Friday, February 27, 2009

One of Those Magical Mornings

This was one of those days I thought would be "rained out" in the garden, but it turned out to be pretty productive. The rain held off long enough to get in some of the last winter pruning, we got a bunch of pansies transplanted from the nursery beds up to the front of the house for their spring show, and got a lot of things cleaned up that are starting to flush out for spring.

Everywhere one looks, the plants are "at the starting gate," with tiny flushes of green showing around their bases. Many of those special winter bloomers are blazing with color against the grey and brown landscape, and what seems like hundreds of birds are at the feeders.

Between the heavy downpours this morning, Chuck was roaming around with his camera. Here are a few shots to bring a little bit of warmth to this rainy weekend.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

To Hedge or Not? Sort of like Vanilla & Chocolate

We were having a conversation yesterday about the merits of lorapetalum in its natural form, just growing all over the place, with those great fuschia blossoms (and now in whites, reds, and some other shades). This is the look I have in my own garden, mostly because I have it planted as "exclamation points" around the garden, and it would look a little too fussy if it were sheared.

(I have a picture elsewhere on this blog of "Little Rose Dawn," with its particularly loose form, billowing fuschia blooms all over the place.
All that said, there is definitely beauty in lorapetalum that is kept sheared. I first saw this at Smith Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw, GA, where Dr. Bob Gilbert kept his lorapetalum sheared into a beautiful, formal hedge around a parking area. Part of why this is surprising is that Dr. Bob is definitely not a sheared hedge kinda guy. If anything, he is just the opposite, aiming for plants that grow undisturbed to their full natural size and form.

In my weekday garden, there are many lorapetalum hedges, in different sizes and cultivars. As much as my gardener side says, "Let it be!" I can't deny how much I like the crisp clean look of the hedge with its distinctive burgundy foliage. This garden is decidedly more formal than my own, and it's really the perfect look.

I think I'm going to stop apologizing to the natural-style gardeners about how severely sheared the lorapetalum is, and just enjoy its beauty in both forms....vanilla AND chocolate!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The New Climbing Roses

The garden where I spend most of my days is incredibly beautiful, and was well designed when it was newly installed ten years ago. As a result, my job is made somewhat easier, because I'm really nurturing beautiful things and "tweaking" as plants age and grow. I'm fortunate that the owners of the garden also appreciate that I do as much as I can organically, so it is a garden that actually benefits the surrounding area.

If there is a flaw in the original design, it is the placement of five espaliered camellias on a brick wall in full sun that must reach 110 degrees most afternoons in the summer. At this moment in February, these poor plants are gasping for breath, doing their best to push out some pretty amazing blooms, from their parched and fried trunks.... they are underplanted with vinca, which also struggles and has never looked all that good. (If vinca is struggling, it will give you an idea of how bad this particular spot is for plants).

Anyway, the plan for this summer is to replace the camellias with climbing roses, underplanted with creeping rosemary. For the roses, I'm installing Blush Noisette, which was originally developed in Charleston, SC, in the 1700's. It's a beautiful fragrant rose specifically bred for the heat and humidity of the southeast. Between the Noisettes, I'm planting Snowgoose, which is an amazing white rambler from David Austen.

Finally, we're adding in Clematis Princess Diana, and Clematis Roguchi, which should scramble through the two different roses! Not that I'm a competitive gardener or anything, but I can't wait to see this in summer! Even Patti (the rose hater) has got to like this combo!

The Final Version of the Select Seeds Order

Okay, so I finally sat down and actually ordered the things I "need" from Select Seeds. Go figure, the list is a little longer than originally planned. (Just a note that there is a 5% discount on orders placed by February 28).

I ordered all the things in my last entry about Select Seeds, but here's what I added: "Ballerina Yellow" Datura, to go under the "Betty Marshall" Brugmansia.....I think it's very cool to do the combination of Angel's Trumpet above Devil's Trumpet in one container!
Senecio (Mexican Flame Vine, shown above), which will climb a little iron tuteur in a container

Heliotrope "Frangrant Delight"....pain-in-the-butt plant, but the vanilla fragrance is awesome!

Night Blooming Jasmine.....a magnet for mealy bugs, but a night time fragrance that will knock you over! ( I will be cursing this plant by July, if history is any indicator.....)

