Monday, May 28, 2007


My Memorial Day project was to plant some ferns under the tree with the old pump.

The soil is very rocky and dry under the tree, and there was very little grass there. When we moved in there was a big pile of rocks under the tree, which I gather were leftovers from when the previous owners made the flower bed in the background in the picture above. I decided to pile the rocks into a little retaining wall, and put good soil behind it and plant the ferns in that.

Look what was hiding in the pile of rocks!

According to the Internet, this is a Black Rat Snake. All my neighbors tell me the swamp behind the house is full of water moccasins, but everything resource I can find says water moccasins don't come farther north than southern Virginia. I think my neighbors are confused.

Of the 23 species of snakes in Maryland, the only poisonous ones are copperheads and timber rattlesnakes. They live in western Maryland, not here. Go look on the DNR website if you don't believe me.

Here is what I planted, left to right:

Goldie Wood Fern
Christmas Fern (3, in back)
Hay-scented Fern (2)
Cinnamon Fern (2, in front)
Autumn Fern "Brilliance" (2, in back)
Dixie Wood Fern
Ostrich Fern
Japanese Painted Fern (3, in back)
Red Lady Fern

Here's the view from the other side.

Max is still cute, even when he's cranky with an ear infection.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

copperheads are quite common in our area, rattle snakes nonexistent, maybe unconfirmed reports in the GP basin Pretty Boy Resivior up north.
But the copperhead is plentiful, and they are not afraid of water. Water snakes we do have plenty, and they do bite, and are a bit aggressive, they hold their ground,
infections are possible.
In the Potapsaco river basin, as in the Gunpowder basin, I am certain that there more than a few copperheads in your area. Every one that I have run across was within a stones throw of water.
I know of two people locally that have been bitten, one died not from the bite, but from allergic reaction to the horse serum antivenom.
Casual observations in the past would suggest that they do no flee when they feel something approaching, rather they stay put motionless and strike when within range.
I saw a copperhead strike the shoe of a climbing buddy, after three other people had walked right by it, I did not see it until it struck. This happened in Great Falls, Va. I did not kill it.

There is nothing that you can do about them, other than know that they are there. Not to be an alarmist, but they do live in your area. They are active in the day. Venonumus from birth, really hard to spot.
Useful link, train Monkey to alert for cucumbers,