August 24, 2010

A Lady, A Maiden, and Fritz

Could you fern fans guess what the title means? Today I'm posting about the ferns in my garden. Above and below are pictures of Athyrium felix-femina, the lady fern.

Lady ferns grow to about 2 feet tall and 1.5 feet wide. The one in my garden gets plenty of water and just an hour or two of early morning sun. It's growing well, which always surprises me when it comes to ferns.

Here are two pictures of Adiantum pedatum (?), or maidenhair fern. This fern is also growing well in almost full shade. I think it's my favorite fern.

There are different types of maidenhair fern, and I can't find the tag to be sure exactly which species I have. Doesn't it look like it belongs next to a waterfall in some gorgeous wild setting? I can't believe it's growing so well in my yard.

Above and below are photos of Athyrium filix-femina 'Frizelliae', or tatting fern. I'd nickname it Fritz, except it's obviously the most delicate and feminine fern in my garden.

The fronds would make a pretty necklace. I bet they'll be pretty in floral arrangements once my little plant gets bigger and I'm willing to sacrifice some fronds for the vase.

Above is a picture of Japanese tassel fern, Polystichum polyblepharum. It's a good thing I'm writing all these names down in a post. If I lose the tags, I'll never be able to remember them. This poor little guy is supposed to get 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide, but he's smaller this year than last year. He probably needs a different spot.

Here is what I think is an ostrich fern frond, Matteuccia struthiopteris. I brought it home from a plant exchange without being sure of the name. Can anyone correct me if I'm wrong? I have it in a pot because I heard that it would take over the yard if I put it into the ground.

This is an interesting little - really little - fern that's supposed to grow in full sun to part shade. I have it in part shade just to be cautious. It's called Dwarf Golden Scale fern, or Dryopteris affinis 'Crispa Gracilis'.

At full size, this fern can get 8-12 inches tall and 10-12 inches wide. Mine is a bit smaller than that, but otherwise doing very well. It does get some hot sun for parts of the day and doesn't seem to mind.
I also have a Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum') in the garden, but forgot to take a picture. Its silvery leaves wouldn't blend in with all the green ferns anyway. But it looks very nice with 'Green Spice' heuchera and 'Blue Angel' hostas. Despite being a die-hard flower lover, I'm very fond of my ferns.


  1. I love all of these ferns. I just have a few in my garden now but hope to add a variety in a new shade garden that I'm working on.

  2. Pretty ferns, VW. I'm fascinated with the many varieties you have. I've always been a fan of the airy, usually upright quality ferns possess. Great photos.

  3. VW,
    They are exquisite! Have you ever pressed them for art? I am waiting for my hubby to finish the back side of our house so I can plant ferns under the eaves where it's shady.

  4. VW, You have a wonderful collection of ferns! I have a couple or three of them... love the Friz, as I have it. But I'd like to look into getting the Maidenhair. :-) Artistic photos! Happy Shady gardening.

  5. Hi VW,

    Very nice indeed, I'm beginning to get into ferns as they are very handy for those spots where little else will grow... I've got two scale ferns which need planting - right after I've done some work in planned border.
    The Maiden's hair fern is also a favourite of mine, and I'd love to get some, but Ferns over here seem to be so expensive and I'm not sure why.

  6. I love those ferns, VW! Thanks for showing them. We have several that have no ID. Ours don't grow as tall or spread like they warn about here with our dry summers. That does look like Ostrich though. Ours barely limps along with one or two fronds per year and tassel fern is supposed to get that tall? Barely six inches here. Painted does really well, guess it is the most drought tolerant of the lot. Putting these on the blog is a great filing system for names! :-)
    ps, I am still using your buy some bags of compost with each trip to the store tip! Brilliant!

  7. Hey there VW !
    I am a fern fan too : ) .. I have a lot of ostrich ferns that I let spread here and there .. and I have shared them as well .. they multiply like rabbits, naughty ferns !
    I have a few others I love .. Lady-in-Red, Christmas fern .. and lots of Japanese Painted ones .. but the one I would so love to have is the Maiden Hair Fern .. yours is GORGEOUS !
    I had a Korean Rock fern .. but it curled up its toes .. which was too bad .. I thought it was so darn CUTE ! LOL
    Great post .. you can't have too many ferns can you ? .. I love their scent too !
    Joy !

  8. I love your fern photos, but what I really like is your gorgeous birdbath! I can relate to your comment about being surprised that your ferns are doing so well - mine are pretty brown and dilapidated now at the end of summer.

  9. Hi VW~~ I'm very frond [sic] of ferns too, LOL. We've got the native sword fern which I love too. Another of my favorites is the Hart's Tongue fern which doesn't really look like a fern at all. Anyway, you've got some great selections and beautiful photos.

  10. You've inspired me to try some more ferns in my garden. Two of mine were here when we bought our house and I think are natives. Yours just look so healthy and green, mine tend to dry up and look crispy even in shady areas.

  11. Lovely ferns. I love the lady fern. They are really cute and their leaves are really gorgeous. The maidenhair fern are also dazzling. They are my favorites. I also have this kind of fern in my garden. Now I know what family they came from.

  12. I am so impressed that you have such a variety of ferns. I adore them too but find many are fussy and will curl up and die if they catch a bit of hot sun. It's interesting how they seem to have very feminine names - I guess they are delicate, and traditionally we are supposed to be as well.

  13. Wow. I didn't know that ferns would be such a beauty! Aside from being so easy to grow and to maintain, ferns do have that unique vibe! This is my first time to see such well-designed fern garden! Plus, I like that basin there or whatever you call that! LOL.

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