My Horticultural Hunt Club Dream

stag-horn-mounts

Fall is slowly changing over to winter here in Maine. We have already had one surprise snow storm with another on its way tonight. Over the next three months, we will work outside as much as we can amongst the cold, snow, and frozen ground. Once inside, I have a long list of designs to work on and plant catalogs to pore through. Being inside during the winter months is also a great time to dream of new gardens and fun displays. One display that I have toyed with for years is to have an indoor space decked out like a hunt club lodge. A hunt club lodge would typically have antlers decorating the walls, showing off the trophies from years of hunting. Instead of antlers, I want to display on the walls, giant, mounted stag horn ferns. I can just imagine settling down with a good book and a glass of red wine in front of the fireplace with walls of stag horn ferns hanging all around.

Staghorn-wall

Stag horn ferns (genus Platycerium) are a group of large-leaved, epiphytic ferns from tropical regions of the world. Their cool appearance is due to two types of fronds: sterile and fertile fronds. The sterile fronds cover the roots and protect them from drying out. The fertile fronds are the ones that hang down from the base and resemble deer or elk antlers. When stag horn ferns are grown in gardens, they are usually mounted on a wooden plate and hung from the wall. At CMBG, we have about a half dozen small Platycerium that we grew in containers this past summer. Next week, I hope to mount these onto wooden plates and hang from the wall of my office. A good description on how to mount a stag horn fern is presented here.

Over time, these ferns can become large and quite the show stopper in the garden or conservatory. I have high hopes of bringing our small stag horns along and maybe, one day, when we build a conservatory, we can hang them from the walls like the living horticultural hunt lodge of my dreams.

Images: Dirt Flowers, The Palm Room

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rodney eason

Rodney Eason - Director of Horticulture and Plant Curator at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, father of 4, husband to a Renaissance woman. I spent the first part of my life in North Carolina, the middle in Pennsylvania, and now I am determined to become a Mainer  while keeping my southern drawl. I consider the rhetorical question, "you're not from around here, are you?" a compliment. I love great gardens, beautiful plants, and inspiring architecture. Because of this, I am on a lifelong quest to find a garden that artistically combines beautiful plants while being centered around an evocative building. For me, this would be Beatrix Farrand's Dumbarton Oaks, with the plants of Lotusland and Chanticleer, around Fay Jones' Thorncrown Chapel. My wife and I are now making our new home and garden in a 130 year old New England house with a farmer's porch near the Damariscotta River in coastal Maine. When our kids get into college, we want to hike the Appalachian Trail as a family over a summer break. My likes (in random order): the smell of fresh basil and rosemary, bold foliage, India Pale Ale, good running shoes, Top Gear, the smell of New England in the fall (it reminds me a bit of English Leather, which my grandfather wore), and the sound of our family laughing together around the dinner table. I dream of one day owning an old Toyota 4X4 pick-up and seeing the Avett Brothers in concert.
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1 Comment

  1. Kati B ~FurnishMyWay on November 18, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    I love how those look mounted on the wall like that! Very artistic. What kinds of climates do they do well in?

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