Ferns That Look Good in September - Zone 5b - Autumn and Ghost Ferns - September 2022

I've long talked about how my favorite garden plant family are ferns.  Hostas are a close second.  Why?  Because my Mom was a shade gardener who toiled in her garden over the years with hostas.  Our backyard is mostly shade, so like my mother...I, too, am a shade gardener.  That means finding things that work well in shade and/or part shade.  That has lead me to lists like this that talk about various things that work well in shade like heucheras, lungwort and...of course ferns and hostas. 

Over the years, I've planted various ferns in our gardens, but my first fern love was the Ostrich Fern.  I've had them in our garden in Elmhurst, brought a couple to my sister & Equation Boy's house (when we lived there) and have them here in Downers.  And, while they're really great ferns, they start to look a little ragged as the growing season goes on. 

But, on a recent walk around the garden, I've noticed that a couple of varieties of ferns are looking REALLY good this late in the season:  Ghost Ferns and Autumn Ferns. 

This post is in praise of ferns that look good in September.  In Zone 5b. 

First, the Ghost Fern.  These four are from the Morton Arboretum Plant Sale and are a sport of the Japanese Painted Fern.  I planted them in 2021.  And they looked really good in early Summer (this year).  Below are these four, more-upright Ghost Ferns in late September:

The other fern that is looking really good right now (September)?  Autumn Fern.  We have three of these.  And they're looking bright green, getting ready to turn colors.  Last Winter (December), I was struck by how LONG these stayed green (semi-evergreen?) into the cold of the season.  And, I put this plant (Autumn Fern) my my 2022 to-do wish list for plants.  Below are the three Autumn Ferns:

I'd like to add a few more clusters of these to the garden, so I've been watching to see if they go on sale at the orange Big Box nursery.  Not yet, but I'm hoping I'll find them before they sell out this season. 

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