Monday, February 2, 2009

What's Growing in the Wall?

It’s a maidenhair fern/Adiantum capillis-veneris, and a number of otherwise nice people have offered to yank it out for me. They don’t know marvelous when they see it.

I used to have big pots of maidenhair fern on the porch where they could get shade and, on principle, water. Whenever I came or went from the house I had to pass them and give them water when the soil was less than damp.

That was the theory, but in practice I would tear off to work, noting the pitiful state of the garden as a whole, and then drag back home after dark.

When the maidenhair had dwindled to a few pale fronds begging for merciful death, I composted them and transplanted walking iris into the pots for instant success. They sit on Prairie Style brick pilasters bookending the porch steps, and one of the pilasters has a big crack in its concrete topper. When the iris pots are watered, moisture seeps through the concrete.

This is a lot like the dripping cliffs of central Texas which are the maidenhair fern’s natural habitat. So, naturally, a fern has grown out of the mortar. It’s not a home maintenance error, it’s a marvel.


Sunita said...

I have maidenhair ferns growing in my walls too. They sprout in the monsoon season and turn my stone walls into a lush forest. So very pretty!

Kanak Hagjer said...

Beautiful! They grow here too in little cracks on the garden wall. I let them be. Too pretty to be moved elsewhere, may not survive.

Vanillalotus said...

Wow that is a great story! I love the effect of the maidenhair fern in the crack of walls.

compost in my shoe said...

We get that all the time here in Charleston. It fascinates me to see architecture coming to life like this!

Muddy Mary said...

India, South Carolina, Texas...For such a delicate seeming plant, this fern covers the world!