Lush and lovely ferns can fill a shady glade with lacy foliage, creating an exotic, earthy atmosphere. But their life cycles and propagation differ from those of other plants.
You'll be able to learn more about ferns when internationally known lecturer Judith Jones visits Louisville as part of Fern Fest II, July 10 and 11.
The event, hosted by the Jefferson County Master Gardener Association, is a great opportunity to meet with expert fern fanciers like Jones, owner of Fancy Fronds Nursery in Gold Bar, Wash. (www.fancyfronds.com).
At 9:30 a.m. July 10 at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2825 Lexington Road, Jones will speak about Victorian ferns. At 3 p.m., she will present a fern-propagation workshop. Between those talks, you can visit the grounds of nearby Whitehall Historic Home (not to be confused with (White Hall near Richmond) and tour the Ralph C. Archer Woodland Garden and Stumpery, and chat with both Jones and Archer.
The garden is registered as a display garden of the Hardy Fern Foundation (www.hardyferns.org), which began in 1989 and is dedicated to the study and creation of fern display gardens.
A stumpery is a Victorian-style planting that incorporates parts of fallen trees into a woodland landscape. It's an ideal setting for ferns, which generally require lots of shade and rich humus from the forest floor. Ferns from Jones' collection will be on sale at the garden.
At 9:30 a.m. July 11, there is a bus tour to Yew Dell Gardens in Crestwood, and Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Clermont. Tavia Cathcart, co-author of Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians, will act as guide.
The deadline for advance registration is July 1. Call Doug Megginson at (502) 228-0532, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For a detailed schedule, go to www.jcmastergardeners.org.
The lecture costs $25; the workshop is $15 and the bus tour (which includes a box lunch) $45. Seating for the bus tour is limited to 54.
Fallen tree gets its turn
About a year ago, a large Kentucky coffeetree fell at The Arboretum on Alumni Drive. The wood was harvested by volunteers from the Bluegrass Area Woodturners (www.bluegrassareawoodturners.org) to create works of art, using traditional lathes, mini-lathes and pole lathes. These items are now being displayed and sold at The Arboretum as a fund-raiser. The hand-crafted bowls, vases, candlesticks and pens have been shaped and polished to bring out their natural grain and luster. They will be exhibited at The Arboretum's Dorotha Oatts visitor center July 6 to 24. An artists' reception and demonstration of wood-turning techniques will be 10 a.m. to noon July 10 at the center, 500 Alumni Drive. The demonstration is free and open to the public.
Go to www.ca.uky.edu/Arboretum for more information. The artists will suggest a sale price, and items will be sold by silent auction.
Nursery hosts art fair
The second annual Green Thumb Children's Art Fair and Family Picnic begins at 4 p.m. Monday at Wilson Nurseries, 3690 East-West Connector in Frankfort.
Children 14 and younger can enter one work of art in any medium, including drawing, painting, photography, collage or sculpture. The theme for artwork should be inspired by plants or nature. The deadline is noon Sunday. Winners from five age groups will be selected by resident artist Melanie VanHouten, founder of Frankfort's Josephine Sculpture Park.
Winners will be announced at the picnic. Each entrant will receive a participation award, and the school with the most entries will receive a tree valued at as much as $200, along with professional planting. (Schools were invited to participate before classes ended for the summer.) The picnic is free for contest families and for Wilson Nurseries' customers (tickets will be distributed with a purchase). For more information, e-mail email@example.com, go to www.wilsonnurseriesky.com or call (502) 223-1488.
Riding for the trees
Arborist Dave Leonard is taking to the road this summer in his 13th Stihl Tour des Trees bike tour. The trip begins July 18 at Chicago's Millennium Park and loops 500 miles to the Mississippi River and back. Leonard said this probably will be his last tour, but he'll pass the torch to arborist John Saylor of LFUCG's Division of Streets, Roads and Forestry. Saylor is making his first Tour des Trees this year.
The bike trip, held in conjunction with the International Society of Arboriculture's annual meetings, benefits the Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund. "This is a way to give back to the scientific research which has helped me make a living for 37 years," Leonard said.
Janet Bornancin, executive director of the fund, said, "Riders like Leonard have really stepped up to fund the research needed to preserve our urban forests."
That research helps develop strategies to manage diseases and pests like the emerald ash borer, cope with difficult growth situations in developed areas, and understand how trees reduce air pollution.
Leonard is well known locally for his tree preservation and planting expertise. On his Web site, www.dlarborist.com, he writes about healthy tree maintenance. Be sure to check out how to avoid creating mulch "volcanoes," or mulch piled high around trees, which can cause major tree damage yet seems to be a prevalent practice.
To make a tax-deductible contribution to support Leonard's trek, go to www.active.com/donate/stihltourdestrees10/dleonar25.