After the rain stopped around lunchtime today I decided to hike along the north side of the mountain where the ferns cover the landscape. July on the mountain brings a sea of ferns in this areas where the ground stays moist. The forest floor has changed so much in the last 4 months but I especially love the sea of ferns that take over this time of year.
We only reached 63 degrees F yesterday but today we will be closer to 80 degree F. Not much sun to speak of yesterday, it rained all day and night and before it finished this morning we had slightly over 1 inch of rain.
“We love the things we love for what they are.” — Robert Frost
If you are interested in trading a few garden plants, check out my recent post, Plant Exchange.
It’s finally warm enough for the Ostrich Ferns, they are emerging everywhere. The ones that get more sun have already completely emerged and the others in deeper shade are just now showing their fiddleheads!
The Ostrich Fern grows all over the mountain in the shade in the wet low lying areas and along the creek beds. Some are 18 to 20 inches tall but in other areas where the trees are tall they are growing 3 to 5 foot tall.
The Ostrich ferns are one of the most beautiful and showy ferns. As you can see they are erect in stature with graceful arching fronds that resemble huge ostrich ferns.
These stand nearly 3 feet tall.
“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” – James Dean
During my hike this evening I found a large patch of bracken fern growing on the side of the mountain. Bracken is a large fern that can grow up to 3 feet tall and grows well in the sun. Here is South Carolina we have a lot of extremely hot weather in late July and August and the bracken ferns will grow well in direct sun in our area.
Bracken ferns have rhizome roots and are rapid growers in the right soil. They can reproduce two ways, by rhizomes spreading and by spores. All you need is about 3 to 4 inches of the rhizome to transplant bracken ferns from one area to another. Bracken ferns are fast growing and can be invasive.
As you can see in the pictures, bracken has fronds that are made up of smaller leaflets. The fronds are shaped like triangles. After the first hard frost the bracken fronds die back but will come back in the spring.
When I am making an arrangement of bourbon roses or oriental lilies I will add a couple of bracken fronds. I have read that bracken fern is carcinogenic to mice, rats, horses and cattle when eaten.
If you plant bracken ferns in your garden they are almost impossible to get rid of them if you decide you don’t want them anymore!!
My Ostrich ferns have done extremely well this year and are absolutley beautiful! These ferns love a wet moist soil and this year we have had so much rain that they are loving it. The front of our house faces exactly North so I decided to planted six small clumps of Ostrich ferns across the front of the house two years ago. Mine are about 4 feet tall this year. Deer don’t like the Ostrich ferns so if you have deer around your place they won’t eat it. Last year they did grow well but this year they have gone wild.
In front of the Ostrich ferns you can see my Bishops Weed or also called Snow on the Mountain. The foliage is variegated and forms a quick, dense weed-proof carpet. In zone 6, I am able to grow the Bishops Weed in the shade and sun as long as it gets watered regularly and will grow 10″ tall. It is fast growing and can be invasive. It grows from a rhizome and just a small piece will grow a new plant. Early summer clusters of white flowers on stems will appear. You will often find Bishops Weed in hosta garden! It will also grow well under tress when nothing else will grow there.