Plus some seeds for a really simple new cutting garden we're doing by the house: Cosmas "Rose Bonbon," Zinnia "Benary's Giant Salmon Rose," Zinnia "Oklahoma Mix," and Zinnia "Peppermint Stick.

Lastly, another antique geranium called "Mr. Wren," with has single scarlet flowers edged in white. That's going in a container with a purple trailing geranium I already have called "Taj Mahal" coming in summer!

Now it's off to the Brent & Becky's Catalog, right after I make the credit card payment!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Bad Gardening Day or a Good Day in the Garden?

This has been one of those weekends with "fence sitting weather," which I usually find very frustrating. Yesterday was in the high 50's with tons of sun, and it was one of those days when we gardeners are just chomping at the bit to get a jump start on the season. I kept starting to work in the garden, then would stop and tell myself it was too early to do this or that, since it is going to fall below freezing for the next few nights. I raked the fallen pine needles off the Creeping Jenny, then raked it back over the tender new leaves; I pulled some old leaves out of the crowns of the hydrangeas, saw the bright green new growth, and put the leaves back. After a couple of hours of this dance, I satisfied myself by raking the lawn and making things look at least a little better....I'm much more casual about where Sadie visits during the winter months, so it was definitely time to rake.

Today I was equally frustrated by having to wait for spring to arrive, though far less inclined to be outside working in the garden with the cold winds that arrived overnight. Not wanting to waste the beautiful sunshine, I decided it was the perfect day to just enjoy the garden. I had to stop at the big house to water the greenhouse, and got this photo of the creek bank. These are the most adorable little daffodils (whose name I don't know), which are amongst the first harbingers of spring.

In my own garden, this morning was a great time to see how things have done over the winter, and I was reminded of how many people have contributed. Alice's yarrow is slowing spreading and filling in lots of empty spaces, the irises I dug with Dad last September are coming up in their new Southern home, Phyllis' gloxinia is showing signs of life, the New Dawn Rose that Frank so nervously selected is bigger and stronger than ever.......

My morning stroll was pleasantly interrupted by Alice calling to say, "I've got bags of Japanese Blood Grass here.....any interest?"

I think I'm rather happy that it's too cold to work outside today!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Couple of Great Ideas to Borrow

The March issue of Garden Design magazine arrived in my mailbox today, which means the latter half of the afternoon was a complete "wash." Sadie the Dog agreed that this was the perfect afternoon for a long walk, after which she could sleep on the sofa while I read the new magazine.

There were a couple of new ideas that jumped out at me. First, on page 18, there is a profile of Jasper Van der Zon, the young head designer for the Keukenhof bulb display garden in Holland. He is encouraging a break with traditional bulb planting in favor of a "mixed border" look, which I think is really cool! When I was in the garden early this morning, I was particularly impressed with how beautiful one of the naturalized areas looks, with its mix of hellebores, narcissus, crocus, scilla, and snowdrops. Van der Zon shows a mixture of Fritillaria, Allium, and other summer blooming bulbs, many of which I've added to the garden this year. If my display looks anything like his, I'll be delighted!

In the same magazine, page 56, there is an article about using grasses and sedges in container arrangements. First, it was photographed at Cheekwood, a really beautiful old estate in Nashville (the Maxwell House Coffee family home); if you haven't been there, it's worth the drive. Throughout the article, there are a number of really great arrangements, suitable for a number of different light exposures. I loved the way in which the designers have mixed very contemporary containers and an aging garden, and the way in which the containers replicate plants that are in beds around them. (Notice on page 56, the lambs' ears in the container, as well as in the border.)

If you don't subscribe to Garden Design, you should. But in the meantime, run out and buy the March issue!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wretched Excess and Bramble Ferns

An acquaintance of mine from college days (about 200 years ago), always subscribed to Queen Victoria's idea that "nothing succeeds like wretched excess" In fact, Travis believed this so much that he later developed a very successful party business from that notion. I think the older I get, the more I'm agreeing with him, particularly with reference to the wooded garden area behind my house. This is the same area that Frank regularly looks at and remarks, "What a great place for a swimming pool!"

