Who’d have imagined that there are 43 species of incredible native ferns in Nova Scotia along our trails, in our forests and in our gardens.
Iain Jack, guest speaker at the June 20th meeting, established Fernwood Plant Nursery in 2012 in Hubbards on a hectare of recovering Acadian forest. He finds the differences and details of ferns; their fronds, forms, habits, colors and even microscopic spores endlessly fascinating. Iain’s main focus is sourcing, trailing, promoting and making available more hardy native and exotic ferns to Canadian gardeners.
Using a captivating, photo filled power-point presentation members and guests were treated to introduction to ferns, their ecology, biology, identification, landscape uses, and culture and the many ways to feature and enjoy these durable and versatile plants.
Describing the various conditions suitable for different varieties of ferns, it was suggested we consider them in our gardens and it was emphasized that there is a fern suitable for every garden – damp or dry, sunny or shady.
We learned that ferns have in some areas of the world taken over and have been identified as an invasive species having a significant influence on ecosystems. In other regions ferns are planted as a companion crop, enriching and holding soil, thus important for food security.
Iain also mentioned that ferns are among the oldest land plants and have been on earth for more than 400 million years and pointed out that ancient ferns, which decomposed and were subsequently compressed over eons, have become components in the fossil fuels we burn today.
Every year he propagates approximately 24 varieties of ferns and sells his two-year-old plants to many gardeners and collectors in Nova Scotia and also to those farther afield. Fourteen of the twenty four live ferns available this year with exotic names such as Himilayan Maidenhair Fern, Crested European Lady Fern, Ghost Lady Fern & Purple Cliff Brake were carefully transported for a much enjoyed show-and-tell.
Click on any picture for a slide show.
At the conclusion of his presentation, Iain extended an invitation to an “open house” at the nursery on the following weekend.