A Life of Varied Endeavors

Category Archives: Garden

Hardy Fern Foundation 2013 Fall Social


Part of Saturday's fern frond displ

Part of Saturday’s fern frond display

This past Saturday, the Hardy Fern Foundation held its Fall Social at the Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH) at the University of Washington.  This is always a warm and comfortable event, with good people, good presentations, and good food.  Everyone enjoys getting together and sharing fern “stuff” as the days get darker and colder.

This year HFF members collected fern fronds from their gardens and shared them with identification information.  This was a chance to see some unusual ferns.  Some of them, like Woodwardia unigemmata, are rarely seen in all their splendor.  This weekend, a 5 or 6 foot frond from HFF’s Stumpery (in the Rhododendron Species Foundation garden) was brought in for us all to see.  Many of the ferns were ones I’d never seen before, and many are rarely, if ever, seen at plant sales.

Coniogramme intermedia Yoroi Musha - cut leaf bamboo fern

Coniogramme intermedia Yoroi Musha – cut leaf bamboo fern


We also had a great slide presentation and talk given by Pat Riehl.  She shared tales and pictures from a trip to South Africa in early 2012. This was a group tour to see ferns in South Africa, and several people in the audience had been on the tour.  Thanks to Pat, a few thousand pictures were narrowed down to a couple hundred (?), with identification captions!


Here are some pictures of the fern fronds we got to enjoy.  In our neck of the woods, we have an amazing group of fern growers and collectors, with an amazing array of ferns.

Asplenium scolopendrium 'crispum' - wavy Hart's tongue fern

Asplenium scolopendrium ‘crispum’ – wavy Hart’s tongue fern

A fancy Cyrtomium (I think)

A fancy Cyrtomium (I think)









Woodwardia unigemmata towers above everything else - the meeting room was difficult to photograph

Woodwardia unigemmata towers above everything else – the meeting room was difficult to photograph

Coniogramme intermedia "Yoroi Musha' - cut leaf bamboo fern

Coniogramme intermedia “Yoroi Musha’ – cut leaf bamboo fern










Pyrrosia hastata 'Cheju Silver' - silver arrow felt fern

Pyrrosia hastata ‘Cheju Silver’ – silver arrow felt fern

Back to bark – madrona this time



Early in my photography days (black and white film, darkrooms, class seminars – happy days!), I took photographs of tree bark, among other things. I found bark fascinating, but difficult to capture effectively. In response to one of those photographs, my professor (Bernie Freemesser) asked me a question that was like a lightning bolt. “Where’s the LIGHT, Nancy?”
Photography is about light.  The photograph in question was a mass of flat greys.

I haven’t studied bark closely for a long time, but last week on one of our morning walks, I was struck by the beauty of a madrona tree in our neighborhood. For several years, I’ve walked past this tree and it’s neighbors almost daily. I usually notice them most when their blooms cascade all over the ground. Last week I got an unplanned closer look to this tree’s trunk while avoiding a big truck on the road, and I was struck by it’s complex beauty.

Click on images to enlarge

Certainly, madrona bark is more colorful than doug fir bark, and these images take advantage of that (as well as not being in black and white). And being taken with an iPhone also doesn’t give an image the best chance of high quality. In these, the light is still subtle and a little flat. Nevertheless, this tree stuck me with it’s sensuous beauty, and I took some quick pictures.

And taking quick, casual pictures is something I gave my self permission to do a long time ago. Bernie might not have approved, but they give me a lot of pleasure.

Korean Dogwood colors the grey morning

Korean dogwood in November

Korean dogwood in November


Ah, another favorite tree. This Korean Dogwood (cornus kousa – plain vanilla version) is really enchanting in June with it’s massive coat of large white flowers. By late summer and early fall, those blossoms have turned to very large, gorgeous red berries that provide a feast for the birds, squirrels, and other not so wonderful creatures. And now, in November, the leaves are both brilliant and subtle with all their colors. Love them! A couple of these are iPhone photos again; easy and better than nothing!




Nandina photo, Acrylic Ink, and Peridot – September Little Altars

Embelished Nandina Leaves

Catching up on the Little Altars spots.  For September’s Full Moon this was my contribution:

September. Oh, what another meandering installment!

I was first inspired more than a month ago with Kathy’s prompt of Spot H – what does H mean?  I settled on Harvest.  Started to think of fruits, vegetables, and the recipes I was using for plums, pears, apples, tomatoes. I almost posted in spot H a great recipe for a Rustic Plum Cake, but you wouldn’t have been able to read it, and only Beth would get it anyway!

I thought of an illuminated letter H, but realized that my flourishing skills (as well as picturing skills) would not be adequate.  I was also inspired by a teeny, tiny piece of flotsam on the living room floor.  It was riding on a small, dried, brown maple seed that had been tracked in, and it was a little piece of very shiny, coppery-red tinsel.  It took me SEVERAL days to realize it was from a cat toy!  But in the meantime, I had decided that the color and the shine needed to be part of the (as it turned out, not-to-be) illuminated letter, so I purchased some copper acrylic ink.

Then, with the colors of the tinsel and Harvest in mind, I headed for my photographs.  I found a picture that I took last Fall of nandina leaves on our deck –in my mind a perfect fit.  I fussed over whether it should be a soft, fuzzy print on watercolor paper, or a high quality print.  I settled for high quality on my favorite paper:  Canon Matte Photo Paper.  Then I decided to make it pop a little with the copper acrylic ink that I KNEW I was going to use somehow.  Then I had to buy a couple more colors and use them!.  In the end, the whole thing needed a bit of softening, gussying-up, and dimension, so I added a strand of peridot chips on the bottom.

This is for the gardener, Beth: an embellished photo of nandinas in the Fall!

In process (1 of 1) P1050254

June Little Altars – Simple Summer Collage

Little Altars - Summer Collage for June (2 of 2)Still catching up on the months of Little Altar projects.  Here’s what happened in June, as I wrote it back then.

This month I was inspired by a few things:  An earring that David found on the road on our morning walk.  It had obviously been run over, and though the wire was mashed, the main part was in pretty good shape and seems to be well made. I like it!

I’ve also been inspired by some collage art work in my dentist’s office.  I’ve had the opportunity to see it a few times (!), and he’s got good taste!  I haven’t tried any collage for decades, but this work made me want to approach it again.  My project this month looks nothing like the piece by Carrie Kaufman, but the mounted copper wire attachment is a pretty direct inspiration.  What I’ve found on-line by Carrie is not as delectable (to me) as the large piece I saw in person.

Lastly, it’s summer.  The hand and basket remind me of gathering flowers and harvests.  The warm colors of the basket, and the branch covered with moss tell me it’s inviting to go outside.  It’s Easy Time.  We are enjoying fresh greens, and radishes from the seeds that Peg sent. They are delish!Little Altars - Summer Collage for June (1 of 2)