Meet Fern. She is one of my older acquaintances. As a youngster she lived with my grandma, growing into the fine specimen you now see. Her exact birth date is lost in the mists of time but could be sometime in the 1970s as she was always there when I visited my lovely grandma. When my grandma died in the early 1980s, no one else in the family wanted Fern and she was in danger of being abandoned so I happily adopted her.
My grandma lived next door to my childhood home and her house was a haven of calm. She always seemed pleased to see me, always had a full biscuit tin and always had interesting stories to tell. It was my grandma who bought me my first comics, tried to show me how to crochet, took me on my first trip to the Lake District and, when I had a house of my own, taught me my first lessons about growing flowers. Fern was always there, thriving in the sunny hallway of her bungalow next to the kitchen door.
I took Fern to the cottage I lived in when my grandma died and since then she has moved with us to all the different houses we have owned. When we had a garden she would spend some time outside during the summer and she regularly gets a haircut, otherwise she would take over the living room! Occasionally she gets transferred into a new pot.
When we were away for 12 months travelling in our campervan I worried about who would look after Fern. Our son and daughter-in-law happily stepped up to the mark and fostered her and now she has her own holidays at their house every time we take a long break. She gets bed and board in their sunny dining room and only occasionally gets harassed by their cat. She always returns looking bigger and shinier than ever.
It might be a little fanciful but I sometimes imagine all the memories of different window sills and different people that are held in Fern’s bushy green stems.
Fern is an asparagus fern which are renowned for being tough and so, despite being around 50-years old, she isn’t a demanding lodger. She gets fed when I remember, watered irregularly and mostly she just watches the world go by from her current post, an east-facing window that catches the morning sunshine. I am pretty certain now that Fern will outlive us both. My plans for her long-term care are that she will go and live with our son and daughter-in-law permanently and I like to think of them having a link back to my loving grandma that neither of them ever met.
Update 2022 – Fern died during the pandemic! Not of Covid-19 obviously, it was either my neglect or perhaps old age, as she was over 50-years old. This happened a few months ago but it has taken me some time to be able to write about my loss. Fern no longer brightens up our home and I will now have nothing concrete to pass onto our son and daughter-in-law from my wonderful grandma.
Noticing Fern wasn’t flourishing, I replanted bits of her roots in new pots but didn’t manage to save her and all that now remains is her pot. Maybe owning a living plant when you travel as much as we do was never going to work but I remain sad that she has gone from our home.