May is the golden month of the fern which begins at the very first day with this wonderful plant pushing its leaves up through the soil in perm tight curls. Day-by-day it slowly unfurls each leaf at the same time with an incredible growth spurt until by mid May many ferns have completely straightened out and are within sight of their yearly height limit.
Ferns are very special plants as they are the oldest known plants on the planet with specimens found around 400 million years ago. They connect the human race in a way that no other living plant can. When you touch a fern you are wiring yourself into life itself as its ancestors have been touched by your ancestors.
When you turn a fern over you will see its seeds neatly stored on each leaf … some say that these are the ‘eyes and ears’ of the plant. It is also alleged that if you have to make a difficult decision it is best made near to a fern as it is likely that you will make a ‘good and wise’ choice.
‘Good decisions come from wise discussions with the ancients. They stand near to the fronds of time.’ Anon
Note: The leaf of a fern is known as a frond.
The top picture is an old fashioned garden fern that grows both tall and wide whereas the bottom picture is a small gentle delicate fern
These ferns were both wild – I normally would not advise anyone to dig up a wild plant for their garden in case it was protected or rare – but usually ferns are fairly common and it is wonderful to gently prise out a small fern seedling, plant it in a tub or in the garden and nurture it until it has become a handsome specimen. Many varieties will also thrive in the home and it is the one plant that many believe to be the ultimate pet … so for those who are unable to have traditional pets then the answer may well be to get a fern and be in touch with your ancestors. Perhaps we should all have a fern!