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Our Dryopteris dilatata, the native 'Broad Buckler Fern' is just as graceful and also deciduous.
Ferns thrive in the humid atmosphere of this narrow valley, with 20 recorded, including green spleenwort, brittle bladder fern, hay-scented buckler fern and Wilson's filmy fern.
For a patio, choose ones with coloured fronds such as the silverygrey leaved Japanese Painted fern (Athyrium nipponicum) and the Buckler fern (Dryopteris ethyrosora) that produces coppery red fronds in spring, which age to dark green.
For sheer size, try the massive Buckler Fern, or Dryopteris, which will fill a gap up to 4ft high and 2ft wide.
A few broad buckler ferns were flourishing, protected from the cold by the understorey of rhododendrons that give shelter to so much of the wildlife here.