I believe it was Gertrude Jekyll who once said, "Remember green is a color, too!" And how right she was. For me, green is the most pleasing and restful color with such a cooling effect. While I must have over ten different ferns in my garden the Southern shield fern (Thelpteris kunthii) has to be one of the most satisfying. So carefree, it always gives a fresh, cool impression, even on the hottest of days. While they are herbaceous and die back to the ground in winter, I have seen them green and vibrant well into December. In my own garden, I allow the plant’s winter form to remain. After the first freeze, the fronds become a lovely cinnamon brown and are handsome on cold mornings with the hoary white frost coating them. So for me, their interest in the garden extends well past their growing season.
Ferns such as the Southern shield fern can be generous beyond compare, as they will multiply freely making them available for any one growing them to share with friends and neighbors.