Thursday, May 8, 2008

Royal Ferns etc.

Hey, it is Fern Valley after all. Spring has alternated between cool and hot but it has been cooler far more than it has been hot. And there has been plenty of rain. Good fern weather. And the ferns are spectacular. Click on the picture above, Royal Ferns, Osmunda regalis. This is a nice large fern with a different texture than Cinnamon or Ostrich ferns. There are nice stands of them along the stream above the Fern Valley Pond, and between the Pond Steps and the low bridge, also a nice group on the road across from the Parking Area. I put this fern in designs because I like both the strong form of the plant and the curious texture. I have only planted it twice myself. Once would have been in about 1972 or so at my Parents' house and then again here in Adelphi about 15 years ago. The literature does make mention of the fact that it is relatively slow to establish; which must be the most shameless understatement of all time. Admittedly neither plant is in an "optimum location", and after a quarter of a century or so, both are respectable plants but still, I think I could establish a glade of Ostrich or Cinnamon Fern while I was waiting for a mature plant of Royal Fern, or possibly carpet an acre with New York or Hay Scented Ferns. But the wait is worth the time. It is a wonderful plant and won't overrun your least in your lifetime. Which is good.

Spring continues in Fern Valley; on the Coast Plain Magnolia ashei is producing its large fragrant blossoms (there is a picture to the right). Across the road Lonicera sempervirens Sulphurea is covered with yellow-gold tubular flowers (another picture). If you walk up the road towards the parking lot you will pass under Cladrastis kentuckea, the American Yellowwood, a very nice flowering tree native to a very small range in the SE, but adaptable to large portions of the country. Grey bark and fragrant white flowers will identify it for you. Also on the right side, walking still uphill, and overhanging the road is Styrax americana, with fragrant pendant white flowers.

Things are happening everywhere and it is worth while to walk the paths alongside the stream. Various Asarums and Hexastylis are flowering above the path on the south side of the stream. Below the steps at the Pond and on the left hand side, Trillium discolor has lovely clear yellow colors and nicely mottled leaves. And ferns are everywhere. Enjoy.

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