I couldn't help but notice the ferns in the garden today. The Autumn ferns, in particular, were stunning. Thanks to recent rains, they are very lush and large this year. They may also be at their spring peak in terms of color. Autumn ferns have a wonderful reddish tone to many of their fronds.
Ferns rank among the most reliable plants for the shade garden and woodland. I love the way they unfurl in spring, and many of them have persistent foliage throughout winter. They combine especially well with hostas and Japanese anemones, and make great mass plantings. Here in Georgia, the southern shield fern will spread to cover the ground with its soft, green fronds. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of ferns to choose from for the garden. They require minimal care. Most prefer damp soil rich in organic matter, but will grow in less than ideal conditions. Many also make great container plants for shade, and there is an entire category of tender ferns best suited to growing as houseplants. Mix and match them to show off their varied foliage texture.