Not really looking like a fern at all, Athyrium filix-femina 'Frizzeliae', the Tatting Fern, is a must-have cultivar with highly unusual and very exotic-looking fronds. Arranged along the rachis in an alternating pattern the pinnae have been reduced to small fan-shaped leaflets that have a ruffled crinkle-cut edge and give the resemblance of delicate vintage lace cuffs that have been dyed a bright green. As the plant grows and begins to reach a reasonable size the gently arching fronds begin to take on the appearance of a bizarre half-buried botanical head-dress or the vegetal antennae of some alien life-form lying low in the undergrowth.
Athyrium filix-femina 'Frizzeliae' was discovered in 1857 during the time of Victorian pteridomania by Mrs Frizzel in her garden in County Wicklow, Eire. This was also a period when hand-made lace and tatting were very fashionable and the resemblance of the fern's unusual fronds to the decorative collars, cuffs and doilies so popular at the time give the fern its common name.
It is easily grown in any moist humus-rich soil and its exotic good-looks makes a perfect imaginative planting combination with any number of plants. To my eye, it looks best with non-ferns where its strangeness seems all the more so.
|Cultivation||Moist humus-rich soil. Half-shade to full shade|
|Eventual Height||50 cm|
|Eventual Spread||60 cm|
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