Cyrtomium macrophyllum is looking particularly fabulous this year. This is a little-grown holly fern with a wide range from India to Southeastern China that can be found at elevations from 2,500-8,000′. The bold textured fronds arch outward to make a 2′ tall x 2′ wide clump that is semi-evergreen in most winters. It seems as if we will get good spore set this year, which may mean another offering since the last time PDN had it to share in 2003.
We live in an age where many plastic products are vilified, but every now and then, we find a reason to embrace the texture of plastic. Such was the case in 2008, when we visited The Missouri Botanic Garden. Walking through one of their greenhouse, I spotted an odd holly fern, planted in the middle of a large mass of Cyrtomium falcatum. The foliage appeared much thicker and more glossy than any of the other plants. The staff was kind enough to share a piece, which we subsequently named Cyrtomium ‘Plasticity’. We theorize it is probably a ploidy mutant with an extra set of chromosomes that would account for the extra thickness and glossiness. Here is a photo from the gardens this week, where it has become a favorite.
Arachnioides standishii is one of our favorite garden ferns. This particular collection comes from Japan’s Mt. Daisen. The common name is Upside down fern since the leaves appear to be attached inverted. Production is always challenging since spore don’t ripen until after Christmas. The foliage remains evergreen until temps drop below 10 degrees F. Hardiness is Zone 4-8.
One of the fabulous ferns in our garden during the summer months is the sun-tolerant Dennstaedtia hirsuta ‘Sohuksan’. This fabulous specimen came to the US from a 1985 collection from Sohuksan Island, South Korea, where it was discovered by a team of intrepid plant explorers that included horticultural legends as Barry Yinger, the late Ted Dudley, the late J.C. Raulston, the late Peter Wharton, Young-june Chang and Kun-so Kim. The group had left the mainland for the several day ferry ride to this remote island, landing just ahead of a typhoon, which resulted in severe injuries disembarking from the ferry. After riding out the typhoon in minimal shelters, they awoke to a treasure trove of amazing plants. We are so glad to keep the memory of this amazing trip alive in gardens with some of their great plant introductions.
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.
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.
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.