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Friday, May 10, 2013

Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Fern

That Old House has a front porch.
As do most old farm houses.
Every Spring, as Summer draws nigh
(I don't think I've ever used that word before in a normal sentence),
I foment (ditto) ambitious plans for turning it into
one of those outdoor rooms you see in magazines.

Like this beautiful veranda, filched from Architectural Digest:
My porch has a lot in common with this one.  Both are white, and both have columns.  The end.

"So, Blissfully Optimistic and Slightly Delusional Homeowner,
how has that worked out for you in the past?"
Funny you should ask.
Because it hasn't.
Most (if by "most" we mean "all") of the years we've been here,
our Porch Fluffing for Summer has pretty much meant hosing the winter schmutz
off the oddball collection of hand-me-down and Craigslist furniture
and, if we felt really daring and creative, re-arranging this motley crew of castoffs.
2012 - Something new!  A rickety hand-me-down table joins The Motley Crew,
paired with motley chairs from Anne's grad school apartment.

That Old House was painted bridal white in June 2011.
I had a nice, clean blank slate to work with.

The motley crew were all on the front lawn while the oil-based
porch floor paint dried in the humid weather.  
This took days,
and the exposure added to the . .  umm . . . rustic look of the old furniture.
Yup.  An odd group if ever there was one.

Don't get me wrong.
We pamper our porch sometimes.
We go all out and tart it up with Dollar Store decor on patriotic holidays.

Memorial Day, May 2009

Memorial Day, 2010.  Geez, that really does look awful.

But one thing we always do for our porch.
We always hang ferns.

Most of the time, they are asparagus ferns,
those tousle-haired relatives of the delicious asparagus
that we roast with sea salt and olive oil.

I am partial to asparagus ferns because they are so carefree.
Meaning - they don't need a lot of care.
I can't vouch for their emotions.

They are airy, gorgeous, and tolerant of benign neglect.

Last year, I could not find suitable asparagus ferns.
So I gave in, and hung prissy Boston ferns instead.
Must be Thursday - our neighbor across the street has his trash cans to the curb.
 Boston ferns are not easygoing hippies like the asparagus-es;
they are demanding Yankees.  They drive Volvos instead of VW microbuses.
They want to be regularly watered and clipped.
They are the Poodles of the fern world:  beautiful, but high maintenance.

But last summer, these puppies grew - and grew - and grew,
and became enormous.  Really.  E-nor-mous.
This picture was taken midsummer.  They kept on growing.

 By October, when we took them down, each one nearly filled its porch opening.
They looked fantastic.  Even I, a diehard asparagus fern fan, had to admit it. 

July 2012

The Bostons were - probably - worth the extra fuss and bother.
They looked, well, appropriate on the porch at That Old House.
Old fashioned and right.  Of the period, as they say.
I am thinking that we'll hang them on the porch again this year.

Then I remember how flyaway and fluffy the asparagus ferns look.
And how uncomplaining they are.  They are so simple to care for.
Even when I bring them in the house in late
October, after they've playfully stuck dead oak leaves in their hair.
And then I realize they are too big to live inside the house.  Sigh.

What thinkst thou?
Asparagus or Boston?
Casual fluffies or button down tradition?
Let me know!  -- Cass

And ... there are some excellent Friday blog parties to visit.
Link Parties!
At My Romantic Home, it's Show And Tell Friday Click here!
Feathered Nest Friday makes its home at French Country Cottage.  Click here!
The Charm of Home features Home Sweet Home on Fridays.  Click here!
It's Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground.  Click here!


  1. I think the Boston ferns looks the best Cass, even though they are fussier to look after, the really suit the look of your house and veranda. I love your table and red chairs. The red is a nice accent colour. Have a great weekend! Pam

  2. Ok that is seriously one GORGEOUS porch - where, pray tell, is the porch swing? LOL
    I love the Bostons - but I suppose both would be just as beautiful - hanging up there - offering a little
    shade for the PORCH SWING !!!!!!!!

  3. Cass I have to go with the Boston ferns. They look stunning on the front porch. The other ones have stickers on them so that is why I don't care for them much.
    I would never go in the house until winter - it is a beautiful porch.
    Have a great Mothers Day.

  4. Cass, I love those Boston ferns so much. That's what I buiy here. If you would paint all your chairs the same color, you'd have alomst new furniture.:):) Happy mother's day.xoxo,Susie

  5. Well, I kill almost everything but I do love those Boston ferns! And I LOVE your porch! Enjoy the weekend and the rest of this gorgeous day!

  6. First of all, LOVE your porch and I would die for a porch like that!! Love that red chair!!!

    I adore the Boston ferns because they give your porch that Victorian aire of a gentler time!!


  7. Looking forward to seeing what you do with your porch this year. Don't see many asparagus ferns around here - but lots of boston and queen anne's. I have 5 large boston now and may add a queen anne or 2 later if can find at a good price. Have never had any luck keeping them in for the Winter.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  8. I love, love, love your porch. Yep, I do believe I have porch envy.
    Yes, there is something so forgiving about Asparagus ferns but the look of Boston can't be beat.

    Cass, anything would look great on that porch. Kathy

  9. Cass, I loved seeing the different phases of your porch and house colors. I adored it first, but it is beautiful white. I do love asparagus ferns, and the only ferns I will own. lol your porch is wonderful How I'd love to sit on it and sip a cold glass of tea.

  10. The Boston Fern is nice, but not so much nicer that it's worth a minuter of extra work - so I vote for the fluffy, low-maintenance-but-still-lovely asparagus fern!

  11. Hi Cass, You are so funny with your fern problems! Maybe it's because I live in New England, but I find that the Boston ferns are so much easier to have around the house! The asparagus are gorgeous and fluffy, but just look at them the wrong way and they tremble and all those millions of little delicate green pieces fall off and are stuck on everything! Both look nice on your porch, but I do think you should do the Bostons again! Linda

  12. Funny post, and being a damned Yankee gal from waaaaay back, I say go Boston Ferns. Oh, and I'm an old hippie as well, but sorry Asparagus Ferns. I vote Boston this year.

  13. Love the Boston Ferns! I have terrible porch envy - we have a covered patio in the back which is nice but there's nothing like those old porches like Grandma's. The only porch I liked better, looked like yours but wrapped around and the owners had installed a hammock! I'd spend my whole summer in it with a book and a lemmonade! Love your blog!

  14. Wait. Can't stop laughing out loud!!!! Out of breath! You are so FUN. Ok. Boston, definitely. They do not grow here in the desert. Asparagus are a dime a trillion out here.

    Happy Weekend, Cass ♥

  15. Well, had to read what everyone else was voting for and I still will go with my original thought: it seems as though YOU prefer the easier to care for asparagus fern as opposed to the Boston fern which looks better but requires more care. They both stay green so my vote would be for ease. Have you ever thought of something like a scented geranium which will bloom all summer? Something like a Martha Washington, which has pretty pink flowers? It will require watering...nothing like throwing another choice in the mix? Have you gone to any of the greenhouses near you and asking if there might be something new, that wouldn't require a lot of work, but might interest you?

  16. Your home is just amazing. oh the front porch with ferns, it reminds me of growing up in our family's the Boston Ferns, they look perfect!

  17. They are both beautiful! But, I do like the Boston ferns. Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home!

  18. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. Your porch is so beautiful ~ love either one of those ferns but the Bostons certainly do fill up the spaces perfectly! Thanks for linking up at Feathered Nest Friday!


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