Mount this over the mantel


This photo is not cockeyed. This is a staghorn fern that I found at Jerry Fritz' Linden Hill Gardens booth at the show (two booths combined, 300/401). It's one of the more spectacular plants he carries and my editor actually carried one in a shopping bag from his booth to the office at 8th and Market, back to Market East, onto the train and home to Elkins Park. Hoping it, and she, made it there OK.

Jerry has a gorgeous nursery on Route 611 in Ottsville, where he specializes in unusual plants - like this one. He's been on the Martha Stewart Show, and has traffic-stopping display gardens - I say that having driven by - at his nursery. (He's also a Delaware Valley College grad.)

I stopped by his booth to say hi last night and Jerry explained how the staghorn fern is mounted on a board, tied in place with fishing line, and cared for. It's an ephiphyte, or air plant, so it gets "planted" in sphagnum moss. Doesn't need to be in the ground. In case you were wondering.

It does, however, need to be misted twice a week and soaked once a week. Some people just put the thing in the shower or let it sit in the sink for 1/2 hour, Jerry said. The plant also needs good air circulation and light.

Properly cared for, this fern - so named because its leaves resemble the antlers of a staghorn deer. Not that I would know what they look like - could outlive you. Well, I guess that depends on a lot of factors, but that's what they say.

And by the way, Jerry says his flower-show business is up 40 percent over last year. My editor did her part.