I left today's selection of photos up to Fernymoss and he chose these enthusiastic and burgeoning Maidenhair Ferns.
As regular visitors already know, we're quite the fans of ferns in our Woodland Garden area and we've gradually increased our Maidenhair (Adiantum pedatum) population over the years, and they've been steady colonizers around these areas, sharing space with the Leatherwoods and Ostrich Plume and other varieties of ferns we have planted.
I asked Fernymoss what he'd want to say about these ferns and he recalled his memories of traveling and camping in the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota, where he was indelibly struck by the image of going by ditches positively filled with Maidenhairs and wild Lupines.
From his perspective, the image conjured up these ferns, seejmingly floating a foot above the ground ... which I thought was a really good description because they do appear to float above anything planted below them (in this case the ivy and ground ivy --a weedy mint that we let bloom before we go after it).
For such a delicate looking fern, Maidenhairs are incredibly hardy, from sub-arctic North America to the far South across a pretty wide swath of the US. As far as cultivation, they've been really easy for us, but that's due in large part, I think, to sheer positioning. Most ferns want fairly bright shade at some point of the day, but will not tolerate blazing direct sun, without quickly giving up the ghost. They also demand a fairly organically defined (peaty, loamy) and consistently moist soil, such as woodland situations provide. Fulfill those very basic needs and anyone should be able to succeed quickly with Maidenhairs.
In successive years, they'll spread gradually out from the parent plant(s) by offshoots, as well as some of the spores that tend to move around the garden. At this point, we have so many that it's impossible to determine which ones were the original plants. We just delight in their (and our) success in making themselves at home in our shady areas ...
Photos by Fernymoss, taken 22 May, 2008.