This Time?

O, maidenhair fern, won’t you live a little longer this time?

With such a name and with such delicate lacy leaflets (or are they fronds) what’s not to love about a maidenhair fern? The thing is, for a non-plant care specialist such as myself, they have been difficult to keep alive. When purchasing this one the garden center lady announced just how difficult they were to grow (without offering a single tip).

“Oh, I know, I know,” I told her. I’ve enjoyed and lost plenty of them. She looked shocked when I said that. Perhaps I actually said “killed” instead of “lost” and that must have seemed purposefully cruel to her. Not that I’ve ever intentionally assisted in their demise. And not that their care is entirely complicated though it’s assumed that they’re finicky and temperamental.

Each time the previous one had been replaced I’d been sure that the new one, THIS one, would live. The others were probably of lesser quality, of poorer stock, I’d said to myself. But THIS one is going to make it. This time it will live . . . though each time I’ve done nothing different to ensure that. What’s that quote about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

The more fragile a thing has become, whether a fern or a friendship, living growing things need a measure of sunlight and water, oxygen and nutrients. Both will decline in varying degrees unless these are given. Both will grow and thrive when the ingredients of time, care and thoughtfulness are consistently and judiciously given.

My lazy Monday maidenhair musing.