Gayla Trail from YouGrowGirl.com hosts a writing prompt for garden writers called The Grow Write Guild. Every two weeks, she posts her challenge and allows anyone who wishes to post their thoughts on the topic. For more information about the Grow Write Guild, click here. The latest prompt from Gayla is: “write a description of a plant.” She goes on to encourage writers to use details and veer away from over-used descriptors. She suggests having your muse nearby for inspiration and considering the plant’s evolution and your own history with them, among several other points, to help us grow in our writing experience.
Since it is November and we already have snow on the ground, I have brought my Maidenhair fern up to my office as the topic for this post. For me, the Maidenhair fern is one of those plants I have always admired, purely for its ornamental elegance. It’s early in the day, and sun is streaming into the window onto the plant, showing off its soft, lacy, draping form. I enjoy looking at the new growth, and, as with most ferns, it starts with a single frond, which pops up from the base, on bright green stems with tightly curled greenery. Shortly after, the stems into a very dark, almost black, wiry stem and the leaves unfurl into larger leaflets and burst into bigger, but seemingly fragile, leaves. Not a large plant – but substantial enough to hold its own in the garden or container. It’s what I’d call a filler; very full and fills up the pot. I do enjoy all ferns, but this one is a little different. It’s more delicate looking, with fan-shaped scalloped leaves in the color of green in springtime. Along with the contrasting dark stems, the Maidenhair Fern has an almost, dare I say, stylish decorator appeal.
I buy this one a lot. It comes back every year in the garden, but I also love to see it in pots on my front porch and in the house. Okay, here’s the tricky part as least for me: indoors it’s a little fussy. You need to make sure that you keep it well watered but not soaked. Spray it now and then with a mister too. It loves a humid spot. Still, if you find that it is turning brown because you have neglected it, just cut back the brown growth and start again. The Maidenhair fern will amazingly bounce back.
When I think about it, the name of this plant appears to be very fitting as the structure of the plant has soft flowing leaves which cascade down much like that of a young maiden’s hair. So I decided to look up the history of the name. The best answer I could find relates to the scientific name Adiantum Capillus Veneris, where Cappillus is Latin for hair and Veneris, Venus. Sometimes you will even find it listed as Venus Maidenhair Fern. Below are some pics of this beauty. Go out and get one today, or at least consider putting in on your list for next season.