Chain Fern, also known as Giant Chain Fern, is a perennial native to Western Northern America and grows best in zones 8 to 10. It was introduced to this part of the country from British Columbia. You can mainly find this plant located in wet areas on woodland floors. People love growing this plant for ornamental reasons.
The Chain Fern has lovely long upward arching fronds that fan out and make a waterfall shape. It is these characteristics that give it the name “Chain Fern.” It is highly adaptable to many different soil types but does appreciate a wet area. In their natural habitat, you can expect to see them around springs and streams. Amazingly, some of their fronds will grow up to 8 feet in length.
Theodore Payne introduced this breed of fern into California. He loved this plant dearly and commented on its beauty as well as its hardiness. You can expect the Chain Fern to be successful in a pot inside your home, on a patio, or in the dirt outside. It does appreciate a partially sunny, partially shady, or entire shade area of the outdoors. This plant will be the most successful in an area that stays wet but drains quickly.
The Chain Fern is also appealing because it requires so little effort to care for as long as it’s watered, and in good organic soil, it shouldn’t require much attention from you. If you notice some dry fronds, feel free to remove them from the plant to encourage new growth.
It’s exciting to know this plant is deer resistant if you want to keep deer away from certain plants. It grows at a moderate speed as well, so don’t expect it to reach 8 feet in a couple of years; it will need some more time than that. Although, it will be a great addition to keep in the garden and observe its development throughout the upcoming years.
The Merry Bells is a perennial flower native to the Northern United States and Canada but best suited for zones 4 to 8. In the springtime, between May and June, it blooms bell-shaped pale yellow flowers. The simple leaves are obvolate, meaning they are oblong and are attached to a stem. At the top center of the stem is where the flower blooms and droops downward. On the inner side of the flower petals, you can notice bumps of yellow or orange; this is one way to identify between it and other flowers of the same species. The stems also appear as if they are perforating the leaves, where it gets the Latin portion of its name, perfoliata.
In the states of Indiana and New Hampshire, the flower is considered endangered. If you live in these states, I suggest considering planting and care for Merry Bells if you can.
Their native habitat is in woodland areas; be mindful of planting this flower in partially shaded areas to full shade. Merry Bells prefer moist loam soil. You can expect this flower to grow approximately 18 inches tall, but it has been known to grow taller than that.
The Merry Bells do very well in a pot. If you prefer to raise them that way, make sure to get at least a 24 fluid ounce pot and healthy, rich organic soil. By late summer, you can expect these delicate flowers to go dormant until next spring.
The Merry Bells were also noted in the “doctrine of signatures” that the plant, with the bells hanging in front of the oblong leaf, make it appear similar to that of the female uvula. Some plant owners prize it for its unique appearance and the story behind it.
Nonetheless, whether you enjoy the adult story behind it or if you love bell-shaped flowers that seem to attract hummingbirds and bees, this flower, the Merry Bells, will make a beautiful addition to the garden, which will bloom and say hello to you every spring.
The Dewberry Vine crawls and grows near the ground and provides an edible black fruit similar to the raspberry. It doesn’t grow upwards towards the sky the way raspberries do. One unique feature of the Dewberry vine is that it has separate female and male plants that must work together to procreate. Unlike most plants which have both female and male parts within them.
In many areas, they are unwanted, but for those of us who enjoy the sweet flavor of the Dewberry, it is an appreciated fruit. It can easily be used for jams, jellies, and the leaves can be used for tea. I’ve also heard of gardeners collecting them for cobblers and pies.
You can expect flowers to start blooming in March through April. These flowers will advance into small green fruits that will turn a dark purple-black color with the help of the sun. When the fruits are ripe and ready to eat, they are easy to pick and collect for food use. These fruits will grow along the length of the vine. Be careful, though, because the vines do have sharp protective spines. You will also notice that the fruit from this plant has fewer seeds than a blackberry which also makes this plant appealing.
In the winter months, you will observe the leaves on the plant turn a dark red color, but they should stay on the plant’s stems.
Cameron, North Carolina, is known as the Dewberry Vine Capitol of the world. They have produced this plant and shipped it all over the world.
When purchasing this plant and preparing a home for it, understand that it will grow amongst the ground instead of growing upwards. So be mindful of how much space you want to dedicate to this ground-loving vine. Also, consider putting down a layer of mulch which will help hold moisture for the plant to live off of until the next time it is watered.
Toothwort goes by many names, including purple-flowered toothwort, crow’s toes, cut-leaf toothwort, and pepper root. Toothwort got its name from the tooth-shaped rhizome (a piece of the plant attached to the root underground.) This perennial wildflower can often be found in woodland areas out in nature and best grown in zones 3 to 8. You can expect the beautiful flowers to burst in the spring around March, April, and May; they will hang off the plant in clusters. The leaves have teeth on them and fan out from a center stem. The flowers bloom above the foliage and have a white or light pink color. The fruit it creates is located in a pod and hangs down off the stem. The average height for this flower is 6 to 8 inches high but has been known to grow as much as 20 inches in height.
In Maine and New Hampshire, this plant is considered endangered and is prized if grown. They love the shade, so keep them in a fully shaded area of your yard, like a porch or under a large tree. It loves soil that is rich, organic and moist, but also drains well. It has been known to survive floods but tries to keep it out of any regularly flooded areas. If you expect snow in the winter, be mindful to keep a leaf bed down above the plants or wood shavings to protect the rhizome and roots from the cold. They’ve been observed in limestone cliffs and rocky banks; you will find success planting toothwort in the shady side of rock structures.
The rhizome of the plant is edible and can be consumed. The reason the toothwort is also called “pepper root” is due to its taste. The rhizome is edible but will be flavored like a spicy radish. They make great additions to salads. In the early summer, you can expect the plant to go dormant until the spring of the following year. When they do come out to enjoy the weather, they are a delight to observe and enjoy.