A few years ago, we introduced one of our Japanese painted fern sporlings of particularly giant proportions as Athyrium ‘Godzilla’. Recently, we found ourselves in search of another giant monster name for our new hybrid of Osmunda regalis (US) and Osmunda japonica (Japan). We settled on Osmunda x japalis ‘King Kong’ for this 7′ tall giant that we hope to one day share with gardeners around the world. For now, however, it remains a single, rather impressive clump in the gardens here at JLBG.
The rare Dryopteris x australis is looking superb in the garden this week. This Southeast native, naturally-occurring hybrid will grow in sun or shade and in wet or average soils. Despite its deep southern roots, it’s fine outdoors in Zone 5a. 4′ tall..pretty amazing!
Checking our fern spore pots and found this stray Pickerel frog looking for some dinner. Nothing like a warm, damp greenhouse in the middle of winter.
If you slow down in the garden, you’ll notice an amazing array of natural patterns. One of our favorites are the spore patterns on the fern genus, Coniogramme. While all spore patterns are fascinating, the bamboo ferns are truly unique, with their anastomosing vein patterns. Since coniogramme is tardily deciduous, the spore patterns remain looking nice through the winter. Here is a recent image of Coniogramme japonica in the garden.
We love experimenting with new textural combinations in the garden, and here are a couple that caught our eye this fall.
Start planning new bold leaf texture and color combinations for your garden this winter as you dream of spring.
Here, we’ve interplanted Gloxinia (Seemania) ‘Little Red’ in a patch of Alstroemeria psittacina ‘Variegata’ and Manfreda ‘Spot’. We love how the bold texture of the manfreda contrasts with the alstroemeria, while the color of the leaf spots pick up the purple in the gloxinia stems.
Like sci-fi zombies re-awakening, ferns in the garden are spring back to life. Nothing says spring quite like the presence of new fern fronds emerging…known as croziers. Below are several different fern images we’ve taken as they emerged this spring. The first is the bamboo fern, coniogramme.
Lepisorus or ribbon ferns, with their long narrow fronds are quite unique.
Matteucia or ostrich fern emerges alongside last years’ spore bearing fronds providing an interesting contrast.
Onoclea, aka sensitive fern does the same, holding both the new fronds alongside the old fertile fronds from the prior season.. Ferns like this are called dimorphic, which means they have two different frond types…fertile and non-fertile. Most ferns pack light and have both on the same frond.
The two images above are our native Osmunda cinnamomea or Cinnamon fern. The hairy croziers are just amazing. Recent taxonomy has actually kicked this out of the genus Osmunda and created a new genus, Osmundastrum. Hmmm.
Here is its cousin, Osmunda regalis or royal fern…another great US native that’s also native in Europe and Asia.
This is the lovely native Polystichum acrostichoides or Christmas fern…also wonderfully hairy as it emerges.
Here are two images of the Asian tassel fern, Polystichum makinoi that we took a week apart as the croziers unfurled.
The lovely Asian, brown-haired Polystichum tagawanum.
Our winter hardy form of the table fern, Pteris vittata
A single picture perfect crozier of the Texas native, Thelypteris lindheimeri
And finally, the dwarf Woodsia subcordata. How can you fail to find joy in this amazing spring rebirth? We hope you’ll visit our fern offerings and choose some of these deer resistant gems for your own garden.
I just took this photo of the Ghost fern on our patio…can’t imagine a garden without this lovely deer-resistant perennial. Light shade or even a few hours of sun if the soil is kept moist.
I’m just back from a quick trip to Washington DC with my stepdaughter Katie. We first stopped at the US National Arboretum to spend some time with the new director Richard Olsen, who shared his excitement about many of the exciting plans and projects underway at the people’s arboretum including the renovation of the Chinese bonsai pavilion. Virtually all of the projects and expansions are privately funded.
While it was exciting to hear that the future looks bright, it was equally shocking to see the horrific state of maintenance and weeding due to continuing Congressional budget cuts to the arboretum’s funding. The Federal government seems to have no understanding of funding for maintenance. It’s a sad reflection on our country for visitors from around the world to see our country’s National Arboretum like this. I hope you’ll join me in calling your representatives and voice your concern!
One of the really interesting finds in the garden was a spontaneous jack in the pulpit hybrid…a cross of Arisaema heterophyllum and Arisaema ringens. This is the first spontaneous arisaema hybrid that I’ve ever heard of. We need this!
Then, it was off to speak at the International Pteridological Convention at the Smithsonian. Over 250 fern researchers, half from outside the US, showed up to share their latest fern discoveries and research. It was a great chance to meet so many amazing people. Katie videotaped my talk and we’ll post it on our You Tube channel soon.
Here’s a new photo of the evergreen Autumn fern, Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance‘ as it emerges in the woodland garden with its stunning new growth.
Here are a couple of fern images from the garden yesterday. First is our giant painted fern, Athyrium ‘Godzilla’, which can reach 6′ wide x 3′ tall. To avoid chlorophyll shed in the garden, it’s best planted a far distance from Hosta ‘Mothra’ or Hosta ‘Rhodan’.
Here is the lovely Athyrium nipponicum ‘Burgandy Lace‘..hard to beat this color in the spring garden.