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My crew and I were planting under the sign at the end of the driveway. We had removed the old soil and replaced it with a new mix. I had bought some annuals for color throughout the summer, but added some native plants as well.

We dug some plants in one of the gardens – and Nick said – Maidenhair fern is my “go-to” fern. Wow, I had never thought of that, do I have a “go-to” fern?  Nick likes the way it looks the ease of transplanting it without mangling all the fronds. It looks good everywhere. Many visitors to the Sanctuary also express their love of the maidenhair fern  (Adiantum pedatum). I can understand it because it is so striking:  Black stem, whorled foliage, compact growth habit.

I had to think about it, what would be my go-to plant? I guess the fern I would select is probably the red-stemmed lady fern (Athyrium angustum). I like the vase shape and the red stems. It has a fine texture and sets off many early spring wildflowers. The red stemmed form of the lady fern does not grow too tall – only reaching about 18” in height. It looks good in many settings, it’s easy to move – although the fronds are not as resilient as the maidenhair fern.

I love that my crew thinks about the plants that we use in the gardens. I love that Nick has a “go-to” fern. I don’t always think about my plants in that way. It is refreshing to have a new view of what is in our gardens.[lightbox link=”” thumb=”×200.jpg” width=”300″ align=”left” title=”athyrium red stem” frame=”true” icon=”image” caption=”red stemmed lady fern”]

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