While in Jerusalem last year, specifically in a courtyard near the Pools of Bethesda and the Sheep Gate, I took a close-up photo of a beautiful fern-type plant.
I had never before seen (or maybe never noticed) such a specimen. Perhaps it was indigenous to the Middle East and wasn’t available in the Midwest. But when I posted it on Facebook, I was quickly informed that it was a Fox Tail Fern. Kim, owner of Garden Thyme, said she carried them and this spring, I picked up a small one at her place.
The plant thrived in a pot on the front porch all summer as it rapidly grew and produced new shoots that filled out nicely in all directions.
Last week, I noticed that while my hanging Bostons were browning and sadly, finished, the Fox Tail still looked as pretty as ever, thriving.
Early in my marriage, I enjoyed house plants. Most of the time, I didn’t even kill them. Their appeal was that they were inexpensive to acquire and maintain, and added color and decorative touches to our mobile home, then our rented farmhouse. Even when we were broke, I could scrape together enough to buy a small jade or “airplane” plant along with the groceries. Through the years, I moved on to other interests. Every now and then I’d take a notion to bring home a big, beautiful Boston Fern but they didn’t fare well as indoor plants, and they shed like crazy.
I always wanted to raise African violets in various shades of purple like my childhood neighbor, Mrs. Rigsby. Hers were sequestered in a back room under a special light. When we went to her home for fresh eggs, she showed me those plants and once, she gave me a start.
The only indoor plants I’ve tried keeping alive in recent years were a trio of African violets in the kitchen window. I got them one spring, and they did well all summer. But as soon as cool weather hit and the window chilled, they started to die.
Going back to my Fox Tail Fern, I just couldn’t take letting it sit there on the porch for nature, in the form of cold weather, to send it the way of those African violets. I love it because it is one easy plant to love, and more, because every time I look at it, it reminds me of the heart of Jerusalem.
I moved the plant inside, positioning it on a wicker stand from the back porch, and placed in front of the newly cleaned window in Ben’s old room. There it will soon look out on frosty mornings, and then snowscapes. There the window glass will turn cold.
I have no idea how the plant will get along. It may shed like its Boston cousins. It may turn brown. It may, I suppose, in the most unlikely scenario, survive the winter.
I’ll keep checking on how it does in that bedroom all by its lonesome. I’m leaving the curtains open in there and as I drive home, I glance in and see the plant front and center in that window view. It looks so cheerful. Right now, anyway.
I’ve changed the ending to this blog because originally I planned to appeal to anyone with a warm, sunny Florida room or greenhouse to board my fern for the winter. But I’ve changed my mind. The plant looks so sweet in there, I’m taking a chance.
Sometimes on people’s Facebook pages I see huge, blooming Christmas cactuses or poinsettias that have quadrupled themselves and live out their years on coffee tables. I marvel.
I’d like to think that maybe, my Fox Tail Fern could be like those plants. I have my doubts, but I am at heart nothing if not hopeful.