groups – those that have appeared all by themselves and those that I have planted.

Now both groups I like equally well, and encourage both. It’s just the ones that I planted were considerably more expensive and at best stay much the same size or at worst completely die; whereas the others are growing from strength to strength.

So the plants above are natural, the ones below are bought and planted.

There is obviously a lesson to be learned here – know your garden – know what plants are suited to the conditions and more importantly know which aren’t.

But then I always supposed that a fern was just a fern and if some grew then they all would.