Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Prehistoric gardening

I went to the Houston Garden Center this weekend because they are having a half off sale. I got the COOLEST plant since my stag fern; it is called a rabbit foot fern (Davallia fejeensis). It looks like an ordinary fern except it has little furry rhizomes that snake out of the dirt and cover the pot entirely and look very much like little rabbit or squirrel feet. The cheap white plastic hanging basket this plant is in is completely covered by the rhizomes, can’t see it at all. It looks like a ball of furry roots with fern fronds shooting out of it hanging from my porch ceiling.

While at the garden center I found a new plant for my backyard garden, called Australian Tree Fern (Cyathea Cooperi) . It is a Cyanth which is one of the oldest types of trees in the world, virtually unchanged since the Paleolithic period. It grows well in subtropical areas (whoo hoo that’s me with my zone 9b butt), it gets to be 40-50 feet tall with individual fern fronds approximately 6-8 feet long and fiddle heads the size of my FIST! I can also grow orchids, tillandsia (air plants) and other small ferns in the scars where the fronds break off .

It just so happens that where my AC water drains is perfect for horsetail ferns (Equisetum hyemale), also at the garden center and also 50% off. They are cool for several reasons- one can snap off each segment with a satisfying pop and even put them back together, they make attractive dried specimens AND they are a natural soap. My favorite thing about them is the satisfying snap they make when I pull the sections apart, sort of like an organic bubble wrap.

I want to make my back yard look like a raptor could hop out of the undergrowth at any moment. One of the really grand things about creating a prehistoric subtropical garden is that almost all the plants are very hardy and once established need very little care. I am also planning to put in an outside aquarium/pond where I will grow water lily and the odd pond fish.

I am so excited about gardening here, it is completely different than in Michigan- I can grown my own bananas for Pete's sake. Michigan is zone 4, four as in -30 to -24 for the coldest winter temperatures (good GOD!) and now I am in zone 9b as in 30 to 25 for the coldest winter temperatures, staggering that I survived in zone 4, let alone my plants.


pir8panties said...

well that is because ou are one tough cookie. character damit. it give you character.

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