Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Maidenhair, there, and everywhere


I had almost forgotten about the ferns! One of the most beautiful plants to make an appearance in my rain-happy garden, these maidenhair ferns are native and need no prompting to show up.

Within a few days, the whole garden seems to become a sprouting ground for these delicate beauties, waving their lacy fronds from every stone and mud wall. They do grow on the ground too, but interestingly, they seem to prefer vertical planes like walls and the sides of pots.

What starts off like this, very soon burgeons into this

If I could attribute human intelligence to them, I could swear they chose these vantage points to show off the graceful arch of their black-ribbed stems. Somehow, it just doesnt look half so dramatic when they grow on level ground.

Very often, the place where these ferns grow is blanketed with new growths of moss and lichens. Which makes it look like these maidens have sunk their feet in very luxuriously thick, green carpets.
But, I guess, the millipedes seem to like them too.

Now, if I were that lady, I'd be shrieking!

22 comments:

  1. Maidenhair is a beautiful fern. It is interesting how they cling to walls, and the centipede enjoys a soft green carpet.

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  2. Yeah, we should be so lucky to find such soft carpets everywhere we go!
    I've tried carefully potting these ferns and even given them the same moss carpets but as soon as the monsoons leave, my maidenhair ferns go too.

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  3. Ooops! I made a mistake. That was a picture of a millipede, not a centipede.
    A big difference when you see one climbing up your shoe!
    Sorry about the mistake. I just rectified my post.

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  4. Everything seems so lush and green in your pictures! "Ferns growing on sides pots" - it all sounds so exotic! I love maidenferns,but in Stockholm you just got from from the florist shops...

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  5. Hi Sunita! I love your blog! Oh, how I wish I knew how to work my camera...*sigh*...looks like I'm going to be forced to read the instruction book.

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  6. TIG, now do you have a small idea why I love the rainy season? Just 2 months back, that entire area was dry, brown, boring blah! But come the monsoons and its like magic! Even the rocks start sprouting moss and ferns.
    And yes, you buy ferns from the florists but I would kill to be able to grow peony and carnation and cyclamen and..... well, you get the idea. : )

    Suzie, thanks. I'm glad you liked my blog. Its fun writing it. As for the camera, I'm quite new at this myself. And, um, yes, maybe you could try making the instruction book part of your reading schedule .... after you've tried clicking everything that clicks, and turning everything that turns, and still nothing works. Only then.

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  7. Oops!! I'd almost forgotten about the maidenhair but your lovely post and deliciously green photos reminded me--- of one place they show up every year. Must go and have a dekho tomorrow. Phir milenge, jald se!

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  8. Oh, how lucky you are to have such beauty! I know you like flowering plants, but you have such a serene aura there.

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  9. Kanak, did you find the maidenhair growing for you too? Post some photos, if you did. Do your ferns wait for the monsoons too?
    Barbee', yes I do feel lucky to have these lovely, delicate-looking beauties growing for me with no effort on my part. Hmmm, you're right, I am partial to flowering plants. But even I am swayed by the maidenhair ferns. : )
    Serene.... I dont know about that.These ferns grow in such profusion that I can't see what could be lurking under them. And that, in a tropical garden with resident centipedes and cobras and vipers, scares me out of my skull!

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  10. The photos of the ferns on the moss covered rock wall are beautiful. I like the glossiness of the first photo and the texture contrast in the second one. The ferns are even more appealing for their ephemeral nature.
    I have some northern maidenhair ferns that grow in the shade under a willow. Of course, when the snow comes they disappear too, under the white blanket, but the sun coaxes them out again in the spring.

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  11. Thanks, Northern Shade.
    I assume you're talking about the glossiness of the wet rock ... that is interesting, isnt it? Incidentally, that is an 'as is' photo. I dont know how to Photoshop, so the maximum that I tweak is to crop the photo a bit when necessary.
    You're so right about their ephemeral nature but I wouldnt complain if they stayed on either: )
    I dont know whether anyone noticed, but there's a dry mango seed right next to the fern in the fourth photo. Obviously, deposited there by a careless crow who had been feasting on it while perching on the mango tree above the ferns. Its only a matter of time before that germinates too in this monsoon season.

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  12. Hi, I just wonder why my previous comments are not here? What am I doing not right?

    Anyway, I love the maidenhair ferns, I really would love them to grow here in Seattle!

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  13. TIG, I found one of your earlier comments (no.4 on this list), was that the one you meant? Or did you send in more? I'm sorry if I missed out on any more that you may have sent but I do publish all the comments that are forwarded to me. But,please do send them in again. I would hate to miss out on reading it.

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  14. Kathryn/plantwhateverbringsyoujoy.comJuly 19, 2008 at 11:05 PM

    Hi, Sunita, Maiden hair fern and I just do NOT gel, as much as I love their delicate beauty. I don't think I'm supposed to grow them in this lifttime. Since I've only had less than successful relationships with them, I was shocked to find them flourishing in my downtown area! I said, "What??? You can thrive out here in sun and snow but you can't get along with me??" And so it goes. Thanks for sharing yours. :)

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  15. I know just what you mean, Kathryn. Like I said earlier, I've tried potting these maidenhair ferns so I could enjoy them year-round. But they're so flighty! There's really no other word for it. I've grown them in the very same soil in which they were flourishing, gave them moss, shade, water, indoors, outdoors .... everything that I could think of, except the millipedes (come to think of it, that could be next) but when the monsoons disappear, so do my maidenhair ferns.

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  16. Did find the maidenhair but they do not look too good. With all that waterlogging they look more brown than green!

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  17. Hi - I came to visit your blog at Barbees' suggestion - I could just imagine sitting on your veranda surrounded by all those ferns - UNTIL - I saw that millipede! I have a phobia of those!... not spiders...ALL those legs(shudder)! Still...enjoyed your photos and interesting blog!

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  18. Kanak, sorry to hear that your maidenhair ferns are not looking their best. If its not too big a patch, maybe you could trim off the brown leaves so the new ones can still show off?

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  19. Spookydragonfly, I'm so glad you stopped by (Thanks, Barbee'). It gave me the perfect excuse to go check out your blog. Lovely photos! And your 'little piece of paradise' sounds fantastic.
    The poor millipede is quite harmless, unless you step on one and then there's this most awful stink! Quite unlike the centipede who's quite a nasty guy with a venomous sting. Now thats the one you've got to watch out for.

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  20. Can you tell me a little more about this maidenhair fern? Can it be planted in the balcony? Does it require sunlight? From where can one get a sapling of this fern? Is it too expensive-the sapling I mean?

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  21. Yes, it can Aakanksha but it does not like direct sun. These particular maidenhair ferns prefer cooler climate and show up only during the monsoon season. I've tried growing them in pots but when the monsoons go so do these ferns. There are other varieties of maidenhair fern (available at most nurseries) which are great indoor plants.

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  22. Thanks for the info. Will try and convince my mum to put one perennial maidenhair fern, if any, and if there is any place in the balcony!

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