Preface

Many years ago while querying me as a potential juror, an attorney asked about my nursery, Foliage Gardens. I told him that I was a fern grower and he responded, somewhat dismissively, "Ah, houseplants."

"No," I replied, "outdoor ferns."

"Oh!" said he, as my respect for his powers of observation plummeted, "I didn't know that ferns grew outdoors."

Ferns do indeed grow outdoors. There are approximately twelve thousand species worldwide and technically they all grow outdoors somewhere. They are presently found on every continent except Antarctica, and fossil evidence shows that two hundred million years ago they were growing there as well. Most are native to the tropics, where they thrive in lush abundance in warmth and humidity, but I have seen them in the wild (tree ferns at that) basking at the forward edges of imposing glaciers in New Zealand and settled in the protection of rocks in forbidding alpine terrains worldwide. Temperate ferns, which are the primary focus of this book, sweep in native magnificence across the Northern Hemisphere including North America, Eurasia, Japan, China, Korea, and the Himalayas. They are also well represented in the floristi-cally rich Southern Hemisphere, especially New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia as well as at high altitudes along the spine of the Andes in Chile and Argentina.

In cultivation, ferns enjoyed a fashionable period in Victorian Britain before being replaced by another trend du jour. Horticulturally, they were then out of favor until an awakening of enthusiasm, accompanied by a renewal of literary attention, in the 1960s. International explorations and exchanges which provide an ever-increasing variety and availability have helped to establish a firm place for ferns in horticulture and gardens throughout the world today. The benevolent maritime climatic conditions, lacking extremes of temperatures (usually), that characterize the coastal U.S. Pacific Northwest and most of Britain are especially conducive to temperate fern cultivation. However, enthusiastic growers everywhere are establishing collections that are appropriate for their habitats, rewarding for their interest, and educational for all.

More than seven hundred of these ferns are illustrated and close to one thousand are described herein. My goal has been to present the ferns by illustration, information, and example so that they bring to you what I have sought for myself in doing research over the past forty years, and that is explicit help on identification along with cultivation guidelines, enriched where possible with anecdotal insights. The photos are all from 35-mm slides—no digital enhancement here! I use Fujichrome ASA 400 speed film and an Olympus OM4T camera with assorted lenses. By choice I never use a flash (it gives the subjects an artificial sheen) but do occasionally use a tripod.

As an editor I have read reviews over the years stating emphatically, "This is not a coffee table book," the implication being that such a work is somehow lacking substance. I would be happy to have this be a coffee table book, so long, that is, as you read it. And may it serve on the research shelf as well. Happy growing!

600 Chocolate Recipes

600 Chocolate Recipes

Within this in cookbook full of chocolate recipes you will find over 600 Chocolate Recipes For Chocolate Lovers.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment