Friendship and a Fern Forest

Visiting a fern garden is something new to me. Ferns love a lot of water and host plants. Trees are the best host plants for ferns that attach themselves securely on their trunks or at the base of the tree. Many ferns grow profusely on large roots that are partly exposed at the base of host trees. These plants have neither seeds or flowers but they have beautiful leaves.

When we visited the home of Pteridophyta collector May Dumlao last June 2, 2012, we were surprised upon seeing the diversity of species thriving in her yard which was right in the middle of a bustling commercial hub. She had ferns growing out of flower pots, baskets, tree trunks and some were even suspended from wires like one of Calder’s mobiles. Magnificent lobed Platyceria were attached to poolside trees looking like chandeliers.

May also successfully grows a lot of bromeliads, caladiums, dieffenbachia, sansevierias and fruit trees. The poolside was a cool sight for weary eyes while it was such a treat feasting on fruits, vegetables and the delectable pork knuckles that May prepared. As Eugene Peterson says, “We were being ourselves, happy and accepting each other the way we were created. The simple truth that there is something far greater than our failures or accomplishments brings us together with hope. There is something more significant than liking or not liking yourself. In the silence, simply be the person that God is gathering into salvation.”

The Philippine Association of University Women of UP (PAUW – UP) Garden Club members left May’s residence full of plans for future activities. So grateful we were that our petite and pretty gardener friend allowed us access to her private urban fern forest and we dream of growing spore bearing plants just like her. God bless May and our newly formed Garden Club. Viva la compagnie!garden club


About cathydeleon

I was a student of the late Constancio Bernardo and Jose Joya. I also had the privilege to have Rod Paras Perez, Napoleon "Billy" Abueva, Romeo Mananquil, Rafael Asuncion, Virginiaflor Agbayani and Lito Carating as my mentors. Larry Alcala's work at the Commission on Audit was done with a little help from me and another fine arts graduate. It was as well a privilege to meet many well known Filipino artists like Juvenal Sanso, Nena Saguil, Cesar Legaspi, Ang Kiukok, Onib Olmedo, Boy Rodriguez, Norma Belleza, Jerry Araos, Fred Baldemor, Esmeraldo Dans, Dave Aquino, and many other equally prominent visual artists. After a few years of working in a gallery, I took up graduate studies and finished my M.A. degree. Consequently I took up Philippine Studies (Philippine Society and Culture). The course was a consortium between the UP Asian Center, UP College of Social Sciences & Philosophy (CSSP) and the College of Arts & Letters (CAL). I finished my Ph.D. degree a few years ago.
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