Since I'm never going to clean a swimming pool, and only mow our little section of lawn because it was already there when we bought the place, the area behind the house is slowly becoming known as the wooded garden. I've cleared out many of the really nasty trees that were threatening to fall down anyway, and I've slowly been adding more things in. Most casual observers would probably call that part of my garden messy, but that's because I'm the only one who knows where the baby treasures are lurking!

At this moment it is raining and gray, but the forsythia is blooming its heart out at the base of the ancient sweetgum tree. Across the yard, the native azalea is getting ready to open soon, the witchhazel is covered with lemon yellow fringe, and the yellow twig dogwoods are positively glowing. I discovered the other day that one of them is the cultivar "Winter Flame (Cornus sanguinea 'Winter Flame'), but I can't tell Cricket, since she is wanting one!

So the point of all of this is that there are lots of great things in my back garden, and their ambundance is adding to my need for STRUCTURE this year. I've had some success controlling myself in the front garden, so now I'm trying to do the same in the back. That's where the Bramble Ferns (Hypolepsis grandulifera) come in! Last night at the GPPA meeting, I picked up twelve of these babies, and can't wait to put them into the ground and watch them take off!

If you're not familiar with Bramble Ferns, go to the website,, and check them out! They'll grow up to five feet tall, spread themselves out, and just fill huge spaces with their fluffy green fronds. I'm hoping that it's going to create a consistent backdrop for some of the specimens in the wooded area....if not, it's going to be my own little version of invasive bamboo!

I'm already excited to discover that they prefer ditches and I don't have to fill in that old ditch in the back! I'm going to call it my "ravine garden"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ami's Aphrodisiac Salad

So we had our "Supper Club" dinner on Saturday, and it seemed appropriate to do a menu revolving around foods with aphrodisiac qualities. Ami's Salad was pretty awesome, and was the perfect foil to a very rich chicken sauced with heavy cream, morel and porcini mushrooms.

This isn't a recipe as much as a method. In Ami's own words: "Arugula is one of the first foods documented as an aphrodisiac, while figs are a symbol of love and fertility. The breaking open of the fig and eating it in front of your lover is said to be a powerful erotic act.

Assemble the salad by laying down a piece of prosciutto on the plate. Then cut 1 fig and place on top of the prosciutto. Toss arugula leaves with balsamic vinaigrette and place atop the prosciutto. Top the salad with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese. I made a balsamic vinaigrette 'Barefoot Contessa'- style with Dijon mustard so it would stick to the leaves a little more than a regular vinaigrette."

This was an amazing winter salad, and great with packaged figs. In August, though, the Peter's Honey Fig Tree in the garden bears a lot of fruits, and true to their name, they are literally dripping sweet juices while still on the tree. When one can beat the birds to them, there are few things as satisfying as eating these figs in the garden, just plucked from the tree, with the sticky juices dripping down one's forearm.
Tell me you're not dying to make this salad now......

Monday, February 16, 2009

Love in the Glasshouse!

How appropriate that on Valentine's Day weekend, there were all sorts of signs of horticultural "activity" in the greenhouse!

First, the Mission Olive trees are blooming, which is really cool. Since I was raised in New England, olive trees aren't something I'm used to seeing in bloom (or seeing at all, for that matter). We got them last year to anchor two planted islands in the vegetable garden, and I dragged them inside for the winter. I've been told they'll be fine as long as the temps stay above 20 degrees, but these are one of those special plants that gets babied. The color of the tiny blooms is unbelievably intense, particularly against the olive green of the leaves. To give an idea of the bloom size, the leaves on these trees are only about 1-1/2 inches long. (The bottom picture, above)
The other plants that seem to have gone hormonally crazy are the Villages Lemon Trees.....check out the number of blossoms on that baby! (The top photo)

These two plants, the begonias that are shooting up new stems of blooms every day, the remedial amaryllis, and the walking irises are turning the greenhouse into a virtual floral festival! Eat your heart out, Atlanta Botanical Garden!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Gardenia, Two Lorapetalums, A Hydrangea, and a Rose

I had the chance to run in to the Southeastern Nursery Show late Friday afternoon as things were wrapping up, but was glad that I did! Probably as a result of the economy and the ongoing drought, the show was definitely smaller than in previous years, but there were some special plants to be found in many of the displays. I got to spend some time chatting with Mike Sikes from McCorkle Nurseries, and really fell in love with some of their new introductions.
The Heaven Scent Gardenia is new for this year, and is pretty fabulous! Reblooming, covered with blooms (that were forced for the show), nice fragrance, and a great form. The interesting twist to this little gardenia (matures at 3 to 4 feet) are the great seed pods that turn from yellow to orange to red through the winter, when most gardenias aren't at their most attractive.
Carolina Moonlight Lorapetalum is on my "gotta have it" list for this year. White blooms rather than the usual pink-red, with an olive green leaf. I'm never 100% convinced when I'm told what the mature size will be on a lorapetalum, but this one is supposed to max out at 7 to 8 feet. I have the perfect place to put an informal hedge of five plants!

