Monday, February 15, 2021

Fern Takes a Shower


This picture is actually from a few weeks back -- our buddleia and walnut tree silhouetted against a winter sunset. It's time for us to cut that buddleia back. The garden is due for its February haircut, particularly after our freeze.

Today it's rainy and temperatures are downright balmy, predicted to reach 58º F (14.4º C)! Quite a dramatic change from just a day or two ago. In fact yesterday we moved the tree fern back outside:


Here's the thing about tree ferns -- they make terrible houseplants. Not only are they huge but they need to be kept damp, and indoors, that's a challenge. You have to water the trunk, which inevitably leaves water all over the floor, and as you can see our fern's lower fronds were beginning to yellow, a sure sign that despite our ministrations it wasn't happy. I'm glad to get it back out of the house.

In retrospect, I think we didn't even need to bring it indoors. I've seen other tree ferns around town that are planted in the ground and went uncovered during the freeze -- including Mrs. Kravitz's next door. They must be hardier than I thought. So it's outside to stay, unless we get a really severe blizzard -- and even then we may just cover it.

(Look at our sad Chinese banana in the background -- poor thing! It will bounce back, though.)


Olga and I walked to the cemetery yesterday and saw this curious scene on West End Green. Can you see the yellow police tape blocking off a section of the far sidewalk? Apparently a chunk of masonry fell off that old apartment building and crashed to the sidewalk -- you can see bits of it by the doorway. The mounted officers were there, I believe, to make sure no one walked through the area. When Olga and I passed by again later the officers on horseback had been replaced by a police car with lights twirling. I'm not sure what the ultimate plan is, because they obviously can't have police standing guard there forever.


I came across a woman at the cemetery with a long camera lens, pointing up at the trees. She was taking pictures of goldfinches, like this one, and chaffinches as well. It's uplifting to see colorful birds as the weather warms.

Despite our Heath walk on Saturday and my brief cemetery outing, I'm feeling a bit stir-crazy. Since I'm not walking to work this week, I need to get out and get some exercise and maybe explore some new areas (within the parameters of our lockdown). So that's the plan for today, rainy or not.

40 comments:

  1. I love tree ferns, but we had them in San Diego where a freeze were never even thought of. That first photo is stunning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would think in San Diego it would be a challenge to keep them damp!

      Delete
    2. It is odd. They thrived and were huge. We had a drip system for our entire garden, but I don't remember spending time misting or doing much else.

      Delete
  2. To keep the tree fern nice and moist during another spell of freezing weather, stick it in the shower. You and Dave can just stay dirty. Feeling stir crazy? You could always read a book. I find that a good book generally provides a marvellous distraction from everyday stresses and concerns. If you haven't got any books, I can send you one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That tree fern wouldn't fit in our BATHROOM, much less our shower! I am vaguely acquainted with reading, but thanks for the tip.

      Delete
  3. We have that kind of tree fern here and they survive killer heat and extreme cold, yes, snow, and fires. Don't overwater them as there trunk root rots.
    The first photo is stunning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We don't water it at all when it's outside, except in the heat of summer. England is damp enough that it's quite happy!

      Delete
  4. At least the police were not there to stop people from going onto the green.
    Briony
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, and in fact there were people sitting on the benches around the edges. The police don't seem to be busting people for violating lockdown. I don't know what the rules are anymore.

      Delete
  5. I'm waiting for the Cardinals to come back. Their brilliant red feather always signal Spring on the way.
    We also bring the ferns indoors in winter though people have said they do fine outside in winter and then bounce back, But they look so sad and limp and dead if we leave them out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We left our other ferns out on the patio, and they DO look limp and dead, but they'll be fine. We have so many other things that need protection (geraniums, mainly) that ferns are lower on the priority list!

      Delete
  6. I'm glad you have milder days - it should help in your quest to Get Out Of The House. But it was rude of you to send your cold weather to Texas :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Their cold weather is even colder than our cold weather!

      Delete
  7. 58 is actually warmer than it is here at the moment. Our morning temp is 46 however we are supposed to go to 67 today. I did hear on the news this morning that Texas got hit with a severe winter storm so here's hoping they are keeping warm. Enjoy your walk!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, 67 sounds terrific. I am so ready for spring. I feel terrible that Texas is getting so slammed!

