Post last updated: October 11th, 2018

You just can’t get decent free help. No matter how much someone may want to help you deep in their heart, when the appointed hour nears, they find excuses to scratch themselves from your calendar. The original plan was for Evie to help me empty the greenhouse on Saturday, March 23.


Evie hates anything involving dirt, so she conjured up a couple of funerals she suddenly needed to attend. I then asked my sister.

Sis was agreeable but reminded me of her obligation for that day which was part of her reason for heading south of the Mason Dixon Line in the first place. I couldn’t argue with this anymore than I could argue with a funeral and Evie does love a funeral. Did I tell you that at Momma’s memorial when the family entered the church from a side door, Evie was the first to come out the door where members of three different churches, mostly Caucasian, gaped in wonderment at our chocolate child? At the reception afterwards, one woman asked Evie, “And how do you fit in?” Evie and I are still rolling on the floor about that one.

After lunch on Sunday, Sis suggested that we clean out the greenhouse. Since it was her suggestion, I’m at least gonna give her an A+ for willingness. It turned out that she didn’t know squat about plants. Most every plant she picked up was followed by the suggestion that we throw it out because, in her estimation, “It looks dead to me!”

“No, it’s not dead. New leaves will form from the roots.” She frowned every time I said this as if it were absolutely, positively not within the realm of belief.

At one point, she was standing in the doorway of the greenhouse with nothing to do. I handed her the  scissors I was using and said, “Cut off the brown stuff.” I assumed she had been watching me and would carry on in a similar fashion. As usual, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I turned back around to check on her progress and found a PILE of the feet from my rabbit’s foot fern lying on the floor. I stifled a shriek but I probably said something like, “CAN’T YOU FOLLOW DIRECTIONS?”

“I’m cutting off the brown stuff just like you said,” she retorted.

“The brown stuff did not include the rabbit’s feet. You were only supposed to cut off the leaves with brown rust.”

“You told me to cut off the brown stuff. These alien-looking fuzzy things you are calling rabbit’s feet are brown. They need a haircut. And they look dead to me!”

I pointed to a potted dead chrysanthemum on the floor and said, “Can we agree that this plant is dead? REALLY dead?”

Dead chrysanthemum
Dead chrysanthemum with green grass showing through the middle

“Yes, it looks dead to me,” she agreed.

There was no use trying to further explain the difference between dead and dormant plants to someone who can’t follow directions. I scooped up the decapitated rabbit’s feet and stuffed them in an available pot where the existing plant was, in all likelihood, deader ‘n doornail. My efforts were met with disgust.

“You realize that looks like a giant, hairy spider trying to climb out of the pot,” she said.

Rooted Rabbit's Foot Fernlooking like a spider
Rooted Rabbit’s Foot Fern
looking like a spider

The thing I want to know from my fellow gardeners is this: Should I repot the rabbit’s nest fern in a hanging basket where the feet can dangle or does my fern really need a haircut like Sis suggests?


12 thoughts on “COULD I GET SOME HELP?”

  1. The prettiest Rabbits Foot fern I ever saw was planted in the low fork of a tree. The “feet” grew on the limbs & trunk. Very interesting effect. I planted some in the top of a tall stump once and it did well.

  2. Well, with our weather the way it is ….. brr, brr and double brrrrr, and considering the portents, waiting a week might not have been a bad idea. That said, never having seen this plant either, whatever floats your boat is the best idea.

    1. Well, Ginny, we didn’t wait a week to empty the greenhouse and now we are going into our third night of low 30’s and high 20’s with frost. Had to increase my “dead body” count by putting sheets over all the plants that came out of the greenhouse.

  3. That rabbit nest fern always gave me the creeps. I hate that plant. It makes me think of spiders and as big as yours was it was really creepy. I hope Sis shreaded it. Just having that thing around my house would give me nightmares.

  4. First, although you tried mightily to malign my reputation and character, I have to say that the root of the problem lies with your failure to adequately communicate your desires to a novice gardener. Second, I would like to point out that some of your gardening buddies also found that rabbit fern creature to look as I described it – like an alien spider from a Sci-Fi movie. Third, I want credit for the new plants that you will be able to sell should there be anyone else out there that likes “alien spider” plants. Good luck with the rootings!

    1. Priss – I may have failed to adequately communicate but I assumed you were paying attention to what I had been doing to the rabbit fern and I chopped off nary a brown foot. As to your second point, I can’t help it that other gardeners overlook a most interesting plant. I’ll give you credit for the new plants because they seem to be rooting nicely and putting out new leaves.

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