Ferns are the most extraordinary plants on the planet. They are ancient, lush, and primitive. They are one of the first plants to grow on Earth. It is reckoned that they were on Earth 360 million years ago. Their descendants that we are more likely to recognise today were unfurling their fronds some 70 million years ago. 

Ferns in a forest at Arne | Photography by Lesley Scoble

Modern ferns are woodland plants that grow well in shade and damp conditions. They form part of our most precious temperate rain forests known as Atlantic or Celtic rainforests. Co-habitant with fungi, lichen, rare plants and woodland animals.

Ferns on the banks of a woodland stream | Photograph by Lesley Scoble

Temperate Rainforest

The temperate rainforest is incredibly rare. It grows close to the sea. Oceans create the right high rainfall conditions for the Celtic (or Atlantic) rainforest to thrive. These valuable forests are high in humidity with a low variance in temperature change. Scarce plants along with the ferns, and ancient oak, birch, ash, pine and hazel call these rare forests home.

My contribution to the #RDP Tuesday #Ragtag Daily Prompt of the #words #fern are a selected few of photographs that I took during happy walks through some special woodlands. I couldn’t publish them without the wonderful poem by Thomas Hardy about ferns. His poem CHILDHOOD AMONG THE FERNS is the perfect accompaniment to my photographs! Thank you, Mr. Hardy. 
Ferns in a Devonshire wood | Photo: Lesley Scoble

Childhood among the ferns

I sat one sprinkling day upon the lea,
Where tall-stemmed ferns spread out luxuriantly,
And nothing but those tall ferns sheltered me.

The rain gained strength, and damped each loping frond,
Rain down their stalks beside me and beyond,
And shaped slow-creeping rivulets as I conned,

With pride, my spray-roofed house. And though anon
Some drops pierced its green rafters, I sat on,
Making pretence it was not rained upon.

The sun then burst, and brought forth a sweet breath
From the limp ferns as they dried underneath:
I said: ‘I could live on here thus till death;’

And queried in the green rays as I date:
‘Why should I have to grow to man’s estate,
And this afar-noised World perambulate?

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
Ferns in a Devonshire Woodland | Photo: Lesley Scoble

The #RDP daily word prompt inspired me to write this quick response of a tiny selection of ‘fern fotos’. A daily prompt doesn’t allow a lot of time! I hope you enjoyed a stroll with me via my selected images of some happy walks in the fern forests.

My love for ferns inspired me to make this earthenware bowl.

Earthenware bowl with fern decoration glaze | Ceramics: Lesley Scoble

All Photography by Lesley Scoble

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