Here’s my latest plug for the magnificence of nature and all the exquisite shapes, colours and textures that are there to be admired…if we take the time to notice. Each year I like to learn a little more about ferns and how to distinguish them. While nothing can replace experiencing nature first hand with our physical senses, I’ve found that taking photographs is a great way to help me discover. I look with my eye, then through the camera lense, then at the image magnified on the screen of my computer. I go out again, newly inspired by what I’ve noticed or by what I’d like to learn, and on it goes.
Below are some of the different ferns unfurling in our wildlife-friendly demonstration garden, in particular the shade beds at the front of the building.
The ostrich fern is always so vibrantly green from the outset, with an orangey-brown papery sheath that becomes less and less apparent as the fronds grow tall and feathery. They are known for its tasty young shoots eaten as ‘fiddleheads’ when their heads are still very tightly wound. The image below shows their growth after just a few days.
And the delicate maidenhair fern’s new fronds (above) are always so interesting to see with their wirey stems change shape as they grow and uncurl.
Christmas ferns have similar sheath to ostrich ferns but their tight fronds clearly have a white furry look to them, and you can often see a few leaves on the ground from last year!
And that’s just the start. There are so many types of ferns, with their own unique look and manner of uncurling and growing. Have fun noticing!
For more photos, check out April and May 2012 blog posts