MLK Quote

MLK Quote

Nature's Inspiration Movie -- Nature's Inspiration Movie: The photographs in this short video are from award-winning photographer, Ken Jenkins, and they are breathtaking. However, this video is much more than beautiful photographs! Peggy Anderson has compiled beautiful quotations from the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and many others that truly capture the beauty of nature and solitude. Absolute must watch for nature lovers.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ferns And More Ferns

I have been away from the blog-world for a long time. So, I should first apologize to my regular readers. Life is a bit crazy this year as my university is having lots of changes. Being a full-time professor with all sorts of scholarship, research and teaching duties, I hardly find time. But, time is becoming a more valuable commodity to me now as I have to become part of various committees overlooking all these changes. But today I promised myself to take a break from all these work and attend the monthly meeting of our local garden-club. Anybody living in New Jersey should check out Rockaway Valley Garden Club. It's a fantastic club with great programs and truly wonderful people who are so knowledgeable about plants, gardens and gardening.

In today's meeting, the talk was on Ferns And Their Shady Friends by Marc Zukovich. He is the professor of Horticulture in Morris County College, and also the owner of Sterling Horticultural Services. I love ferns as they are considered one of the oldest living organisms, that is they have been on the earth for more than 300 million years. They are considered some of the very first complex living organisms to have evolved on earth. They are true living fossils. Only if they could talk, how much we were going to learn about the evolution of our dear planet. It is estimated that there are about 11,000 fern species, found in every nook and cranny in the world including Arctic. I am not sure if they are found in Antarctica, anyone knows?

I have quite a few ferns in my garden. They grow along with other shade-loving plants like Heuchera, Foam-flower, Mist-flower, Brunnera, Larkspur, Hostas, Hellebor and some more. Shade-gardening is one of my passions. Here are some pictures of my ferns. My ferns are all babies, only one to two years old. So, they have not matured yet.

The pictures are those of, left to right, Japanese Painted Fern, Cinnamon Fern, Unknown Fern, Christmas Fern. It is said that Cinnamon Fern grows only along stream-banks or in bogs. I don't have either of them. I am growing them in raised bed in a soil that is full of organic matter. They are growing fine. Ferns should always be grown in damp soil. The soil should not be moist or wet but damp to the touch. And, you can achieve that by using soil that is full of organic matter like compost and leaf-mold.

The pictures from left to right are: Lady in Red. As this fern matures, it stems should become bright red, and that's why it has such a name. Dixie Wood Fern, Autumn Fern and the last one is either a baby Ostrich-Glade Fern or Maidenhair Fern. Autumn Fern, as the name suggests, has autumn-colored Orangish fronds. I also have a very sad looking indoor Boston Fern. Boston Fern is a non-hardy fern. Ferns can be either hardy or non-hardy. Among the 11,000 Fern-species, only about hundred or so are found in cooler climates of Asia, Europe and America. The rest are all found in tropical or sub-tropical climates.

Here are some interesting facts that I learned in today's meeting:
  • Many ferns can be grown in full-sun if the soil is kept moist.
  • Ferns do not like fertilizers; they prefer rich, humus soil and organic matter.
  • If a fern start dying, then it rarely bounce back.
  • As cooler weather sets in, the fronds of your ferns dry up and become dry and dead. However, do not take them out before winter. Leave them as it is as they provide protection to the roots below. Clean them up only in Spring.
  • There is an American Fern Society

  • Here are some ferns for color: Adiantum Hispidulum, Athyrium Brandford Beauty, Athyrium Ghost, Athyrium Niponicum Pictum, Athyrium Otophorum, Blechnum Chilense, Blechnum Novae-Zelandiae, Blechnum Penna-Marina, Dryopteris Erythrosora, Dryopteris Lepidopoda, Dryopteris Wallichiana, Osmundo Regalis Purpurascens, Woodwardia Orientalis, Woodwardia Unigemmata, Woodwardia Virginica. I got the list from a hand-out given by Professor Zukovich.

    Ferns with a clumping habit: Adiantum Aleuticum, Adiantum Pedatum, Athyrium Otophorum, Dryopteris Affinis, Dryopteris Australis, Dryopteris Complexa, Dryopteris Erythrosora, Dryopteris Filix-Mas, Dryopteris Intermedia, Polystichum Munitum, Polystichum Polyblepharum, Polystichum Setiferum. The list is obtained from the hand-out.

    Spreading Groundcover Ferns: Adiantum Venustum, Blechnum Chilense, Blechnum Penna-Marina, Dennstaedtia Punctilobula, Gymnocarpium Disjunctum, Gymnocarpium Dryopteris, Matteuccia Struthiopteris, Onoclea Sensibilis, Phegopteris Decursive-Pinnata, Thelypteris Kunthii, Woodwardia Areolata. The list is obtained from the hand-out.

    So, it seems I have a long list of ferns to buy. Those who do only edible-garden, you can also grow fern -- Ostrich Fern -- as the fiddleheads of Ostrich Fern are edible. Between January to May (sometimes even a little later), you can find them being sold in places like Whole Foods. So, do you grow fern? What sorts of fern do you grow?

    Before I end, here is a fascinating article about a fern, that's so small that many of them can fit on your fingernail, responsible for saving our planet and about an extraordinary woman Azolla. I'm joining in the memes hosted by Eileen,  Rambling WoodsSt Germain's meme.