Is your organic mulch sprouting oddball-looking mushrooms or developing oozing patches of yellow gunk? The recent rains have been a boon to the fungi that live in mulch. You can tell who's who (and learn what to do) from Penn State's online publication, What is Growing in My Landscape Mulch?
Favorite or New Plant
Japanese Painted Fern
Native ferns are wonderful, but so are some of the cultivated ferns available at most garden centers. My favorite is Japanese painted fern (Anthyrium niponicum). This fern brings new hues to my partially shady garden, providing foliage colors that go far beyond green. Japanese painted fern features fronds splashed with silver that really shine when grown near evergreen trees and shrubs. It's adapted to zones 3 to 8, and it returns to my garden year after year with no winter protection at all. These 15-inch-tall plants look great planted in masses, or surrounded by brightly colored impatiens and lobelia.