What exactly is a cryptogamic garden?
With regards to Greek etymology, the word crypto originates from kryptos - meaning concealed and gamic from gamos -
meaning marriage. Thus, a cryptogamic plant or a plantlike organism has a hidden reproductive system and that it
produces no seed or flowers.
Typical examples are; ferns, moss, algae and fungi, which reproduce through spores and not flowers or seed.
The most popular of the cryptogam plants to be found in the garden are ferns. In shady areas of the garden, ferns create
delicate patterns of green and they combine well with other shade loving plants such as primroses and snowdrops.
At this time of year we look forward to an abundance of brightly colours to announce the arrival of spring and early
summer and rightly so! but lets not forget those places where the sun rarely shines; colour can thrive here too.
Ferns of different types, with their cool green colours and arching fronds, can bring the beauty of a natural woodland to a
shady area and transform a corner of the garden where few other plants will survive.
However, some flowering plants will grow in similar conditions to ferns and mix well too. Other examples are:
Acanthus Mollis alongside the male fern Dryopteris fixi-mas. Dicentra spectabilis alongside Asplenium scolopendrium.
Ferns can also grow in dapple shade, as long they are shielded from the midday sun, they will grow in all soils apart from
badly drained ones and they require protection from strong winds.
Ferns look best when they are grown a suitable distance apart and the fronds do not intermingle with one another and a
fern enthusiast will use ferns alone in a shady border, mixing species of different sizes, varying shades of green and
different frond shapes.
Spring is an excellent time to plant ferns and with regards to cultivation purposes, ferns can be divided into three types:
Crown forming ferns – whose fronds emerge from a stout root in the form of a crown (Dryopteris fixi-mas).
Rhizomatous ferns – whose fronds rise up along the rhizome root, without forming a crown (Gymnocarpium dryopteris –
Spleenworts – a group of ferns that grow best horizontally and ideal for rock gardens and dry-stone walls (Asplenium
trichomanes – maidenhair spleenwort).
Cryptogams are one of the oldest groups of plant species, existing since the Jurassic era and are hugely beneficial to the
eco-system of the garden. Areas with low pollution levels, high in moisture and devoid of direct sunlight is where they
As the sun sits higher in the sky and the variety of colourful blossom increases within the garden, we must not neglect
the areas of shade and the vital area known as the Cryptogamic Garden.
Hello everyone, Green Landscapes Cornwall are sharing with you some ideas about how to implement different features for your garden!