Fiddle arrival…

Spring marks many beginnings and renewals. Emergent shoots of shade loving Ferns have acquired the apt nickname of “Fiddle Heads” as seen in this image taken earlier this year. Nature continues to amaze and spark our imaginations. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

What is real after all…

When a photo is of a painted plant is any of it real? This was on the side of a building on Las Olas Blvd in Ft. Lauderdale. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

The plant on the wall is art; the plants on the ground against the wall are real. However since it’s all captured digitally is any of this real?! Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Airy resurrection…

This resurrection is an air Fern known for going dormant or dead-like during times of drought and then vibrantly returning with a little rain. The Resurrection Fern (Pleopeltis polypodiodes) is an air fern, attaching to live Oak trees and obtaining it’s nutrients and moisture from the air.

Remergence of the Resurrection Fern. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Mini ecosystem on this tropical tree including the Resurrection Fern. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Seminole wet prairie…


Cypress Swamp Dome, thin as itis. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Outside the AhTahThiKi Museum on the Seminole Reservation in Florida is a mile-long boardwalk through a Cypress Swamp Dome. Prior to engineered draining of the Everglades in the 1930s this land was wet enough to canoe the wet prairie land, swamp. Seminoles canoed for hunting. This means of provision is no longer available, cattle farming is now the main product of the land. The floor is wet seven to ten months of the year, which is then the growing season for the Cypress trees. The Dome appears sparse allowing enough sunlight to sustain its lush fern ground cover.


Fern rich floor. Copyright 2018 Pamela Bretberg


Looking to the heavens. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Images copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Dense stillness…

Quiet moments gazing at the wet forest floor that edges Volo Bog. Still and single in color, yet richly active with textures and diversity. Mosses, ferns, mushroom, and more….

Fern standing above the forest floor. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Moss laden forest floor. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Mushroom signaling damp forest floor. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Spicy living fossils…

Fiddlehead copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Fiddlehead copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Today, twenty-eight years seems like a long time to stay in one place. That is how long I have lived in my little piece of natural paradise just north of Chicago. The longer I live here the more intrigued I am with the history of the adjacent patch of less tampered with land, which is officially part of the Cook County Forest Preserve. I have heard that this patch of land was once home to a Calvary Station; but alas, I have been unable to find any record of any such past. In fact, I have been unable to find any specific record revealing the history of this exact space. Upon our arrival as new homeowners, I was surprised to learn the fern growing on the forest floor was a native to this naturally marshy savannah. Turns out that my choice of fern for our front window box was most appropriate in my mostly-native perennial garden.  

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum) is an aged native. It is so old it is considered a living fossil. That really gets my imagination running. Now I don’t only wonder what our small habitat was like several hundred years ago; what would it have looked like a thousand years ago, or longer?! Human impact is often negative in effect for native species. My novice gardening skills proved fatal for my window box newly planted fern in spite of their prehistoric lineage. Turns out fern NEED their tubers to be at ground level; my eagerness to provide a lush covering of soil, peat and mulch was only successful in smothering. They have been replaced and cared by this now more learned gardener.


Cinnamon Fern fiddlehead copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Cinnamon Fern fiddlehead copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Fiddleheads are the curled up, unopened new plant growth that appears above ground this time of year. It is the unfurled fern’s fronds. “Cinnamon” refers to the resulting color only of the inner spore-bearing fronds after they have shed their spores. The fern is absent of any spicy aroma or taste. Still the Cinnamon Fern‘s fiddlehead is edible, but apparently not as palatable as some other springtime fern varieties.