top of page

Botanist's Lens: Japanese Forest Grass, Sensitive Fern, and Painted Japanese Fern

Fluttering, airy-light and painted foliage of the woodland gardens

Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechola macra) paired with Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckias) in a dappled shade window in the woodland gardens
Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechola macra) paired with Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckias) in a dappled shade window in the woodland gardens

Colorful flowers liven up a deep green garden like a bright full moon in the dark night sky. But then there are sparkly stars too in the night sky that can brighten up even the darkest of the skies. Colored foliage (leaves) are the 'stars' of a deep green woodland garden or any garden for that matter.

Introducing today: our first segment of 'Plant Sale Treasures,' which will feature plants you can buy in our Fall Plant Sale (Sept. 26th): Japanese forest grass, Sensitive fern and Painted Japanese fern. Three excellent choices to brighten up a garden/pots for the entire growing season.

Linear long leaves of Hakonechola grass
Linear long leaves of Hakonechola grass

Shade Loving Japanese Forest Grass

Hakonechola macra, Japanese forest grass, is a shade loving grass! Yes, an ornamental grass that loves the shade; now does this grass need any more selling points?

Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' in dappled shade.
Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' in dappled shade.

Hakone grass works perfectly in a border, giving a lively edge to a bed, but it can also be a good focal point to draw attention. Maintenance free, moist shade loving grass. When the soft winds blow, the long linear fine grass blades seem to dance along. The light airy look of the leaves and its waving in the wind adds ample visual appeal to a garden. More information:

Sensitive Fern

Native Sensitive Fern

Sensitive fern, Onoclea sensibilis, is a native fern. It is a wetland plant indicator, excellent for clay soils, partial or full shade, and loves moist conditions. When planted in the right spot, it can take over and establish itself well. The tall lobed leaf stalks flutter beautifully in the wind and when planted in a mass, they add depths of interest to a woodland garden. More information:

Painted Japanese Fern

Painted Japanese Fern

Saved the best for the last: Painted Japanese fern, Athyrium niponicum. Color, texture, visual appeal, you name it and this fern has it all. Another prefect combination for a moist, shaded woodland garden. The leaves are white-grey green with a red midrib and have a delicate appearance. It pairs well with any deep greens. More information:

Who needs flowers when you have shining bright foliage 'stars' to liven up the deep green shade gardens all year long? Using foliage to add color in a garden is a design principle that is seldom used. Light airy foliage of ferns and grasses can add softness to an otherwise dense thick shade garden.

These plants and many more will be available for purchase during London Town's Fall Plant Sale: Sept. 26th (and Sep.25th for members and volunteers). More info:

Also, check out our member and volunteer pre-order list:


Fall Plant Sale

Member & Volunteer Preview: Friday, September 25, 12:00pm - 4:00pm General Admission: Saturday, September 26, 9:00am - 2:00pm Historic London Town & Gardens 839 Londontown Rd, Edgewater 21037 FREE TO ATTEND! Members & Volunteers get 10% off (Become a member today!)

Our annual sale moves to September! This is an important fundraiser for London Town. All proceeds go to support the gardens at London Town. Thank you for supporting a local 501c3 nonprofit (tax ID: 52-1396159)

What Will You Find At The Sale?

  • Plants hardy to zone 7a and 7b and that do well in heavy clay and sand mix.

  • Plants that are well represented in our gardens and are thriving in various habitats at London Town, including: woodland gardens (filtered shade); rain gardens and ornamental gardens

  • Our stock comes from reputed vendors and is hand picked

  • Part of our plant material is lifted and transplanted form the gardens and is well accustomed to clay/sand mix found at London Town

  • 80% of our stock is exotic plants that are of high botanical and ornamental value. But we will have a few natives too

List of plants for sale will be available in early September. Stay tuned!


Members & Volunteers Only: Plant Sale Pre-Order Members and Volunteers can pre-order select plants from now until August 31st.  Order online here

  • You must be a member or existing volunteer to participate. If not a member already, please join us here.

  • Members & Volunteers receive 10% off all pre-orders and all orders during the Plant Sale.

  • Pick up your order at London Town during the following windows:

    • ​Wednedsay, 09/23: 10:00am - 1:00pm

    • Thursday, 09/24: 10:00am - 1:00pm

    • Friday 09/25: 12:00pm (Noon) - 4:00pm

    • Saturday, 09/26: 9:00am - 2:00pm

  • Questions? Contact us at

159 views0 comments


bottom of page