To me, these ferns look most interesting in fall. A rusting, open framework of fronds supported by tall thin stems creates an airy structure, especially as other plants die back with the frost. Growing generously in the open, they create wonderful texture.
Each day I've walked by and admired, thinking, "Now, that's a good sturdy plant to give a large area natural interest. What a good idea to just let the bracken grow. That would make a nice picture."
Did I take that picture? Alas no. And yesterday I walked by that same hillside, except I barely recognized it! The bracken had been completely mowed. Texture? Utterly gone.
Why is the siren-song of the weed-whacker so seductive? Why – in an effort to maintain our property – do we miss opportunities to work with natural plants and let them shape our landscape in ways that prevent erosion, provide habitat for animals and insects, and lend grace to the view? Why, indeed.
Photo credit: Bracken fern - Gabriola Island blog
Did you know ... Bracken fern grows equally well in dry and wet places. It is suitable for planting near a water feature or pond. Long known as a edible and medicinal plant, the thin starchy roots (rhizomes) of Pteridium esculentum can be eaten raw or roasted.