A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Nan Fairchild Sherlock & Matteuccia struthiopteris
Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I knew Nan Sherlock, Vancouver's "Fern Lady" for 16 years and when she died in July 2004 I went out to my back garden and feasted my eyes on the many (as in many) Matteuccia struthiopteris or ostrich ferns that compete for light and space with my hostas. Through the years I had purchased one or two of these from Nan at the yearly VanDusen plant sale. With a smile on her face she would place them in my hands and tell me of all their wonderful qualities. Not once did she mention that the ostrich fern is the honorary rabbit of the plant kingdom. I may now have 40 of them as they spread with their underground rhizomes. They are more agressive than some of my very large hostas. At one time I had ostrich ferns as hosta companions. The hostas are now second fiddles. When the fiddleheads emerge in by the end of April I know its time to go to the VanDusen Plant Sale. From experience I have learned that after that first week of May if I move any of them they will die back, but they will come back the next year after a good year's rest. When the beautiful outer fronds begin to die back in the late summer, the inner, erect, spike-like, dark brown fertile fronds remain. They go a very dark chocolate brown and remain year-round. I cut them and bring them inside where they look beautiful in vases. I may have at least 35 varieties of ferns. Many came via Nan Sherlock. I miss her a lot but when I look at any of my beloved ostrich ferns I remember her and smile.


Previous Posts
The School For Scandal - Lauren, Christopher, & De...

Dean Paul Gibson - One More Time

Woman In Red

Île de Bourbon & Louise Odier

A Dog & Peter Bentley

April In October At The Safeway Milk Counter

Robert Bringhurst On A Tree

Bruce & Stan Scream - Sam Doesn't

Jim Taylor & Two Ice Cream Sodas

Bill Vander Zalm - Winner & Loser

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010