Thursday, January 15, 2009

Athyrium - part one

This first of the Lady Ferns is Athyrium angustum rubellum 'Lady in Red'. There are a few of the Athyriums with red stems, but this one is very showy, very upright and seems to expand to a clump pretty quickly. The Lady Ferns also seem to mutate easily and so you will find lots of them when you go looking for ferns. They are also generally easy to grow and not too demanding of special conditions. Because of the large number, I'll do a few each day.
This secons one is Athyrium 'Apple Court Crested'. Sylvia probably knows Apple Court Nursery (which is in England) and I think was more famous for hostas than ferns, at least that's what I know them for. The crested ferns have little 'fans' at the tips of the fronds. Athyrium seems to do that a lot and I'll have more pictures of them in the next few days. This one was pretty small yet when I took the picture last spring. I look forward to taking all new pictures to replace the ones on my website when things come up in the spring - something that was more of a luxury when I had to use film. Now it's easy even though I sort of had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the digital camera age.

This last one is Athyrium 'Encourage'. It is much more crested than the last one. Kind of fuzzy looking with crests all down the frond rather than just at the tips.
No one seems to know exactly why these are called Lady Ferns, except maybe that they are so delicate and feminine. The European version is Athyrium filix-femina, which also grows here quite nicely. They are also much more delicate than the Dryopteris or male ferns also called filix-mas. Because all of these odd versions of the Lady Fern do not come true from spores, I guess we can expect the number of types to only increase - and that's a good thing for my garden.


Hocking Hills Gardener said...

A question. What are the ferns that are found in the shady woods around Ohio?

Sylvia (England) said...

Jane, I had never heard of the nursery, had they specialised in ferns I may have done! I had a fern garden/area just planted, then a wall came down, replaced by a fence in a different place and all my ferns are in pots! Hopefully this year they will be planted and left alone but through the garden not all together this time.

Best wishes Sylvia (England)

Hoot Owl Hollow Nursery said...

Apple Court is in Hampshire. It used to be owned by Diana Grenfell who introduced a number of hostas and other plants.

Northern Shade said...

I really like the look of A. 'Lady in Red' in the garden. The fronds are a wonderful fresh looking green, and the red stems add a little zip, while still allowing the fern to blend wonderfully with other woodland plants.