Pioneer Valley Fern Society

Remembering Joe Strauch Jr.

We recently learned about the passing of a friend and great fern and wildflower expert, Joseph Strauch Jr. We met Joe through our shared love of ferns. He was a fantastic gardener and grower of many things, especially ferns. His background, and experience as Director of The Berkshire Botanical Garden enhanced his personal interests and abilities. He was also a fantastic photographer, which skill he used to author "Wildflowers of the Berkshire and Taconic Hills" (1995). He served for many decades on the Lenox Conservation Commission, protecting wetlands and open space. He was also instrumental in re-establishing the Fernery, a wonderful garden of the native ferns of the Berkshires, at the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (MA Audubon). It is definitely worth visiting when you are out in the Berkshires.

Our fondest memory of Joe is when he took us to a very special place in the Berkshires, where there were acres of open field filled with 1000s of grape ferns. It was glorious! We spent hours bending down and kneeling to find the beautiful ferns among the grasses and wildflowers. The photo is from that day. We also visited the Fernery that day, and his own wonderful gardens. We will miss him.