About this cultivar:
Athyrium filix-femina 'Frizelliae' is a dwarf, deciduous cultivar which features very narrow fronds with rounded, ball-like pinnae attached to the midrib somewhat like a string of beads. This features gives rise to the common name of tatting fern for this cultivar, notwithstanding the fact that the species and other cultivars thereunder are commonly called lady ferns! It's a most unusual cultivar, but can be unstable, so that the leaves may normalise with age with less of the beaded-necklace look.
The specific epithet comes from Latin filix meaning fern and femina meaning woman, hence the common name of lady fern.
The Tatting Fern first appeared in Victorian times when both ferns and tatting were all the rage. Found by Mrs. Frizell in 1857, growing between boulders on the Avonmore River at Castle Kevin (or, other sources say, her garden) in County Wicklow, Ireland. Mrs Frizell first noticed it in 1857 and two years later dug it up and sometime after presented it to Trinity College Botanic Garden. The tatting fern is still known to most avid gardeners. A great selection for a shady area in need of a small but easy-to-grow fern. Rock gardens, woodland gardens, shaded border fronts or shade gardens. Also effective in shaded areas along streams or ponds.
- Position: Partial shade, Full shade
- Soil: Almost any soil - grows well in Ballyrobert!
- Flowers: Non-flowering, but interest January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
- Other features: Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit (RHS AGM), Suitable for Container, Woodland Plant, Interesting Foliage or Fruit
- Hardiness: H6 - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe (-20 to -15°C), Fully hardy - grows well in Ballyrobert!
- Habit: Clump forming, Bushy
- Foliage: Deciduous
- Height: 15 - 25 cm (0.5 - 1 ft)
- Spread: 15 - 25 cm (0.5 - 1 ft)
- Time to full growth: 2 to 5 years
- Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial, Fern
- Colour: Green
- Goes well with: -
About this genus:
Athyrium (Lady ferns) have long been valued (case in point: the Victorian fern craze) for being an easy-to-grow and spectacular looking genus of, tough, deciduous, garden ferns. Although the Japanese painted fern, Athyrium niponicum, was only used in the garden relatively recently it is now the most popular species.
The sheer volume of named cultivars of Athyrium for sale is incredible. Despite the popularity of the genus Athyrium most gardeners have never grown more than a fraction of the 80-plus species
As mentioned, Athyrium niponicum is also extremely popular and was selected as the 2004 Perennial Plant of the Year. Many wonderful cultivars are around because of the diversity of the foliage colour.
As you can imagine by their popularity, most members of the genus Athyrium are quite easy to grow in a wide variety of garden conditions. Despite a reputation as shade-only plants many Athyrium will do well in sun as long as there is enough moisture to stop them drying out (think: they are often grown and displayed in hot, humid, sunny, glass houses aren't they!!!?)