      Delete
  8. As everyone has said- that first picture is just glorious.
    I wonder if we're all more fascinated by the birds this year, having the time to be more observant. We're certainly enjoying our yard full.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are positive aspects to lockdown, and becoming more acquainted with local nature and our gardens and parks is one of them!

      Delete
  9. Love that sunset photo. Beautiful.
    I wonder why the police were there guarding a falling chunk of masonry. More falling expected and keeping people away from it?
    Nice to see the colorful birds returning.
    Yes, stir crazy here too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I'm guessing they were afraid other bits would fall, but it's weird that they didn't block off the whole building. There's another whole facade around the corner, and you'd think it would be equally prone to deterioration, wouldn't you?

      Delete
  10. When I look at many old buildings I wonder why more masonry work doesn't fall off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a problem with older structures, for sure.

      Delete
  11. Your sunset photo is beautiful. Your winters must be a lot milder than ours because you have lots of green plants in your garden and your flowers bloom when we're covered in snow and ice. There's no way I could leave my plants outside during our winters. I can't trim bushes either until at least Springtime. Enjoy your warmer temps. Hugs, Edna B.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, we're much milder here than where you are. The coldest we've gotten all winter is the low 20s, and that was only briefly.

      Delete
  12. Thanks for the snow Steve. We really didn't need any here in Texas. (lol) There's ice and snow in Galveston. I heard on the news that it's been 130 years since we had this much snow and ice. I know we have had snow maybe 3 times in the 40 years I've been here. It didn't last a day and several times it didn't stick. It is looking rough out there. Some here don't have power. So far mine is still on and never blinked off. I am tucked in my warm bed. I did get up and make me a ham and cheese sandwich and went back under the cover.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a reason we shouldn't report nothing said on the news. I just heard 30 years and 70 years since we had this much ice and snow. i know the 30 years are wrong because i've been here over 40 years and I've never seen this much.

      Delete
    2. I can't believe how badly Texas has been hit by this crazy storm! I'm seeing the pictures and it's just unbelievable. I'm glad your power has stayed on!

      Delete
  13. A few years back, it actually happened that a woman was killed when a piece of concrete fell from a building. She just happened to be walking past. That fern is amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's happened more than once. People have been hit several times in New York with things falling from buildings -- sometimes chunks of the building, sometimes window-unit air conditioners.

      Delete
  14. I imagine that if a huge chunk of concrete falls off an old building and randomly strikes a person dead, it was definitely their time to die...
    Maybe the police will get someone who knows about buildings to go up top and secure the masonry?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I imagine it will be up to the building owners to secure the place. That sidewalk may be closed for a while.

      Delete
  15. I'm feeling stir crazy too after two days inside. I might try a slushy walk today. That is a balmy temperature; we'll be at mid-40s today. (much warmer than what we've been dealing with) I would be cautious with the fern. Plants that are in the ground are more protected from the cold than those in pots. (in my humble opinion)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're absolutely right -- potted plants are more vulnerable. But we keep this one in a protected corner of the patio (normally) and I think it would be OK there.

      Delete
  16. Horses standing guard and pigeons, So London-ish! Your fern looks healthy and glad. I relate to your feeling of "stir crazy". Your walker's legs must feel like you have betrayed them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's no doubt that fern is happier outside!

      Delete
  17. we are frozen here with white stuff on the ground. currently about 20 degrees and supposed to drop down to 11˚ tonight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ellen, I feel so bad for all your plants! This weather is INSANE!

      Delete
  18. I remember when masonry was falling off NYC buildings in the late seventies and early 80s, and then all the scaffolds went up as all the buildings were checked. Now they have to be checked every 10 years by law. It seems rather civilized that police are stationed in front of that building to make sure no one gets hurt. I predict that soon, there will be a scaffold.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And yet, stuff STILL falls off buildings in NYC now and then. I guess despite safety precautions to some degree it's an unavoidable danger -- older structures in an urban environment with lots of pedestrians.

      Delete
  19. That must be boring duty for the police, but sometimes boring is good. It's still raining here.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, they kept looking off down the street as if they were waiting for relief from building-watch duty!

      Delete