The Garden, You, and I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 301 pages of information about The Garden, You, and I.
from beneath the year through.  The protecting shade was of tall hickories, and a rock ledge some twenty feet high shielded it from the south and east.  We scraped the moss from a circle of about six feet and loosened the surface of the earth only, and very carefully.  Then we spread some moist leaf-mould on the rough but flat surface of a partly exposed rock.  Going to a near-by bit of woods that was being despoiled, as in your valley, we chose two great mats of polypody and moss that had no piercing twigs to break the fabric, and carefully peeled them from the rocks, as you would bark from a tree, the matted rootstocks weaving all together.  Moistening these thoroughly, we wrapped them in a horse blanket and hurried home.  The earth and rock already prepared were sprinkled with water and the fern fabric applied and gently but firmly pressed down, that resting on the earth being held by the ever useful hairpin!

The rock graft was more difficult, but after many failures by way of stones that rolled off, a coarse network of cords was put across and fastened to whatever twigs or roots came in the way.  Naturally a period of constant sprinkling followed, and for that season the rock graft seemed decidedly homesick, but the next spring resignation had set in, and two years later the polypodys had completely adopted the new location and were prepared to appropriate the whole of it.

So you see that there are comparatively only a few ferns, after all, that are of great value to The Garden, You, and I, and likewise there are but a few rules for their transplanting, viz.:—­

Don’t bother about the tops, for new ones will grow, but look to the roots, and do not let them be exposed to the air or become dry in travel.  Examine the quality of soil from which you have taken the ferns, and if you have none like it nearer home, take some with you for a starter!  Never dig up more on one day than you can plant during the next, and above all remember that if a fern is worth tramping the countryside for, it is worth careful planting, and that the moral remarks made about the care in setting out of roses apply with double force to the handling of delicate wild flowers and ferns.

Good luck to your knoll, Mary Penrose, and to your fern fence, if that fancy pleases you.  May the magic of fern seed fill your eyes and let you see visions, the goodly things of heart’s desire, when, all being accomplished, you pause and look at the work of your hands.

  “And nimble fay and pranksome elf
      Flash vaguely past at every turn,
   Or, weird and wee, sits Puck himself,
      With legs akimbo, on a fern!”



(Mary Penrose to Barbara Campbell)

July 15.—­Midsummer Night. Since the month came in, vacation time has been suspended, insomuch that Bart goes to the office every day, Saturdays excepted; but we have not returned to our indoor bedroom.  Once it seemed the definition of airy coolness, with its three wide windows, white matting, and muslin draperies, but now—­I fully understand the relative feelings of a bird in a cage and a bird in the open.  The air blows through the bars and the sun shines through them, but it is still a cage.

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The Garden, You, and I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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