The "Little Rose Dawn" Lorapetalum isn't new for 2009, but still relatively new on the market (I actually won mine as a doorprize at the GMGA Conference in Athens in January 0f 2008). It has done beautifully at my house, even with this roller coaster weather of the past year, and is starting to show the unusual branching pattern that this cultivar is noted for. One of my favorite plants is the Doublefile Viburnum because of its beautiful "layered branching," and this particular lorapetalum seems to be doing the same thing. It grows wide rather than tall (it's supposed to become pretty massive at 7 feet tall and 15 feet wide)...sort of loose and fluffy looking like a Van Houteii Spirea....picture above.

There is a new hydrangea that will most definitely make it into my garden this season. "Twist-n-Shout" is the newest in the Endless Summer series. My plant snob side always pooh-poohs things like Endless Summer, but this is a pretty awesome plant, and it's a reblooming lace cap....will let you know in August if I'm still so smitten with it!

Lastly, the "Amber" Flower Carpet Rose is just beautiful! Can't wait to use it in hanging baskets off the side of the bridge that goes over the creek! Blooms late spring through late fall, and I'm going to mix it in those baskets with Diamond Frost Euphorbia and Marguerite Sweet Potato's going to be like a perpetual bouquet of roses, I hope! (Check out the photo above)

McCorkle doesn't sell retail, but I know Buck Jones carries most of their lines, and I'm sure many retailers will have them this season. It's the rose in the pink pot and the hydrangea in the blue one.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Magic Created by Garden Rooms

(Click the photo to enlarge, if you'd like)
Today was one of those days that come in mid-winter, when I know the weather won't stay like this, so I appreciate it even more. It was in the mid-60's, but there was enough of a blustery wind to remind me that it is definitely still February. The temperatures have been in the 50's and above for about a week now, so the spring flowers are starting to really show off in the garden.

I was walking through the garden early this morning, and came to the area that is named "Zone 35" on my official work list, but which we all call "the white swing." Most everyone knows that I have huge respect for the original landscape architect, and this area is one that has matured very beautifully over ten years. The additions I've made recently "garnish" this area in a way that I hope compliments the original design.

At this time of year, the white swing area is distinctly blue and white, although one wouldn't probably say that at most other times. I've attached a photo of this garden room taken last June, which shows the more wooded, dark green cast that it has most of the year.

This little area really demonstrates the beautiful magic that comes from dividing the garden into smaller "rooms." The garden in total is more than 4 acres, so it sometimes feels just massive; having little rooms like this brings things down to a more intimate scale. Since the deciduous shrubs are now bare and have been pruned back, what is left is the gray Crab Orchard stone, the pristine glossy white of the classic swing, and the distinct blues of the Vanderwolf Pine, the Carolina Blue Sapphire, and some Blue Atlas Cedars that are out of view in this shot. I realize I need to take a winter photo as I'm reading this back, since you also can't see the dozens of snowdrops and white pansies that lead up to the swing. It really is the perfect place to sit with a book to enjoy the unusually warm February day in complete solitude. Hopefully you're enjoying this beautiful season, as well.....

Monday, February 9, 2009

Support Your Local Garden Center!

Many of you know that I maintain the plants at a penthouse residence in B'head, which is, in and of itself, a pretty awesome gardening experience. Do you have any idea what it's like to maintain an Italian cypress in the sun and wind of the 42nd floor? Needless to say, lots of stuff froze solid during last week's cold snap, so I'm hoping things will revive a little bit with this week's thaw.

I was driving around that area today on a quest for one perfect large rosemary plant, and ended up in several different nurseries that I haven't visited in a little while. Between the combination of last week's weather, the season, the drought and the economy, the visits were depressing on one hand, inspirational on the other.

