Monday, October 20, 2008

Ferns on a Rock

The other day was too beautiful to stay inside so Anne and I went out a-walking. We headed toward Columbia, SC to Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve. Fellow coastal-plainers will understand the joy of hills and rocks to flatlanders like us as it is a sight not seen here by the ocean. It`s a great walk with ancient rolling sand hills, short rock ledges and a strange mixture of plants. There is even a waterfall-the only one on SC's coastal plain.

The vegetation is a mix of what is typical in coastal sand hills with a bit of mountain flora along the shaded creek. The ferns were sitting on the sandstone outcrops and were lush from the previous days rain. The surprise of the walk was the native Cheilanthes or lip ferns which were "hiding in plain sight" surrounded by resurrection ferns.

These xeric fern are gray-green and fuzzy and grow on bare rock. Some were next to the resurrection ferns while others sat alone on the bare surface. I don`t know which species they are but they do not look like any other fern in the area. In the top picture above, the unusual coloring and texture of the fern are visible.

In my garden I grow a couple of species (Cheilanthes tomentosa and C. eckloniana) with my succulents. The bed (seen in the second picture above) is in full sun all day, fast draining because it is raised yet the ferns look soft and fresh as any well cared for woodland species. That gray and fuzzy look has been admired by Anne since I planted them. It was a thrill for both of us to see a specimen in the wild.

If you have a fast draining spot in the garden give one of these a try. It`s like a vegetable teddy bear: fuzzy and appealing. Online vendors like Plant Delights now carry them.

1 comment:

Northern Shade said...

The texture of those ferns are quite unique. I like the shot of them growing by the rocks in the wild, and in your garden. Their fuzzy surface makes reminds me of lamb's ears plants.