Last week I wheeled up to my office building on my trusty bike, Sister Bertrille, and discovered one of the gardeners culling ferns that had volunteered all through the bed of shrubs. They had to be thinned for the sake of the other plants.
“Are they native?” I asked.
“I think so,” the gardener said.
“Are you moving them?”
“Can I have them?”
“Sure.” He looked doubtfully at Sister Bertrille. “I’ll stash them behind the magnolia until you can get a vehicle to haul them home.”
Imagine my excitement! There were six or eight big lumps of fern roots – which are actually more of a solid fibrous mass, and they weigh a ton, but what a find!
The next day, Soul Matey and I carted them home (in the car) and I paged anxiously through my coastal-plant book.
I scanned the entry…. No mention of native-to-Eurasia or does-not-occur-naturally-in-our-region. And then finally: “The leaves of lady fern were used by aboriginal people for laying out or covering food…fiddleheads were eaten in the spring…”
Yes! A tall, beautiful, evergreen native plant that will perfectly fill a particularly bare patch in my back yard.
And to make it even better, every time I look at them I’ll remember how kind that gardener was.
He doesn’t live in Corsair’s Cove – but he could! I think he’d fit right in.
Lady ferns and books – a perfect pair