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Foliage 108 Stories

By late fall much of the woodland garden has gone to sleep until spring. Many ferns show only brown, lifeless remnants of their former seasonal glory, making the few evergreen fern species even more valuable this time of year. Let’s consider Japanese holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum ‘Rochfordianum’),...
These Aren’t Your Grandparents’ Junipers
Let’s take a journey back to our favorite childhood memories. For many of us, those memories include playing hide-and-seek or kick the can with the neighborhood kids on sultry summer or crisp autumn nights. Inevitably we hid beneath trees and shrubs,...
Great Design Plant: Polystichum Polyblepharum
A well-designed shade garden makes up for its lack of raucous colors by providing subtle surprises at every turn. Here structure, texture and shape rule. While many plants provide only one of these qualities, there are some that rank high on all three...
Great Design Plant: Athyrium Filix-Femina
Within the world of ferns, some are thugs, spreading aggressively without asking permission, and some are shy introverts, sitting quietly without drawing attention to themselves. Then there is the lady fern. Well-mannered as she is, she brings beauty...
10 Boo-tiful Black Plants for Halloween
Halloween is around the corner, and if you're lucky, soon droves of candy-seeking ghouls and goblins will be at your door. Does your entryway show your holiday spirit? If not, here are some terrific black-hued plants to make a hauntingly memorable...
Great Design Plant: Northern Maidenhair Fern Softens Shade Gardens
A successful shade garden relies more on textures and shapes than perhaps any other type of garden. In shady nooks, where a profusion of blossoms is rare and almost an unwelcome intrusion into serenity, ferns rule the roost. While some fern species have...
Ground Force: 10 Top Ground Covers for Your Garden
Leaving your soil uncovered in the garden is a bit like walking around in the hot sun with no hat — you’re asking for trouble. Bare soil is a magnet for weeds, their seeds blown into your garden by the wind or dropped by birds....
Great Garden Combo: Play With Foliage Patterns in a Border
I’m something of a plant rebel. If I’m told a plant can’t grow in shade, I’ll try it. Not hardy? I’ll test it. You shouldn’t mix certain colors? I’ll find a way to make them work. So don’t try to tell me I can’t mix different patterns...
Great Design Plant: Sensitive Fern Shows Its Strengths
Ferns elicit primal human emotions, which is why many gardeners, including myself, are drawn to them. They mentally transport us to another place and time. Just five minutes in my fern garden can be the antidote to one of my busy and stressful days, and...
Great Design Plant: Japanese Painted Fern Weaves a Garden Tapestry
So much of the woodland garden is green. While shade gardeners appreciate verdant mounds of moss, swaths of sweet box and colonies of camellias, some color...
Great Design Plant: Foamflower Cushions Shady Garden Areas
Need a densely growing ground cover for a shady spot? Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) fits the bill and then some. The foliage of this Mid-Atlantic native plant is evergreen, except in very cold winters, and the white, midspring blooms brighten...
Great Design Plant: Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)
We gardeners can be a fickle bunch, always wanting what we seemingly cannot have. Shade gardeners want more sun; sun gardeners want more shade. There are certain plants, however, that can be employed to bridge the gap so that everyone is happy. Enter...
Ferns: A Shade Gardener’s Best Friend
Shade gardeners seem to have more garden envy than any group of gardeners I know. They drool over dahlias, linger over lantana and swoon over salvias, knowing deep down that these plants would soon meet their demise beneath the shadowy canopy of their...
Big Foliage for Small Spaces
An exceptional garden is one that embraces and celebrates the unexpected. This can be a challenge in the smaller, more urban gardens that are becoming the norm for many of us. One way to inject unexpected interest into your small space is by introducing...
Get a Cool Garden Look With Gray and Blue Plants
We can do a lot with foliage. We can emphasize movement, create mystery or highlight a garden feature. Through color, foliage can also generate a mood. Blue and gray plants can recede to make way for bolder, brighter hues. But on their own, these silvery...
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