Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Our Dicksonia antarctica and a few local ferns

Last Christmas I got the crazy idea to use a tree fern (Dicksonia antarctica) as our Christmas tree. We had just returned from a trip south to San Francisco and Los Angeles and had been completely blown away by the huge tree ferns we saw there. When I spotted a small little specimen at a local nursery I had to come up with a way to rationalize buying it. Of course! It could be our Christmas tree!

Well obviously ferns, (even tree ferns), aren’t especially adept at making due with the lack of moisture found in most heated homes in the winter time, by the time it went back outside it was a sick little guy. Before the winter was over there were a few more trips in and out as the temperatures dropped and warmed. I was afraid it may not pull through. Luckily I was wrong. Here it is now...
Even its trunk is bigger and taller!
I am determined to see it through another winter, difficult as it may be. It’s now stationed right by our back door so if there is a cold night (or more) predicted it can be brought inside to weather out the storm.
It may never reach tree proportions but I’m going to do my best try and get it there.

While we’re on the subject of ferns, a few weeks back my brother, sister in law and nephew from Phoenix were in town. We took a little road trip out to Multnomah Falls.
No, that’s not it. Oddly enough I didn’t take a picture of the big attraction; I seemed more enthralled with this secondary entry and it’s fabulous yellow lichen.
As well as the ferns sprouting from the wall at the end of the path leading to the falls.
What I did photograph at the Multnomah Falls stop was this wall. There were numerous name plates and cavities where I imagine ferns once grew.
Their names all sound so beautiful. I wonder what happened to them?
On the trail head there was this reminder to be a good visitor. I got a few chuckles when people saw me taking a picture of it.
These lush green carpeted rocks were by the parking lot. They look to be covered with moss or perhaps grass but actually were covered with small ferns fronds.
The whole wall of rock seemed to be moving when a breeze blew.


  1. The ferns and rock and water just says PNW to me. Maybe the ferns in the rock face died out as the water chemistry changed? My dad planted tree ferns when I was a kid in raised brick planters. I never got over that association and haven't wanted to grow any for myself. Funny how plants can get ruined by childhood memories. Your holiday tree fern is a beauty!

  2. Glad the little guy is still going strong! I love tree ferns, so gorgeous...and one of the things I love about hiking in the's still amazing to me see ferns all over the forest.

  3. Great post... I love aust tree ferns... so cool when they get the huge trunks on them.

  4. How could I have forgotten to plant a tree fern somewhere in our backyard? Love them! Your guy's looking good.

  5. Oh, I love ferns! I hope your tree fern survives this winter as well. I have a Meyer lemon tree that I'm going to have to bring in, probably for most of the winter.

    That wall with all the ferns growing out of the cracks is lovely. And I can just picture all the little fronds on those big rocks moving in the breeze.

  6. Dicksonia is my favorite plant !

  7. Denise, I so agree about the childhood memories! In my case it made me think twice before ripping out our monster rhody's. My mother struggled to grow them and here were these just happy as could be. They stayed.

    Scott, I was surprised how many different types you see even just walking in Forest Park!

    Dirty Girl, I doubt mine will ever qualify as having a huge trunk but alas a girl can hope.

    Megan, your right? How could you! After all you are practically guaranteed huge proportions!

    Alison, good luck with your lemon!

    Delphine, you are a brave woman using that word "favorite" it's an impossible label for me.

  8. I remember wandering into a tiny, but quite well-stocked garden center next to Kew Station in London. When I went in I saw what I thought was a stack of cord wood in the corner, thinking it odd they sold firewood in July. Closer inspection revealed the fuzzy trunks of tree ferns for sale. I imagine over there you would just stick them in the ground and foliage would miraculously pop out.

  9. LOVE the look of ferns and rock walls. Nice.

  10. Les, I want a pile of those logs!

    Jenn, oh probably don't get to see many of them in Arizona do you?

  11. just driving back and forth on Hwy 30 I see the moss and ferns dry up each summer, then spring back to life as soon as a little (or more likely a lot of) moisture returns. I'm thinking of chronicling the yearly cycle if I can get that organized.
    Christmas provides us with the best excuse to add yearned-for trees. I like weird better than the traditional cone-shaped tree anyway.

  12. The stone plaques naming the missing ferns look like headstones in a cemetary. :(

    How would it be if our gardens had headstones for dear-departed plants?!?

    * *

    Pieces of tree-fern are often sold for use as a mount for orchids or Tillandsias...


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