It is simply an impressive sight when a slender leaf stalk emerges from old leaves in spring and gradually unfolds into an impressive frond - a wonder of nature. And I always have in the back of my mind that the dinosaurs walked under ferns, what a wonderful group of plants. They fit fantastically into the already vaunted realm of shadows, bring delicate structures into the sedate clumps of spring roses (Helleborus) and hostas (hosta), reliably cover the ground or look out of narrow cracks.
Many ferns are at home in the deep shade of tall trees, so they can really stand in a relatively dark place, but there are always exceptions. Some of them can withstand one or two rays of sun if the soil is sufficiently moist. Be careful to see how far your fern will voluntarily grow out of the shade. The available space is very important for your purchase decision, because ferns range from well-behaved clumps to aggressively sprawling. We prefer to cultivate the "good" candidates, because our small nursery also has a problem with space.