Lady Fern: Athyrium filix Femina is a feathery species of fern with long fronds. It is native to the northern hemisphere. The Lady Fern is often grown for decoration and thrives in damp and shady woodland environments. It has an elegant and graceful appearance, and its reproductive structures are concealed inconspicuously on the fronds. The Lady Fern is typically divided into two species, the narrow lady fern, and the southern lady fern. The southern lady ferns base has a broader fond. Both species have fronds that come out of a central point as a clump. The deciduous fronds are 7 to 35 inches long, 2 to 9 inches broad, and light yellowish-green color. Spores are yellow on the narrow lady fern and dark brown on the southern lady fern. They thrive in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9. Lady Ferns have low growth and spreading tendency and are typically used to fill gaps between shrubs and under trees. They adapt well to pots and small landscapes. Lady Ferns require full to partial shade and wet to constantly moist soil conditions. They have a relatively fast growth rate and are deer resistant. When being used in a garden, a regular watering schedule needs to be followed to establish a deep root system. It is also suggested to cut back old fronds in the spring to encourage new growth. Caring for Lady Ferns in your garden is not difficult once you have planted them in a good spot and they have a chance to establish a root system. Springtime is the best time to divide lady ferms. Prepare your soil by properly fertilizing it and plant your divided Lady Ferns. The Lady Fern has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Virginia Creeper - Parthenocissus quinquefolia
The Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is referred to as the five fingers or the five leaved ivy. It is a flowering plant from the grape family. It is commonly used as an ornamental plant due to its ability to cover many surfaces relatively quickly. The Virginia creeper is deciduous, which means it sheds its leaves annually. It is a prolific climber and climbs to 66 to 98 feet when left undisturbed in the wild. The Virginia creeper has strongly adhesive pads at the tip of its tiny fork-tipped tendrils that help it climb and adhere to smooth surfaces. The Virginia creeper leaves are typically 1 to 8 inches in width and are produced in five-leaf leaflets that emerge from a central stalk. Sometimes the Virginia creeper can be mistaken for poison ivy. It is important to remember that though they have the same coloring, the creeper has five leaves, and the poison ivy has three. There is a sentence to remember when hiking in nature "leaves of three, let it be." Sometimes the creeper's leaves will turn a vibrant red, yellow, or orange during the fall. The flowers of the Virginia creeper are produced in clusters and are small and greenish. The flowers have dark purple berries nearly black in the late summer and early fall. The berries provide a source of winter food for birds but can cause kidney damage in humans and should not be consumed. When using this plant for landscape, it is essential to remember that it can choke out other plants and limit their light source because of its climbing nature and spreading leaves. Creeper is commonly seen covering houses, light poles, and stone garden walls.
Golden Poppy - Eschscholzia californica
The Golden Poppy (Eschscholzia California) is also referred to as the California poppy or the cup of gold. The Golden Poppy is an ornamental plant that is native to the United States and Mexico. It became the official state flower of California in 1903. This plant can be used medicinally and in cooking. It is used medicinally by Native Americans, and its extract can be smoked, which will provide a slightly sedative effect. The pollen produced from the Golden poppy can be found in some cosmetics, and the seeds are often used in cooking. The California poppy grows best in full sun-poor soil conditions that are well-drained and sandy.
At the height of its blooming season, the golden poppy produces vibrant orange flowers. This perennial can grow anywhere from five to sixty inches in height. The poppy leaves are divided into alternating round segments. They produce a branching foliate that can appear to be a blue-green color—each poppy stem produces one solitary flower. The flower contains four silky-textured petals. Each petal can range from two to six centimeters long. Though vibrant orange is the most common color of the Golden Poppy flower, it can also be found in yellow and red. The golden poppy will flower in the northern hemisphere from spring to autumn. The petals of the poppy will close at night, on cloudy days, or in cold weather. The golden poppy produces a capsule that is one to three and a half inches long. When this capsule is split in half, it will release numerous poppy seeds. Poppy seeds are commonly used in baking. The golden poppy is very tolerant of drought and is a self-seeding plant. Poppys are relatively easy to cultivate and are widely found in wildflower seed mixes across the United States. Poppys will brighten up landscaping with their vibrant colors.
Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata) is commonly referred to as garden myrrh, cicely, and sweet chervil. Cicely is a herbaceous perennial plant that is part of the celery family. Depending on environmental and soil circumstances, this plant can grow up to six feet in height. The leaves are fern-like. They have a feathery appearance and can grow up to fifty centimeters long. Sweet Cicely is a soft and hairy textured plant. When crushed, it has a strong aniseed scent. The flowers of the sweet cicely are produced in umbels, and they are a creamy white color and about 2 to 4 millimeters across. Sweet Cicely commonly flowers throughout May and June. Cicely is most commonly found in eastern Scotland and northern England. It grows freely along roadsides, riverbanks, and woodlands. The leaves of the sweet cicely taste similar to anise and can be consumed raw or cooked. The roots and seeds are also consumable, and this plant has been considered a medicinal herb. Sweet Cicely can easily be grown from seeds. When in bloom, the cicely flowers produce a myrrh-type scent which is why it has also been referred to as garden myrrh. The fresh root can be taken in brandy and water or eaten freely to help with upset stomach, flatulence, and coughs. The leaves taste as if they have been coated with sugar. It can also ease the pain of gout. Sweet Cicely flowers produce a dark brown fruit that is about an inch in length and is edible. Due to its sweet-tasting nature and abundance of flowers, the sweet cicely has been known to attract bees. In addition to growing in the wild, it is also a widespread garden plant in England and Germany due to its medicinal properties.