Monday, April 7, 2008

Holly Ferns

Thank you Skeeter for posting here! I really appreciate it and you did an awesome job! And thanks to all you commenters for letting her know how much you enjoyed the pictures from Georgia. We will have some from Florida, Maine, Indiana, North Carolina and good old Tennessee too.
One of my buys at the Nashville Lawn and Garden show was a Holly Fern, aka Cyrtomium falcatum 'Rochfordianum'. I finally got around to planting it recently.

I have grown it before and I will tell you up front it is not hardy to my area (Zone 6-7). That hasn't stopped me from buying it though. This is a cool fern as ferns go. It really does resemble a holly tree. The leaflets are sharp, shiny and somewhat stiff. It grows fairly large and fits right into any woodland setting.

One of the really cool things I find about it, despite the fact it is different, are the spores. Ferns do not produce seeds. They perpetuate themselves by producing spores.

Spores are the reproductive structures of ferns. Ferns are unique in that they do not flower, nor produce seeds. They are neither angiosperms (all flowering plants like peonies), nor are they gymnosperms (plants that produce seeds without a flower-naked seeds, like conifers). My instructor drilled these two type of plants into my head last fall, now they give us another type??
Can you see the spores on the bottom of the leaf? I know the picture is not the best but if you enlarge it, you may be able to see it better.

These spores are an added benefit of growing the fern because they are so big and noticeable, even though they are on the back side of the leaves. I hope my one little holly fern will spread itself around. Holly ferns are not hardy in Zone 6, so I don't expect mine will come back, but seedlings would be nice. Wait, I guess I can't call them seedling since they don't come from seeds? Maybe sporings:)

Give the Holly fern a sheltered shade to part shade position amongst heuchera, hostas or other shade plants, and stand back and watch the show. This fern shines all season but don't expect it to come back the next year unless you are real lucky!

in the garden....


  1. Morning to all my blogging buddies out there in this great cyber world.

    Interesting plant and the spores are very pretty.

  2. I LOVE ferns, they make everything look so lush, I have a line of them by the rock wall, one is a interupted fern. So far haven't multiplied. Neat plants.
    NICE weather today, neighboring town reached a season total of 200 inches, that's 16 1/2 feet! Portland is having a New Year's like celebration for their record breaking 100'', good to see it go.

  3. Good morning mom and dawn!
    Mom, Can you see the spores okay?

    Dawn, I love ferns too but they don't do well in my garden. I can't figure it out!

  4. Hi Tina --we had ferns like that back home. I used to think the spores were little bugs when I was a kid and didn't want to touch them, lol. Ferns are beautiful --they add to a flower arrangement if you are brave enough to snip a few pieces, hehehe. In this case I wouldn't snip that little fella since they are hard to grow. It is so gorgeous outside today --I found some petunias last night at Wallyworld. I might put them in a hollowed out tree stump in the backyard. I have to see if it will work or not. Hi Jean, Lola, Dawn, Nina and Skeeter:) I enjoyed your pictures Skeeter --Georgia sure has some pretty spring plants and flowers. Must get out --too sunny and pretty. See you all later.

  5. Hi anonymous! Missed you on here last night. I was about to call. You usually beat me up in the morning and post in the evening.

    Did you get some wave petunias? Blue maybe? I got some and am looking for good things. I think yours should do fine on a tree stump. I am hoping for one inch of rain per week and that will keep them growing strong too!

    Little bugs on the ferns? That's funny. Have fun outside today. Me too! The heat/a/c guy is here to service the heat pumps right now though. I'll be in the garden soon. Gotta cut the grass again! omg

  6. Yup I can see the spores (had to enlarge it to see) and I can see where a child could think of them as a bug. All kinds of ferns grow wild here and they are very lush plants on the sides of the roads. What is there not to like about ferns even if they do not flower? Like Anonymous said they do go great with cut flowers.

    Tina we were following each other around this morning. Did you notice that? We were like a mintue apart at Gails and jillybeans and you commented at Dave's when I was there. Well darn I shoulda commented there just to be with you. LOL

  7. What a nice fern ...I was hoping it was evergreen!

    Still tired from all the partying in Austin, but not too tired to visit the bloggers or garden..just no energy to clean up the messy house;)

  8. Great looking fern. I saw the spores fine after enlarging. I wonder if it would grow here. I have some wild fern growing amongst my Hosta & Heuchera on East side on house. Most shady place.

    Hi Jean, Anonymous, Nina & Skeeter.

    Dawn, are you talking about snow? That is a lot. Like over the house. Mobiles would be covered up.

    Hi Gail, Best to rest up so you can hit that garden. lol Glad you had fun in T.

    Gotta get busy.

  9. Wow Weeeee, Nikki, myself and Jack of all trades watched 3 large deer from our bedroom window. Ha! try to be quiet while opening the window to get a pic. They were feeding on 'bout the only bare spot. I'll send you afew if you want Tina? Awesome. 30 minutes

  10. I am famous for buying plants not really meant for my area. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I sure as heck don't stop trying though!

