Fronds, Not Enemies
As any shade gardener knows, ferns are a staple. They offer robust foliage and great texture to your shady places as well as delightful fiddleheads as leaves emerge in spring. Beyond the much publicized Japanese painted fern, Athyrium niponicum var. pictum, there is an array of ferns to add to your garden.
Adiantum pedatum, northern maidenhair fern, is a unique, delicate form, native fern. Ideal for your woodland garden, the small, rounded pinnae (leaflets) on shiny black, wiry stems offer a lacey contrast to bold foliage plants. Like all ferns, it is ideal for a spot in the garden where water sits during the spring but dries up during the summer. See our planting among other natives in the Glade Garden.
Arachniodes standishii is known as the upside-down fern because it looks like it is upside down. The sori, and raised veins appear on the surface of fronds adding textural interest and a point of conversation for all visitors. Semi-evergreen, this fern has graceful cutleaf, arching fronds. The upside down fern is wet-site tolerant and does best in shade to part shade.
Another great fern curiosity is Athyrium filix-femina ‘Frizelliae’, tatting fern. The fronds look like strings of pearls with the rounded pinnae attached to the midrib. This dwarf cultivar likes shade and moist soils. There is a planting along Kohlberg Hall.
Let ferns create an impact in your shade garden. Discover these ferns and more at the 2015 Scott Arboretum Plant Sale (September 12 to 13). See the complete list of ferns in our 2015 Plant Sale Handbook.