The big orange box store had virtually nothing in stock, short of some shell-shocked pansies and the promise of lots of deliveries coming in daily.

Hastings' in Brookhaven was a little better, but virtually everything there was an indoor plant. Since I readily kill orchids (not on purpose), I didn't spend a dime. It was a good visit, though, since the sun was shining, it was in the mid 60's and there were tons of worker bees running around getting ready for spring shipments. They did have some cool "pot feet" for only $3 each....those of you who shop at Hastings know that $3 usually buys a bottle of water there!...though their plants are pretty fabulous usually.

Over at Ashe-Simpson Garden Center, it was pretty depressing from the street with the plastic shrouding the plant area, but inside was as cool as ever. The ladies had moved all of the camellias, daphnes, etc., into the cold greenhouse, so it was just bursting with color and fragrance! If you aren't familiar with Ashe-Simpson, you need to go there. Carole, Rosemary and crew are extremely knowledgeable, and just plain "good people."

So my point, four paragraphs later, is SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GARDEN CENTER! There were lots of comments at last week's flower show that things were smaller this year. The truth is that some of the boutique companies are having a hard time making ends meet, much less spending thousands on these shows.

In times like these, with weather like we've had the past couple of years, many of these smaller companies are having a tough time holding on; others, like Perennial Grace, just couldn't keep going for another season, and will be sadly missed in Atlanta. We count on them to introduce new cultivars, give us endless amounts of free advice, listen to our whining, and save the best plants for us personally, so we need to spend some money with them! Consider it your local version of the economic recovery plan! Who couldn't use just one more (fill in the blank) in the garden this year?

Friday, February 6, 2009

I think I'm Beginning to Defrost!

If you are in Atlanta, and you weren't out in your garden today, you missed an amazing opportunity! This was one of those days that felt like spring actually could be coming soon.

The pansies look like tiny little green lumps from this ridiculous roller coaster weather, but we're hoping that today's deadheading and a good boost of Pansy Booster (along with some warm weather) will put them back on track. I used Delta True Yellow, Delta True Primrose, and Imperial Antique Shades this year. So far the Delta cultivars are doing a whole lot better than the Antique Shades, but we'll see what things look like in a month or so. I have mentioned before that I get my pansies from Kelli Green in East Cobb, and they never lead me astray, so I'm confident things will perk up as spring approaches.

I went a little crazy last fall with bulbs, and now the garden is like one giant popping bulb! The Crown Imperial just poked through the ground, the crocuses are starting to bloom (for some reason the yellow always comes first), tulips are a couple of inches tall, and there are daffodils everywhere! Irises are showing signs of life, as are the leucojem (one of my favorites!)

The first of the Scilla have started to bloom, and they're pretty adorable. Patti and I were walking along this afternoon, and it looked as though there were cherry blossoms that had dropped all over the ground. Since Patti is much more logical than I, she pointed out that (1) there isn't a cherry tree in that part of the garden; and (2) the cherry trees aren't blooming yet. If you haven't grown these before, I would encourage you to consider them. Obviously they are very early bloomers, in shades of icy white and blue, with a little pink touch here and there. (There's a picture here from Van Engelen, the company where we bought them. Ours have almost no leaves, though, just the blossoms!)

The poor koi were under a thin coat of ice this morning, and you could see them huddled together, just their lips moving every thirty seconds or afternoon the sun had hit them, the ice was gone, and they were starting to slowly glide around the bottom of the pond. They're still a little slow for the next couple of months, but obviously enjoyed the sunshine and warmth today.

The days are getting longer, and things in the greenhouse are starting to explode all over the place! The mandevilla has looked sad (to say the least) for the past couple of months, but must have grown two feet in the past week. The lemon trees are in full bloom, and the scent is intoxicating when I open the door in the morning! The Cup & Saucer Vine doesn't seem to know it's winter, and continues to grow up the wall and over the glass ceiling! All of the Rex Begonias are also excited about the days getting longer, and have started shooting up those fabulous shooting blossoms!

Only a few more days until we plant the peas!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Any Big Plans for 2009?

One of the bloggers that I follow has a list of winter projects that she reviews in the winter. Since she's in the great frozen north, that winter is much longer than ours (thank goodness!). The premise is the same, however, and one I thought was worth pursuing more.

