Photos by Laura Arsie

Athyrium niponicumJAPANESE PAINTED FERN (Athyrium niponicum)

The metallic sheen of these fronds held on wine-red stems (called stipes) is captivating. Some of the lovely new cultivars include ?Pictum? with a pewter look; the silvery ?Ghost?, a cross between A. n. ?Pictum? and lady fern (A. filix-femina); and ?Pewter Lace? (pictured) with a contrasting dark central zone. Zone 4.

Combine with: ?Excalibur? lungwort (Pulmonaria ?Excalibur?) for a dense silver layer; burgundy coralbells (Heuchera) to pick up the red of the stems; or blue hostas such as ?Halcyon? or ?Hadspen Blue?.