Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Now that the garden has been cut down and started its dormancy, I reminisce on some of the successes of the past year. One of my favourites is my plantings of Japanese Painted Ferns (Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum'). I planted a few small clusters several years ago in a shady well enriched soil location nestled amongst some Cimicifugas, Primroses, Hydangeas, Kalmias, and Heucheras. I waited for 3 years for these small starts to start preforming and finally they developed into robust specimens. This Summer and Fall they unfurled to be beautiful full ferns nicely filling there allocated space and added a soft counterbalance to there many large leafed neighbors. This plant really does look as though it has been painted with silver, purple, grey, and green all on the same leaf. I look forward to next year when I can take a few small divisions off this hardy fern and share them with some of my fellow gardeners.


lisa said...

I enjoy these ferns, too, and they have a few new varieties-some with more red, some more silver, etc.. I've even had one winter over nicely in a metal sacepan planter-no mulch! They are easy to divide too, I just took a sharp knife (one of my extra 'chef Tony knives')and sliced thru, then dug up half and left half there-both are doing great!

George Africa said...

I've been growing painted ferns for a few years now and they are great once established. I buy them in as plugs and at that stage of development they need to be kept on the dry side. After a season they need more moisture to do well here.

I've noticed that in the spring they are about 3 weeks behind the native ferns. As potted plants held over the winter that way they become the chief food of red voles and there's never much left when the snow melts. I think my favorite is 'Silver Falls'--named for a place in Oregon I still didn't get to.

George Africa
Vermont Flower