Cristata The King Crested Wood Ferns Added - August 2023

Number 10 on my 2023 to-do list was to keep going on my 'fern upgrade' project.  That means that I need to say 'so long' (not goodbye) to my first fern love - the ostrich fern.  And begin to replace them with better performers.   I've written a few times about ferns that 'look good' after a full, not Summer and documented all of the various ferns in our garden in September.  At that time the Ostrich Ferns look tired and burned out.  The Autumn and Japanese Painted ferns do NOT.  Then, there's Winter - when the Autumn Ferns stick around and add some visuals to the mostly barren garden.  

So, replacing Ostrich Ferns with other ferns is something that I've been trying to do - both through divisions as well as new additions.  When I planted the Inaba shadire Japanese Maple, I removed six Ostrich Fern clumps and put them in the far back.  I planted the tree a step-back from the border, allowing for a little planting near the edge of the lawn.  

And that's where I put a pair of Crested Wood Ferns - Cristata the King ferns. They are Dryopteris affinis 'Cristata' fern, also known as the golden-scaled male fern.

Google Bard tells me this about the Fern:
This large, majestic fern has long, arching fronds that are shiny green and have serrated leaflets. The fronds can be up to 3 feet long and have a frilly and ruffled appearance. The young fronds unfurl a golden green and the plant retains a fresh, bright appearance throughout the summer.

The Cristata the King fern is derived from an evergreen fern that is native to the moist woodlands of eastern Europe. It's been in gardens since Victorian times.
Sounds nice, right?   Frilly and ruffled.  I have three other crested ferns - these Crested Surf Japanese Maple ferns that I lusted after and finally bought a few years back.  I like that look, so these were a natural fit to experiment with in the garden.  At six bucks a pop, I only bought two, but if they get established, perhaps I can look to add a few more.

Here, below, is what the fronds look like in their container:

I put them in the front of the bed side-by-side.  They are just next to the Autumn Ferns - you can see in the photo below - and at the feet of the new Inaba shidare Japanese Maple.   Sitting next to the Autumn Ferns, I'll be able to see how they do comparatively.

This slice of the garden was more populated with the Ostrich Ferns - it is more sparse now.  But...give it a season or two and I think we'll see an improvement.


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