Friday, October 23, 2009

More Ferns

I know I talked about ferns yesterday, but I guess I’m feeling a little ferny this week because I’m going to talk about them again. If you object, please voice your concerns now. Now meaning the now as I type, not the now as you’re reading this. I’ve mentioned before that I really like ferns and I especially like ferns, such as this Ebony Spleenwort, Asplenium platyneuron, when they grow out of little cracks and holes on a rock cliff face.

Yes, I realize this fern isn’t growing out of a rock cliff. I just said I liked it when ferns grow that way. The problem is that Blue Jay Barrens doesn’t have any suitable rock cliffs, but if you look closely at this fern, you’ll see that it is behaving in the same manner as its cliff dwelling relatives.

All it takes is a little moisture and a bit of satisfactory rooting medium and a fern can begin to grow just about anywhere. The growing plant adds to its soil base as leaves and roots decompose. Bits of organic matter are trapped by the roots and stems and further improve the growing conditions. The fern is like a homesteader proving a piece of ground. In time a secure and prosperous home is established.

So you might consider the base of this tree to represent the cliffs of Blue Jay Barrens. Or you might decide I just don’t have a fern grasp on reality.

Although not as exciting as finding a new fern, I found a second population of a fern uncommon to Blue Jay Barrens. Here’s my new little patch of terra ferna with a really nice spread of Maidenhair Fern, Adiantum pedatum. There’s even a slab of limestone sticking out of the hillside to improve the aesthetics.

The only other population I have is growing right along the property line fence. That’s not the safest location for a plant to be growing. Maidenhair Ferns always look so fragile and I’ve always worried that something might happen to that property line population. I’m glad to know that this fern is more secure than I imagined.

1 comment:

  1. the fern posts! I saw a lot growing out of the cliffs in Hocking Hills this summer. This summer in Savannah, I also saw ferns growing on the sides of a building. They were beautiful.