Every garden as a few plants that pull the garden together when the days grow shorter and the nights grow cold. Sometimes it is a dwarf conifer, or perhaps a handsome stand of grasses that add movement and grace in the fall and winter garden. For my shade garden, this time of year it is the ferns and stately Oakleaf hydrangea that are saving the day.
Ferns are one of my favorite plants and each year I add a few more to my tiny garden. I will admit that in the late spring and summer the beautiful broad leaves of the hostas and the majestic leaves of Rodgersia capture my attention and the seemingly endless colors offered by new heuchera introductions make my eyes widen with delight, and let's not forget the beauty of the toad lily.
But it is on days like this when the hostas are all but gone, the beautiful blooms of the toad lily just dried flowers with a tint of purple and the Rodgersia has already crumbled and fallen to the garden floor that I am quite happy to see the ferns, dark green, standing tall against the backdrop of the oakleaf.