|King Ostrich Fern|
It all began with a small, filthy, weedy, moldy, completely shaded back yard that came with the house we purchased last August. The tiny area was enclosed by a picket fence, and had a small, dirty, rotting deck. There were strange, half-buried rotting wooden things in the back yard, like miniature benches and bridges. There was no grass; just dirt, pine straw, rotting leaves, and a few shriveled shrubs. We called the area "mosquito alley" because we couldn't walk outside without getting bitten.
"How would you make this area better?" I asked our new son-in-law, Jonathan. He replied that he would rip out the deck and re-build it. And that's where the idea for "Fern Gully" began.
We didn't rip it out ourselves, but we paid our next door neighbor, Alan (and friends), to do that, and to rebuild a deck and screen it in. They extended the roof over the deck and added a ceiling fan. Then they hauled away all the rotting stuff in the yard, plus a lot more that was buried, and brought in dirt and leveled everything, added a pebble pathway, and created the beginning of what is now Fern Gully.
I spent all of January researching ferns and making a list of ones that will grow here. It was hard to wait until April to get going. Finally, two weekends ago, Keith had a load of compost delivered and spread it out in the yard. And then last weekend, we went shopping for ferns! I have so many different kinds of ferns! Here are some Autumn Ferns:
While Keith was digging holes to plant ferns, I lined the walkways with rocks scavenged from our own yard. I dug up every one of the smooth river stones (below) from a long-ago landscaped area in our side yard. Who knows what they were used for previously. We also added the big rocks and stepping stones.
|Ghost Lady Ferns with added rock|
Now that I look at the photos, it's obvious that the oak trees are dropping pollen in my garden, which is okay. I asked Keith to go to a fishing store and get some worms to add, to enrich the soil. We still need to put mulch on top of it all.
I find gardening to be gentle, hopeful, peaceful, and satisfying (at least until it becomes beastly hot). Planting is almost a theological activity; in fact, I do find God in the garden.