The Laying on of Fronds

The fronds of Maidenhair Fern nod on slender black stems. Their horizontal orientation and gently curving black-veined pinnae remind me of green hands hovering over the forest floor, blessing the denizens of the duff: sow bugs, black beetles, microscopic creeping critters, long-toed salamanders, mosses, and of course, congenial companion species — Piggy-back Plant (Tolmiea menziesii) and Bunchberry (Cornus unalaschkensis a.k.a. Cornus canadensis). I wonder if (on a dry day) I could lay down on my yoga mat so that I can look up through the Maidenhair Fronds. I could really use the blessing of a Maidenhair Fern. I bet it would be more healing than a therapist, and way cheaper. I am going to try it!

Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum)

Never far from moisture, these beautiful natives can often be seen beside ponds and trailside rivulets splashing down a hill. They thrive just behind the dripline of our tumbledown garage. The insurance inspector may disagree, but to my eyes, the garage’s gracefully sagging, mossy, lichen-covered shake roof and ancient red siding is time-and-nature’s artwork. The Maidenhair and Lady Ferns (Athyrium filix-femina) hugging the north wall complete the picture.  

Practical info: Deciduous. Likes moisture, but doesn’t have to be wet. Grows best in bright shade; NO direct sunlight- it will bleach the leaves! Its basal fronds average about two feet tall. Naturally grows both in the lowlands and in the mountains.

Long-toed Salamander

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