Thursday, September 11, 2014

SHSU Botanical Research-Margaret Houston's Fern (Field Work)

Historical Marker about Margaret Houston

Margaret Houston's ferns growing by the Woodland Homesite

 The plaque in front of the Woodland Home honoring Mrs. Margaret Houston is not the only item that draws attention to wife of Sam Houston.  Near this historical marker at the corner of the white picket fence you will find lush green woodland ferns growing underneath a large tree.  These ferns at this time have not been identified other than by their common name: Margaret's Ferns, or their botanical name:Thelypteris (Kunthii or Lindeheimeri). These ferns can typically be found growing in this area of the U.S. in marshes or close to ponds, and they have some medicinal properties.  As medicinal plants they have been known to help with asthma, bronchitis and pleurisy.  That may be why the Houston family had them on their property.  These particular ferns disappeared from the home site for a while, but happily they voluntarily reappeared.  
There has been much interest in these delicate looking plants, in fact a science graduate student, Tracy Ellen Willis, wrote her thesis paper on this fern.  There is a copy of her thesis in the NGL and Museum Library.

These field pages show my Field Sketches and history documentation

It has been a very enjoyable experience being on the Museum and Homesite grounds working to capture the beauty of these historic trees and other plants.  I decided to take a moment to pause and realize that where I sit to work this famous family actually lived, played and entertartained some very important guests to Texas history.

When I was on site Monday and Tuesday of this week the weather was still hot and humid.  None the less hearing the ducks and geese, seeing the squirrels chasing each other around tree trunks, seeing families enjoying strolls or feeding the ducks around the pond makes my work so fun.  

These pages show photos of the ferns and my Plein Aire (working on site) mixed media field painting 

I decided to finish this painting in my personal art studio, the heat became too intense for me to continue to work outside, besides I needed to get to my Printmaking studio class.  When I got home that evening, I had an idea that I decided to run with,  adding DMC embroidery floss stitching to create some of the fern plants.  The mixed media art was created by using watercolor, colored and watercolor pencils, ink pens, and DMC embroidery floss.

The next Field studies will revolve around the Mexican Plum trees found by the kitchen and chimney of another building.  I hope to take advantage of the cold front moving into our area this Friday and be the grounds Saturday making a new Field sketch.  If you are out and about please come by and say hello.

Until Next Time.

Many Blessings,

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