  11. I thought the "spots" on ferns had something to do with male or female. I recall that from school many years ago. Am I remembering correctly Tina???

    Wow a lot of snow indeed! Sounds like you live in Alaska Dawn...LOL...

    What a day garden buds.... I wish each of you could see that magnificent place! I took about 135 pictures! No way could I describe the place. All I can say is; I told the Saint that he must get me buried in there when I die! I am so ready to get into the yard and dig to get some color going after our day! We had to kill a bit of time before our special restaurant opened for dinner (I can eat solids now) so we went into Lowes garden center. We came home with 4 Hanging Fuchsia’s for the front porch. Never noticed them before but thought we would give them a try since they are long bloomers and look like hummingbirds may be attracted to them as well. They were only a dollar each more then the Wandering Jews, (which they were out of) so we thought we would give them a try this year for something different. We also came home with a flat (15) of English Ivy. The Saint wants to plant them near where we planted the Silver Berry as a ground cover. Don’t know what gave him this idea but it sounds good to me!

    As we came home we drove to the end of our dead end street to check out one of our neighbors Dogwoods and Azaleas front yard. It is so beautiful, anyway, he said he is 67 years old and has never seen the dogwoods blooming around this town like this year. So the Saint and I were right to think that as well, we are only 44 and 45 so with his years on us, we knew we were right with our thoughts…LOL…

    Tired as heck but enjoyed our big day today. Just wish each of you could have been with us! I will get pictures off soon… I am banking on next weekend to be back to 100% and have a dryer yard so I can start digging!

  12. Hi Mom, We must be checking at the same time. You don't need to comment to be in there with me, just reading and communicating is the same. So glad we can talk each day!

    Gail, The holly fern is evergreen. It is so cool and shiny. You must've had so much fun! I don't blame you for not wanting to clean the house. Get to the garden and also talk to your new found friends. I might could do Chicago. It is a nice drive.

    Hi Lola, I also have some ferns growing by my a/c. They love the moisture. I will post on them sometime. I wonder if we have the same type?

    Dawn, No, you can keep your deer. Trust me, I love watching them but no thanks! I like my plants so much more! This is the first time they have visited? Or the first time you saw them? I hope you videotaped it. Sounds fun.

    So much snow, I would say it would be good if you all didn't already have an overabundance of moisture, so I guess it is not good. Send some snow to Georgia for them. They need the runoff for their reservoirs! No deers though!

    Cinj, Never stop trying to push the limits. The weather and zones change so you just never know. Let us know if your house sale goes thru. I am interested in tracking your progress.

    Skeeter, Shall I send you an invite? Yes, expect one coming. Sharing the masters will be nice. I hope you don't mind.

    I wonder why the dogwoods are blooming so nicely this year in Georgia? Maybe the drought was a good thing for them last year. I thnk they set buds the previous year. This season is going to be something. We are on track this year and no freeze in sight!

    I don't think ferns are male or female. I don't really know though. I would have to research it. I just know they reproduce from spores which I think are cool. You may be right.

    Good luck with your fuschias. I don't think they like humidity down here but for such a low price you can't beat it. My mother always liked them. I gave them up.

    Anyhow, glad you are now eating solids. ttyl gotta go eat some supper myself! Busy day in the garden dividing daffys. urrrrr! I am going to start mailing them out and trading them. Jillybean gets the first box!

  13. Hi Skeeter --I am so happy your experience was awesome at the Masters --sounds incredible and wowser that was alot of pictures --I'm sure they all are gorgeous.

    Hi Tina --I know you had to be outside today -what a beautiful day. I find myself spending more and more time outside --until the heat hits, rofl. Then, we'll be out in the morning and back in until the sun sets, hahaha. Today we opened up the windows --hopefully the kids will sleep okay with that --worry about some of my allergy sufferers. I guess a little liquid claritin would help that though, right?

    Hi Dawn, hubby here would be drooling if he saw the deer that close to the house --you can bet he'd want them to join the rest of the family in our living room, roflmbo. He would be nice --just loves to eat them, hahaha. Sorry if I offended anyone --he won't take more than he can eat:)

    Hi Lola, glad you are back up and at it --sometimes it's good to just sit back and rest so you can get more done later. Sounds like you did some serious walking though. I'd recommend some good running shoes for those lengthy walks --the support they give the knees and legs is really great compared to regular shoes.

    Hi Jean --are you seeing more signs of spring? I can imagine that in a month or so your lilacs will be in full bloom --mine are so close --I take a sneak smell of the branches and buds just in case they are already putting off that delicious smell. Oh my --I can't wait until they open up --how about lily of the valley? We used to get those around the same time as the lilac up in the mountains of PA --they were so cute but had such a strong scent. Another all time favorite of mine.

    And, the ferns grew all over the place in PA. When we would find fossils they would have ferns inside them --very , very cool! If you cracked open a fossil there would be an actual fern leaf inside. These simple yet amazing things always impressed me as a child. I sometimes miss the area -but definitely not the snow and ice, lol.

    Hi Nina, hope the trip to Nashville went well. At least it was a nice day to travel --sunny and warm --I dread going down there when it's raining.

