Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Baby Ferns

A neat and curious thing happens when you've been gardening in the same place for a number of years. You not only have the plants that you intentionally planted in your garden, but over time you begin to have their children and grandchildren too. We often find baby hostas hiding under larger ones, and there always seem to be daylily babies. The give-away with the daylilies is when you have a clump of say, purple flowers, and all of a sudden there is a tall white one in the center. Who knows where the seed came from??? If it's something I especially like, I'll transplant it to another place. If it's nice, but not all that special, I'll dig it and give it away. I've given away a whole bunch through freecycle this year. I think I kind of overwhelmed some of the people with the quantity I was willing to give (an overflowing wheelbarrow) when they were expecting a couple of small plants. I just think that if they're going to drive all the way out to the country to pick them up, they should get enough to make the trip worthwhile.
Anyway, the thing I find the cutest are the baby ferns. I'm not talking about those stoloniferous kinds that spread all around, but those that spread by spores. I've thought about trying to start some myself from spores, but haven't gotten around to that yet. Not that it's hard, but you have to be able to focus and keep an eye on them, and right now, there's too much happening around here to add another chore to my list.

This first picture is of some baby Japanese Painted Ferns, Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum'. These appeared this spring under one of the shelves where our plants that we have for sale are kept. No ferns have been in that spot for a couple of years, but here are the babies. The biggest of these is probably about 3 inches long/tall now. Next year when they come back they will be full sized plants and I'll either transplant them or pot them up.

This picture was taken over at Lake Amanda, across the bridge from the main gardens. The one on the left is another Japanese Painted Fern, and I think the one on the right is probably a Christmas Fern, but they're still too tiny to be sure. These just appeared next to a rock at the edge of the path. What I find most amazing with the baby ferns is the wonderful places they appear - places you might like them but could never successfully transplant them, like between 2 rocks with practically no soil. Serendipity might be a good word for this. No matter what you call it, surprise plants are always fun to find growing in your garden. We also get babies on Goldie's Fern sometimes.
I'll be back in a few days, once I finish canning the 100 pounds of tomatoes and 20 pounds of cucumbers (bread and butter pickles) that are sitting in my kitchen.

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