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Not Your Usual Fern

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I planted, or “framed” this Stag Horn Fern this past spring.  Now it is really starting to fill out.   I don’t know if you can tell, but it has Stag Horns on the back too.  I got a super deal on four Stag Horns, $3 each, at a local nursery.  I immediately placed one in my home, and it is currently growing in a pot indoors. Many years ago, in another life, (long story) I had purchased a small Stag Horn in a small framework. I wanted to reproduce that Stag Horn that I loved,  but in a larger size.  So, that being said, I used the remaining three Stag Horns to make this hanging one!  I had some old 2X4’s that I cut to make a frame. (I am not a carpenter; forgive me.)  I used wood screws to put the frame together and corner braces to reinforce the corners. Also, I had some old wire fencing that I couldn’t stand to toss.  I wrapped that wire fencing on one side of the frame and hammered in gardener staples to adhere the fencing to that side of the frame. (I left enough excess fencing to make a continuous wrap on the other side, however; I did  not finish wrapping it until I filled the frame with moss)  Next, I carefully removed the Stag Horn from it’s small pot.  First, I worked the leaves of the Staghorn Fern through the fencing that was attached to the backside of the frame, making sure to face the fern outward.  I left the fern and all it’s planting materials together. Only the green part was sticking through the fencing.  To make more room for the bigger leaves of the plant, you can use wire cutters to clip away some of the extra fencing. I just maneuvered mine through the fencing by gently curling the leaves and pushing them through the fencing holes. I placed the whole plant, including some dirt that was in the pot, under the fencing. Eventually the base will grow over the fencing,  but I used the fencing to hold my ferns in place.  Then, I soaked some sphagnum moss  in a bucket of water. (You can purchase this moss at any garden center) A good soaking enabled the moss to be packed and held together easier. The next step required some extra hands.  I needed someone to hold the frame and  lean it backwards.  This was so that I could access the front side, and not squish the fern that I had just placed on the back side. While leaning it towards herself slightly, my daughter held the frame steady. This enabled me to stuff the Sphagnum Moss  behind the fern I had just planted. Then, I filled the whole frame with moss.  Next, I wrapped the extra fencing around the front side, bending it to go around the front of the frame.  I did not attach it yet,  but first placed my remaining ferns (you must start with small Stag Horns to do this project) on top of the moss and through the fencing like I did on the back side.  Finally, I permanently attached the fencing to the front side.  I used the gardeners staples, being careful not to crush the plants on the front side.  I hung the framework of Stag Horns from my oak tree.  The Stag Horns are thriving and seem to enjoy the shade of my Oak tree as much as I do.  Tip:  I also attached another rope from the bottom of the frame and secured it to the ground with a stake.  One time, on a windy day, I saw that my Stag Horn was getting a beating while the wind blew it against the tree’s trunk.  Now safely secured,  it can only “spin” on a windy day.

This plant makes me do my happy dance every time I see it!