Sweet Cicely has been with us for at least three decades. Scent, taste, beauty and hardiness make this a must have plant. At this time of year the newly forming green seeds provide a tasty anise flavored snack. When the seeds mature and turn black they can be made into a furniture polish. The fern like leaves are attractive and pleasantly scented as are the white flowers. Aside from the seeds willingness to grow crowding out neighbors, this is in many ways a perfect plant.
Our first plant was purchased from Ruby in Otego. Using a pointed shovel to sever the impossibly long tap root, Ruby assured us that with generous watering the dead appearing plant would recover. Apparently I still remember her planting instructions.
Approximately one week ago, I bruised my hands trying to remove sizeable chunks of plant root attached to generous amounts of above ground green growth. These were placed in freshly made forest soil and watered generously. The watering continued daily while all of the leaves wilted and dropped to the ground. It is highly likely that the sight of these dead looking plants caused the right of way users to enjoy a hardy laugh at the sight of my most recent plant failure. I continued to bring water to the transplants.
This new growth strongly suggests that soon sizeable plants will fill this area in our shade garden with stunning strength and beauty. Not only is the growth attractive, its future density will shade out weeds making this a truly no care plant. The easier way to obtain this plant is to scatter fresh ripe seeds on the soil surface and wait. Tiny plants will be seen the following year with each subsequent year featuring larger plants.
Ferns are a logical addition for what is loosely intended to be a native woodland garden. Catchy names are not characteristic for ferns and we speak little Latin. At this point in our lives remembering anything is unsure so our admiration of ferns is limited to expressions like, "Hey look at that". A fern similar in appearance to these once grew in a small area at the top of our gravel bank hill. Tall brown seed heads appeared later in the year creating an unusual appearance. Those plants are no longer seen there but these plants spontaneously appeared very near the foundation wall on the north side of our home. Dug yesterday in anticipation of a day long rain today, these plants were placed in old soil and watered heavily. They seem to find their new home satisfactory. Perhaps the stone has added to this soil minerals similar to what leached from the foundation wall. What is next for us is to continue to bring water here and learn the name of this native fern.