Blechnum spicant or the Deer fern as it is commonly known is a really compact neat British Native fern often seen growing on old stone walls and occasionally on trunks of mature trees in shady damp woodland conditions. Often looking dainty and quiet small Blechnum spicant responds to being spoilt, given good garden conditions of fertile moisture retentive soil ideally with well-rotted farmyard manure it will respond by increasing its stature, producing larger rosettes of lush almost evergreen leaves which during mid-summer are centered by upright architectural fertile fruiting fronds whose undersides are covered in honey brown spore bearing structures called sori.
Being a native plant there is no problem with hardiness, Blechnum spicant will grow in most places tolerating more sun and dry than many ferns. Rarely reaching more than 35cm or so high and wide it is a valuable fern for front of border planting, especially when planted on mass where it can also be used as beautiful ground cover under a Japanese maple perhaps.
As with all ferns I always improve the planting site, especially with the clay soils we have here in West Sussex by adding copious amounts of well-rotted organic matter. Deep digging isn’t necessary just gently forking the compost into your soil will suffice. The key here is to by and large let nature do the work for you, let the worms aerate the soil and spread the compost. Once planted an annual mulch with the said compost will ensure you develop a wonderful friable soil in just a few years along with lush happy ferns.