Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My Favorite Plant in the Garden...

...Is Jeweled Chain Fern. The Latin name is Woodwardia unigemmata.

But I actually went out there with the thought in the back of my mind that it was an autumn fern (in my defense I didn't sleep all that well last night). Once I was out there I noticed that it didn't look like the other three autumn ferns in the bed. It's a good thing I buried the plant tag beside it. Did I plant it last spring thinking it was an autumn fern? I can't remember. It's got much darker new fronds than the autumn fern. And it's probably going to get way bigger, if the reports I've found on the web are anything to go by.

The fronds spread in one direction toward its companion, a green and white Hosta.

And in the other direction toward a variegated Jacob's Ladder.

And then two or three feet away in the same bed, in hopes of creating interesting echoes of color and form:

Heuchera 'Kassandra' (chain fern at the top of the photo)

Perhaps a little more magenta than brick red on the reverse

Heuchera 'Electric Lime'

Blechnum penna-marina

The new fronds of Jeweled Chain Fern emerge very red, and age through orange/bronze to solid green

I love all the little crinklies in the leaflets

Looks deceptively delicate

A brick red new frond mingles with mature green ones


Height: 3 ft. (according to the tag), 3-7 ft. (according to the web)
Width: 6-10 ft. (Yikes!)
Soil: Rich, acidic, with even moisture
Light: Shade or part shade
Hardiness: Zone 7a-9b

You can find out more about this fern on Plant Lust here.

The Favorite Plant in the Garden meme is hosted by Loree at Danger Garden. Check out her post here, and see what other bloggers are posting about as their current favorites.


And just in case you're wondering, this is Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora).

Autumn Fern

Autumn Fern

Autumn Fern


  1. Oh they all look so good! And I'm glad you took some pictures of other plants too, I've almost done that a few times. Maybe next time.

  2. This is lovely Alison ! I have a spot that will be able to accommodate some ferns but it needs more prep work. Maybe next spring !

  3. Omg - I want one! It is such a great plant! I've wanted one ever since we saw it at Heronswood and in Shayne's garden. Where did you find yours?

  4. Oh, that is a cool fern! I love the thick, leathery looking foliage. Awesome.

  5. They all look good Alison! And we love this fern too and it just gets better (and bigger) every year.

  6. Oh Alison, you taunt me SO! As I sit here in Zone 5 with alkaline soil, I've got fern envy. We have our ferns too, but I've always loved deer fern (a different Blechnum, I know, but they look similar) and even brought one home from Seattle, since it was hardy here. It slowly died out by summer's end. The PNW really shines when it comes to ferns and mosses. Beautiful!

  7. Really beautiful plant arrangement you have there. I love the PNW woodland look. In my climate it is fairly impossible.

  8. I like the bronzy foliage, it makes a nice color echo with your bronzy Heuchera. The eventual potential size sounds scary though, kind of like Sword ferns, which like to pop up in my garden in unlikely and undesirable places. I hope yours stay mannerly.

  9. I will share this with Allan! As you know, he has a fern fetish.

  10. WOW! Those are some gorgeous colors. I really like the autumn ferns but that first photo of the jewelled chain fern takes the cake!


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