    Guess I should check on my older two --they just got back from scouts. See you later!

  14. Hi Tina, I don't know what kind they are, they just started coming up. When they get up I will send you a pic. Their probably some wild fern.

    Hi Anonymous, Yes, I really should try walking with good shoes on but I have trouble lifting my feet up & I'm afraid the extra on the bottom, of which I'm not used to, would cause me to trip. I also have trouble with my knees. I had a lot of ferns in N.C. on the bank behind the mobile. They sure were pretty. In fact there were different kinds. They grew in the woods too. Trilliums grew there too. They are quite lovely. Never got a chance to find out what.

    Hope all have a peaceful, restful night.

  15. Tina,
    One day if you would like to come down I will take you to the mountains behind my house. TONS of wild ferns grow there in several different varieties. And we can cook a meal...and then the best!

  16. Anonymous you can bring the lilacs in and put them in water before they open and they will open, same with the forsythias. I have had forsythias in the house for well over a week and they still look good but I will get more in a couple of days and then when they go it will be time to force some lilacs. They already have some at the post office here in town that have opened. They last longer if you bring em in before opened and then you get to pick them when they open also so it extends the short flowering time of them.

  17. Good morning all,
    Anonymous, Your hubby is a responsible hunter and there is nothing wrong with that. I can see him drooling over them near the house for sure!

    Lola, I am wondering if you have a sensitive fern like I do by my air conditioner. It seeded itself there and I love it. I always share it with others.

    Jillybean, I might just make it to Georgia one day. Skeeter has invited us and it is pretty close. Sounding better all the time-especially the eat when someone else cooks.

    Mom, I did not know you should pick lilacs before they bloom. That will be helpful if mine bloom. They are very full of leaves this year so I am hopeful!

  18. Yes! This is the first time visiting....or as Jack of all trades said, that makes moving now worth while because we wouldn't be able to watch them from the mobile. I'm guessing a buck and two doe. This winter has been so hard on the animals, they are now moving but there is still so much snow up here and hardly any new food.
    We have a monty moose, waiting for her to show, two years ago she had a young one, she tripped over my pea fence and fell into the pond, came up over the wall at the end of the mobile, guess what? Tartarus was protecting his family by barking at that window, he came out of the room with tail between his legs. Oh, it was sooo funny, Zackary rushed and closed all the windows and doors, I was worried about the mom with a baby but all was okay and they had left by the time I got the doors back open.
    No video, wish I had thought of that, maybe next time.
    Hope they don't munch on my plants, haveta rethink the veggies!

  19. We have deer visit us every day in our yard. We keep a bucket full of whole corn for them and they love it! I think the rabbits do more damage to my plants then the deer... I love it when the Doe bring their new spotted fawns into the yard each year. We look forward to that. One year, we had a family being a Buck, Doe and two Fawn come to the bucket while we sat at the patio. I have a picture somewhere that I will scan and pass along. That was before my digital camera days...

    I am an avid animal lover but dont see anything wrong with hunting. Deer population would be too large and they would die from starvation or disease if not for hunters. I dont care for irresponsible hunters and poachers though...

  20. Dawn, It was worth moving even if you didn't get to see the deer! You have a nice BIG home now! Tartarus is a sweetie. Glad the moose was ok. Hopefully she is still around.

    Skeeter, Forgot you are a pet lover, glad you are ok with hunting. It is actually a humane thing sometimes. I have never done it, nor will I.

    Anonymous, Thought of you yesterday. There were a bunch of turkeys waddling around in the road out here. We heard them this morning before the Jimster got on the bus too. Glad hubby and boys are not around:)

  21. Thanks Jean for the tip on the lilac --I will clip some and bring them in --the bush is FULL this year --can't hardly wait:)

    Tina --I might have to tell Dan about those turkey??? hahahah Actually he was out this morning with a friend --saw a few but left his friend get one. He already got one opening day --see he shares:0)

  22. Dan can come over this way anytime and that was nice he let his friend get the turkey. I know had Dan wanted to he could've bagged it no problem. I was at my friend Lola's garden this morning and her lilac is also LOADED. But they don't smell as strong down here as they do up north. Does yours smell strong? I even smelled hers to no avail.

  23. I could never hunt either but Skeeter your are a true animal lover as they DO understand about starvation and diseases and the states do eough research (hopefully) to understand how many can and cannot be hunted. It truly is a better death for them than other ways and the meat can be put to good use. However, the law should be followed and if not the ones that break it should be punished to the max.

  24. We had 8 deer at the bucket this evening just as we were departing for a quick errand to town. We let them eat a bit then we had to leave and we scared them off. We use to have a group that would not run off when we were in the yard but this group is pretty skittish.

    My mom said that she and my dad saw two turkeys mating the other day. My first question was did you get a picture to share with me. And of course they did not. The camera was near by at the time. How funny....

    I have seen the hawks mating again this year so we will have more little ones...

    I have a brother that hunts. Me, I could not kill anything. If I could, I would not have moles and voles in the yard! And the rabbits would not eat my hosta either! We would be eating rabbit stew!