Fern is a magical plant. They begin as a tightly wound disk called fiddleheads that are delicious sautéed up in evoo with some garlic. And when they unfurl they are beautiful plants that 1) the deer won’t eat, 2) do fine in shade and 3) are lovely additions to flower arrangements. With so many varieties of frilly fern, you will find that they add texture and background to your bouquets and table arrangements.
By Richard Wilbur
A striped blouse in a clearing by Bazille
Is, you may say, a patroness of boughs
Too queenly kind toward nature to be kin.
But ceremony never did conceal,
Save to the silly eye, which all allows,
How much we are the woods we wander in.
Let her be some Sabrina fresh from stream,
Lucent as shallows slowed by wading sun,
Bedded on fern, the flowers’ cynosure:
Then nymph and wood must nod and strive to dream
That she is airy earth, the trees, undone,
Must ape her languor natural and pure.
Ho-hum. I am for wit and wakefulness,
And love this feigning lady by Bazille.
What’s lightly hid is deepest understood,
And when with social smile and formal dress
She teaches leaves to curtsey and quadrille,
I think there are most tigers in the wood.