I love gardens, but I am certain I have a black thumb. So while I appreciate the green, I rarely get close to the plants and handle them myself. That doesn’t stop the occasional acquisitive obsession, of which I have two at the moment, these Bird’s Nest Ferns and my phalaenopsis or butterfly orchids.
A couple of years ago, I stopped two ambulant vendors on a Cebu side street to ask how much their beautiful and lush mana or bird’s nest fern cost. They started off at PHP300 but very quickly dropped their price to say PHP100 or so. I bought the four they were carrying, but had them delivered to our office in Cebu. I also told them that if they had more, I would buy the “lot”… Fast forward a week later and suffice it to say I was the owner of some 30+ ferns, albeit still babies in size. We planted several of them on trees (most of which surprisingly did not thrive due to an arid and hot summer that followed) and some were “planted” in pots.
I continued to buy every now and then, and after two years, it seems we have some 60-70 ferns mostly thriving in the yard, under partial shade, and very frequently watered (though the rains of the past three months are really the reason they are at their peak of ebullience).
There is something obsessive about observing rows and rows of ferns and I would like to grow the “collection” to some 200 plants if we have enough space and my saki’s continue to bring baby ferns along for the reasonable price of PHP100-150 a piece.
At the FTI market in Taguig the other week, a vendor had a particularly lush specimen but was asking a whopping PHP5,000 for the plant, I was totally stunned! I have several that are almost the same size, and with less than 1.5 years of care from PHP100, that’s a better return than Makati real estate! :)
These four ferns in the two photos above are just outside our office doors. They are particularly happy campers, because they get a daily supply of water that drips downs from our air conditioners! Constant moisture, partial shade and daily morning salutations means they look like kings/queens of the garden.
The ones we placed on trees continue to struggle, perhaps because of their placement or the type of tree. I have the opposite experience in Manila, were several ferns attached to trees have grown to ginormous proportions in recent years.
Not sure what we will do with all of these ferns eventually, but I kind of like the idea of a corner of the garden having some 100-150 lush ferns arranged at different levels… Any ideas? :)