Garden of Dreams May 4,2013

Friday, May 30, 2014

June Meeting -Growing Ferns in your Garden


 
 
 Jodi DeJong interviews Iain Jack of Fernwood Plant Nursery, July 18, 2012.


Growing Ferns in your Garden by Iain Jack, 

Fernwood Plant Nursery,

Hubbards, Nova Scotia
 
 Fernwood Plant Nursery is located on 2 1/2 acres of recovering Acadian forest in Hubbards, on St. Margaret's Bay. Our main focus is sourcing, trialling, promoting, and making more hardy native and exotic ferns available to Canadian gardeners. In addition, we grow a selection of unique fern companions, including barrenworts (Epimedium), bloodroots (Sanguineria), and foamflowers (Tiarella). All our plants are propagated by spore or seed, or by division of our own field-grown stock. Once grown to a sufficient size, plants are grown in the ground in a woodland setting until they are ready for harvest and sale. Our plants typically spend at least one winter outdoors before they are sold, guaranteeing fully hardened off material. We are mainly a mail-order nursery, but do attend select plant sales around the Maritime region. Until recently we've been focused on propagating stock material, but as our physical site is further developed we plan to have open garden days in spring and fall so folks can see the plants growing naturally in our display gardens.
The nursery is really the culmination of a 15 year journey that included stints in social work and commercial greenhouse production, both of which share a "nurturing" element, I suppose. After exploring many different aspects of the horticulture trade, and with an interest in working to my own schedule (or Mother Natures', as it turns out), I decided that growing is my passion. I'm particularly interested in the challenge of going beyond the concept of "low-impact" growing towards incorporating practices that actually contribute to the health of the environment. To that end, we've spent a great deal of time building our thin, rocky soil by incorporating compost and tons (literally!) of "found" organic materials like the bounty of leaves bagged by property owners each fall. We are working towards a rainwater collection system as our main water source. We are also conservation-minded, growing a number of native ferns, including the rare Atlantic Coastal Plain Virginia Chain and Netted Chain Ferns. As natural ecosystems endure ever-increasing stress, making these plants available to a broader public helps to ensure their survival. 

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