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Mike's Blog - Day 239

A couple of very seasonal pictures for you today.

The gunnera is starting to go over now, normally frost would have blackened its leaves by now and we would be cutting them off, turning them upside down and covering those big buds to protect them from the ravages of winter. Day 35 shows them re-growing, so it has a long sleep ahead until April 2021. Even begonias are looking ok in the garden, and there looks to be no sign of frost for the next week.

An autumn view of the monkey puzzle too. This is quite a sad view really as, set against the bright afternoon sky, you can’t see that it is dead and brown. It’s hard to think that by next year it will have been felled.

Back to maidenhair tree or the ginkgo yesterday. It seems to be agreed by a few of you that it’s probably so named because of its resemblance to the maidenhair fern, a plant that will have been quite familiar to plantsmen when ginkgo trees were first introduced to the UK. That makes sense, and the maidenhair fern did come to mind. However, that then begs the question why is the maidenhair fern so called, how does it resemble maidens' hair.?

What exactly do we mean by this perhaps old term? I’m thinking a maiden is a young lady before she marries and takes her husband's name. Perhaps young ladies/children would typically plait their hair and tie it off with a big bow, which would be a similar shape to the ginkgo/fern leaf?