Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Ferns - They Grow Wild Up Here

My husband is a fern whisperer. Where nothing else might grow in our various yards - side, upper, back and front - our ferns grow like wildfire and take over so quickly that they are almost an alien population taking over the earth. I don't know how he does it, but they grow and populate and expand and grow some more. At the height of the summer, they are easily waist high and a solid phalanx against the grass. 

This photo of ostrich ferns could easily be from my yard, but it's not.
They grow abundantly and they can be up to four feet tall. The
photographer, Peter Dzuik, was married to an acquaintance of mine,
and has photographed Minnesota plant life for many years. 

I originally came from a much dryer climate and ferns were exotic mysteries. We would travel to garden centers and carefully purchase hanging baskets of ferns that we would hang in our kitchens or bathrooms or places where we got high sun. We would faithfully water the plants and they would, eventually, grow to drape over the sides of the hanging pots, only to die back and then never come up again. 

Bracken ferns like sandy soils and we certainly have that to
offer. They are a bit more horizontal than the ostrich ferns, which
leads me to think that we have ostrich rather than these. Still,
we could have either. I've not studied our ferns closely enough
to tell for sure. 

The first time I saw a fern in the wild, while DH and I were hiking through one of the state parks up here, I stopped short and couldn't stop looking at the little plant with amazement. DH looked at me like I had lost my mind - perhaps he was right. That's always been in question. He shook his head and proceeded to explain to me that ferns growing wild up here in the Frozen Northlands was normal and expected. I had never lived in a climate that had humidity levels supporting ferns. It was magical. 

Maidenhair ferns are often sold as houseplants because they
drape attractively over the sides of their containers. We get
those growing wild up here too, but I don't have any of them in
my yard or my house. 

I think the yard is populated by either ostrich ferns or bracken ferns, and I'm leaning toward ostrich ferns. These can easily grow to four feet high and that's about right for what we have growing in our upper side yard. Whenever DH wants to cover an area of vacant dirt, he transplants ferns and they take over within a year or two. I'm already seeing the growth of ferns he transplanted into our newly landscaped areas late last year. Soon I'll reside in the middle of a fern ocean. 

The only plant I have living inside of my house is a philodendron. I
nicknamed it the "Immortal Philodendron" because it truly never
dies. We purchased our house late in 1986 and the realtor said
she watered the plant when she remembered, but it wasn't
frequent. I also water it when I remember, I've repotted it once,
and I've never done anything else. The fact that the plant still
lives after more than 30 years of indifferent care astounds me. 

I'm off and running - have to get my swimming in. I think I'll use my "Free Bagel with Cream Cheese" coupon today, pick up my free cupcake on the way to work tomorrow, and have my free pie on Friday morning since Friday is my actual birthday. If I space out the free food a bit, I may not be wearing it all on my hips for long. LOL Happy Wednesday to all and I'll be back tomorrow. I'll leave you with pictures of ferns. 

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