Little bishops’ croziers – the magic of ferns

A mini-post today… Just an excuse really to share some pictures of one of my favourite plant species…

I love colour in the garden – and in the countryside too, of course, as you’ll have noticed if you’ve seen my recent posts. Blues are among my favourites, particularly in the countryside – bluebells, of course, being mine, and probably many other peoples’, go-to perfect wild flower.

But I also adore GREEN.

As spring advances into summer, it’s wonderful to watch how trees in particular change colour, from the brown-black of their winter skeletons to the bright yellow-green of the fresh emerging leaves, and on to the deeper, sometimes more blueish or dark bottle, green of the maturer foliage.

Our garden is not large but, over the years, we have managed to pack into it quite a lot of trees and shrubs, bringing a lovely variety of greens.

But the greens I love most of all in our garden are the ferns. I don’t know quite how many, or how many different, ferns we have in our garden (which is really quite small) but we do have a lot, for the garden has a fair bit of shade, giving some of it a “woodland” ambiance, which suits ferns perfectly.

Fern 8 copy
Fern 5 copy

I love ferns partly for their sheer antiquity…  Wikipedia says: “Ferns first appear in the fossil record about 360 million years ago in the middle Devonian period, but many of the current families and species did not appear until roughly 145 million years ago in the early Cretaceous, after flowering plants came to dominate many environments.” (Oh, right, mostly “only” 145 million years old then…)

Fern1 copy

Fern 3

But I love them also for their form and (again) their variety of colour – albeit they’re all green

Fern 4 copy

Fern 7 copy

Fern 6 copy

But most of all I love them for the way many of them unfurl in the spring. All plants that awaken in the spring or early summer are thrilling, as they push their way up through the soil or develop tight buds along the stem that later unfold into leaves and glorious blooms. There is honestly something really quite magical about it all. But I find the unfurling of ferns almost mystical, especially the ones that push up little bishops’ croziers that then gradually uncurl into finely cut, and sometimes quite enormous, leaves.

Shamefully, I don’t actually know the names of all these wonderful plants in my garden – I really should look them all up and label them… But, rather than get the names wrong, which would be embarrassing, for now I’ll just admire them… And I hope you think they’re as magnificent as I do!

Fern 2 copy

Fern 9 copy

Fern 10 copy


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