Do you have any major plan for your garden this season? Anything you've identified as "missing" in your garden world?


As much as I would like to be organized in my plant purchases, I am inevitably drawn to those "I really need one of those" purchases, that manage to stay in pots behind the house for weeks or months until I discover the PERFECT spot for them. Mike Francis (the Japanese maple guru) accused me (unfairly, of course) at this year's Southeastern Flower Show of redefining "competitive gardening" with my purchase of the Aurea pine, and my delight when he ran out of them shortly after my purchase!

In any case, over the past few years, the perennial bed has gone from a specific color driven design to a "mixed border," to a somewhat hodgepodge collection of things that all happen to like sun. A few "must have" hellebores, a daphne odora and some sweet woodruff plants have found their ways into the "only ferns" bed by the front door. The Japanese maple island seems to have discovered a couple of exotic hydrangeas and a dogwood or get the picture.

All that said, my commitment this year is to add some STRUCTURE to my garden, which is affectionately called the step child. I'm sure by September it will look like Versailles......maybe with a couple of quirks.......(Check out the photo of a "redneck Stonehenge".....that's my fantasy!)
So what are your major plans this year?

Forsythia Mornings

Every year at about this time, I'm certain that we're breaking records for "ridiculous cold" in Georgia, and question if it's warmer here than in New England. Fortunately I'll come to my senses soon (about the time it reaches 65 degrees this weekend), but that doesn't change the fact that I'm chilled to the bone right now. This is definitely one of those mornings to climb back under the covers with that first cup of coffee.

What a treat to look out the window this morning (while waiting for the coffee), to see the first blooms on the forsythia outside the breakfast room! It's one of my favorite shrubs, probably because my parents have a giant old forsythia next to the ancient swings. It seems that no matter how miserable the weather, the forsythia is going to bloom its heart out in the midst of winter. Everything is gray and brown, and in the midst of it all, there is a blast of lemon yellow blossoms!

It isn't elegant like the redbuds and daffodils, and it doesn't have that amazing fragrance like Daphne Odoroa; it's just there in its big old unpruned glory! Just when it seems like winter can't get any more gray, the forsythia reminds me that spring is definitely on its way!

Monday, February 2, 2009

A "Sense of Place" in Gardening

I'm finally able to wrap up some things from the Southeastern Flower Show, though my garage still contains a giant tub of plants sitting in moist soil that came out of a number of different containers; one of tomorrow's projects is repotting those things to utilize them in some cool summer display.
I spent much more time at the show this year than I typically do, which gave me the opportunity to really look at some of the awesome exhibits in great detail. The show was smaller this year, but I felt it was much more appealing in lots of ways, as well.

On one of my many forays into the bookseller's booth, I picked up a book called "Great Gardens Great Designers," which starts out talking about how people changed their style of gardening in England at the turn of the last century; specifically they were responding to the Victorian collecting of exotics, and moving in a direction that was geared more to native plants, hardy plants, etc., that were more typical of England. The lightbulb went off for me that this is the same pattern we're seeing now, and it's why there was a certain comfort in this year's display gardens at the SEFS.

It was a treat to see so many gardens that were realistic for Atlanta, and weren't a collection of exotics that need to be disassembled in September to be crammed into the greenhouse for the winter. It seemed that many of the designers featured more of the things that do really well here -- lorapetalum in a million forms, lots of conifers that have proven their value here, azaleas, rhododendrons, gardenias, and such. It was also great to see very little turf being used in the display gardens....let's face it, there is nothing easy about growing a great lawn in Atlanta! What a radical idea to promote plants that actually do well here! Why not have a garden that identifies itself as an Atlanta style, rather than tropical, Mediterranean, or desert?

I was very proud to have only purchased two new plants for my garden at this year's show. First I got an amazing pine (Pinus densiflora "Aurea") with chartreuse needles that is going to be amazing against a backdrop of magnolias and hollies in my garden; second, I got several "Bramble Ferns," which are native. Anyone who know me is clear that I'm not one of the native plant geeks, but this fern is just beautiful, growing about 3 feet tall in and around camellias, pines, azaleas, etc. It's my new filler plant, to bring some sense of order to my wooded if that's possible.....